NEW YORK — Pillar Technologies, a company that records data on construction sites with a series of smart sensors, has secured $2.75 million in seed funding from XL Innovate, Hyperplane VC, and Techstars Ventures. The money will allow Pillar to scale the manufacturing of its sensors, and expand the team building its real-time risk management software platform for construction companies and contractors. As part of the financing round, Martha Notaras, a partner at XL Innovate, will join the Pillar board of directors.
Pillar deploys industrial-grade sensors across construction sites to address high-value risks during and after construction by actively monitoring key environmental factors, such as temperature, pressure, humidity, smoke, and dust. General contractors and insurers are using the Pillar data management platform to monitor sites, forecast failures, and be alerted to costly hazards such as water leaks, freezes, fire, mold outbreaks and more. The objective of the Pillar sensor platform is to protect sites from damage and reduce insurance claims, thereby minimizing losses and insurance costs for general contractors. In addition, in the event of a destructive event, Pillar provides crucial, real-time information to first responders.
According to PWC, the total construction spend in the United States in 2016 was $1.1 trillion, with growing demand for technologies that help improve efficiency and reduce waste. Technology spend in the construction industry is slated to increase to $58B by 2022, already indicated by strong demand for Pillar’s offering. Claims on property damage in construction sites can reach tens of millions of dollars – the difference between construction companies making a profit or facing substantial losses. Such costly damages are often attributed to slow detection of events, as well as a lack of data to make sure such events do not reoccur.
“Construction sites continue to be a dangerous place. From fires to fumes, the ability to predict occurrences that may harm workers, or the site itself, can serve as a powerful tool to save both lives and livelihoods. At Pillar, we’ve refined the definition of construction technology, offering a hardware and software experience that seamlessly does exactly that – opening the door to preventive action that dramatically lessens the probability and severity of such events,” said Alex Schwarzkopf, co-founder and CEO of Pillar Technologies.”
Pillar recently finished its pilot program with national construction companies and is now making the technology commercially available to early adopters. “At Pillar, we have deep domain expertise in construction and sensor technology, and we’re excited to have Martha Notaras and the XL Innovate team add valuable insurance and operational expertise, which rounds out our offering,” Schwarzkopf added.
“By bringing industrial-grade sensors to construction sites, Pillar can offer more accurate risk management to general contractors and potential policy optimization to insurance providers to better protect sites from damage,” said Martha Notaras. “Gathering and analyzing key environmental data can help predict and prevent major issues while allowing insurers and their clients to reduce losses over the long run.”