Timber, robotics and modular come together in Canadian startup

Intelligent City is one of the first North American companies to combine automation with prefabricated mass timber construction.

The company raised CAD$22m in Series A funding through a combination of venture capital and government support, it announced today.

With a pipeline of 2,300 homes, Intelligent City claims to help developers achieve “nearly 100% cost certainty”, while delivering 1.5 times the number of homes on a site compared to traditional methods and save up to 50% on life cycle costs per home.

Having completed testing of its building systems, Intelligent City is verified to work within new mass timber high-rise building codes in Canada and the US.

The startup provides both the software to design the building (with cost and carbon estimates) and the manufacturing technology to build the components.

As a result, it can provide data on the life cycle and performance of the building before construction begins.

Intelligent City Picture 06

“We are focused on revolutionising an industry that is notoriously slow to innovate while making a significant impact on our climate with lower carbon emissions from the construction and operations of buildings,” said Oliver Lang, CEO and co-founder of Intelligent City.

“By utilising green building strategies and patented technology to deliver affordable, mass-customisable urban housing, we can help cities to adapt more quickly as the needs of people and the planet evolve.”

Using Passivhaus designs and renewable materials, the startup seeks to achieve a 90% reduction in carbon emissions in its buildings. Design features include continuous insulation, air-tight seals, high-performing windows and doors, heat and moisture-recovery ventilation and minimal space conditioning.

Deal details

Investors in the latest funding round included BDC Capital, Greensoil PropTech Ventures, UIT Growth Equity GP and Fulmer & Company. Jamie James, managing partner of Greensoil PropTech Ventures will join the startup’s board of directors.

Also participating were several Canadian government programmes and accelerators, such as the Natural Resources Canada Investments in Forest Industry Transformation programme, the Sustainable Development Technology Canada Seed Fund and the Next Generation Manufacturing Supercluster.

The raise takes Intelligent City’s total funding to CAD$30m.

Intelligent City will use the funding to scale operations, commercialise its Platforms for Life design and delivery process, grow factory automation and expand its footprint across and beyond Canada.

Matt Stanley, director of BDC Capital’s cleantech practice, said: “Intelligent City’s technology is set to enable the future of the built world to be more climate-resilient by replacing emissions-intensive materials such as concrete and steel with a renewable material that naturally sequesters carbon.

“We are excited to support the team to accelerate the development and scale-up of its mass timber building system and advanced offsite manufacturing capabilities.”

Jonathan Wilkinson, Canada’s minister of natural resources, said: “By making effective use of Canada’s forest resources through low-carbon building systems, Canada is becoming a world leader in sustainable wood construction practices, increasing energy efficiency and climate resilience in our communities while simultaneously enhancing the global competitiveness of our forestry, wood manufacturing and construction sectors.

“That’s why our government is pleased to support projects like this one – to help lower emissions, create good jobs for workers and build better neighbourhoods for everyone.”

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