LH Accelerator: Building Innovation Together

LH Accelerator: Building Innovation Together

Innovation is necessary for our industry to provide solutions to global issues such as climate change and urbanization. Together with our partners Sika and China Communications Construction Company (CCCC), we launched the LH Accelerator. Through an open innovation approach, we invited start-ups and partners from around the world to work collaboratively and to combine new ideas of start-ups with the proven experience of major players. The ambition: to tackle today’s challenges along the entire construction value chain.

 

Taking new ideas to the next level

Around the world construction sites still operate fairly traditionally. Too frequently, for example, construction projects run past the deadline and over budget and digitization is still not as integrated as it is in other industries. LafargeHolcim, together with its partners Sika and CCCC, believes that through an approach of open innovation the entire sector could profit from efficiency gains and further develop sustainable solutions. LH Accelerator works with innovative companies who are either active in the construction industry or have solutions that could be applied to the industry. The LH Accelerator is especially focused on solutions in Design & Engineering, Material and Logistics, Construction Equipment, Construction Services and Demolition & Waste Management.

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Early start-up and large group collaboration is a key success factor in bringing new technologies to market

Nicolas Penet
 

Over six months in 2018, the LH Accelerator program at the LafargeHolcim R&D Center near Lyon, France, was the hub for ten young, innovative companies to change the way our industry operates. Participating companies sought to solve common challenges and to look into the topic of sustainable construction materials and solutions.

Participants have each put forward solutions for areas in which there is a clear need for innovative breakthroughs. From the initial onboarding session in May through the Summer Camp, these companies have benefitted from access to our facilities in Lyon and the guidance of industry experts to take their ideas to the next level.

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Look out for these names that will help shape the future of our industry:

ADVANCED CONSTRUCTION ROBOTICS – U.S.

On-site autonomous robot for rebar tying on bridge decks

Describe your startup in 3 words.

Transformative construction robots

What does your startup bring to the industry?

  • TybotTM, an autonomous rebar-tying robot, is a reliable, flexible and scalable solution to meet labor needs by reducing the required rebar tying labor in bridge construction.
  • Proof that robots can reliably, safely and competently work with crews, providing the necessary acceleration to meet the increasing demands on the construction industry.

Jeremy Searock, Co-founder & VP: “We were intrigued by the opportunity to receive assistance in accelerating our product internationally. We see a significant mutual benefit and we are seeking companies willing to start integrating our robots into their operations today.”

ALICE TECHNOLOGIES – U.S.

AI rule-based construction planner

Describe your startup in 3 words.

Artificial intelligence scheduling

What does your startup bring to the industry?

  • It facilitates the translation of element metrics into project metrics, i.e. installation or drying time becomes a question of the effect of changing materials on the total cost and duration of the project.

René Morkos, Founder & CEO: “It seemed like a good way to start the relationship with LafargeHolcim, CCCC and Sika.

BULLDOZAIR - France

End-user oriented project management platform for construction and maintenance.

Describe your startup in 3 words.

Construction project management

What does your startup bring to the industry?

  • Increased speed and accuracy of information sharing, allowing teams to add more value and take control of their operational projects while improving the overall excellence of the whole organization.

Stéphane Labrousse, Head Of Partnerships: “We look forward to upscaling our on-going collaboration and finding new international business opportunities with LafargeHolcim, Sika and CCCC.”

CARBON UPCYCLING TECHNOLOGIES – Canada

Fly ash treatment and its use as a concrete performance improver

Describe your startup in 3 words.

Nanoparticles, value, upcycling

What does your startup bring to the industry?

  • Technologies around carbon reduction, accelerated setting agents, and corrosion-resistant coatings for concrete wastewater and sewage structures.

Apoorv Sinha, CEO: “We want to seize the opportunity to commercialize the use of our concrete-related additives and technologies through collaboration with some of the largest players in the global construction industry.”

CARBONCURE – Canada

CO2 treatment and full reuse of ready-mix production wash water

Describe your startup in 3 words.

Beneficial CO2 utilization

What does your startup bring to the industry?

  • Innovations to help concrete producers lower their carbon footprint and reduce waste output.
  • More sustainable concrete created from the industry’s biggest waste output – CO2.

Sean Monkman, VP Technology Development: “We were drawn to the LH Accelerator program by the opportunity to work on business development and technical barriers with world leaders in the industry.

 

CHINA TRANSPORTATION HEAD NEW TECHNOLOGY – China

Open BIM solution for construction industrialization.

Describe your startup in 3 words.

Smart, accurate, collaboration

What does your startup bring to the industry?

  • Support for the adoption of precast technology and data integration through the use of open standard BIM, and construction data collection, analysis and feedback loops.

Zhao Bin, General Manager: “Through the LH Accelerator program we hope to get our industry to the future of smart construction engineering.”

CONSTANCE CORP – Switzerland

New structural formwork/reinforcement

Describe your startup in 3 words.

Speed, innovation, success

What does your startup bring to the industry?

  • Innovative formworks.
  • Reduced construction site waste and carbon emissions.
  • The sharing of know-how, savings and technical breakthroughs.

Firas Esreb, CEO: “We came to LH Accelerator through the recommendations of our professional peer group.”

PERFORMANCE BIOFILAMENTS – Canada

Nano-fibrillated cellulose as a concrete additive

Describe your startup in 3 words.

Nanocellulose, biomaterials, nanotechnology

What does your startup bring to the industry?

  • Recent successful R&D work developing new nanocellulose materials to add to concrete grouts and mortars.
  • Dramatic performance-enhancing effects, from shrinkage-crack prevention to strength improvements, and flow and slump control.

Keith Gourlay, R&D Scientist: “The LH Accelerator program is a perfect fit for us, allowing us to rapidly bring our recent successful R&D work to market.”

RESOLVING - France

Provider of a digital platform based on BIM Centric approach for Construction and Real Estate industries, covering entire lifecycle of the building.

Describe your startup in 3 words.

BIM collaborative platform

What does your startup bring to the industry?

  • A unique BIM Centric platform including Electronic Document Management and IOT data management solutions in order to control the operation of your buildings for their entire life cycle.

Sébastien Brison, COO: “We are looking for new partners and opportunities to generate strong growth for our innovative solutions.”

STRAYOS – U.S.

3D drone data analytics platform for quarry blasting operations/roads. 

Describe your startup in 3 words.

VISINT quarry blasting

What does your startup bring to the industry?

  • Cutting-edge technology to predict hole depth, diameter and 360° view distance from the bench cliff to the excavation face.
  • Real-time 3D analytics to predict efficient and accurate blast patterns.
  • Decreased delivery time and improved safety measures for quarry blasting.

Ravi Sahu, Founder & CEO: “We came to LH Accelerator to develop a partnership with LafargeHolcim and the construction-material ecosystem for market expansion to accelerate our company’s growth.”

A look back on the Season One

“We were very lucky to have met CCCC, Sika and LafargeHolcim. We were able to meet the right people for the right vertical; I think this was a perfect accelerator for that purpose.”

Cyriaque Rios
 

Demonstrating the future of innovative construction

The culmination of the six-month LH Accelerator program took place in November: Demo Day. This was the opportunity to meet from 10 countries from Europe, Asia, Americas and Africa who can introduce the solutions to their local markets, as well as investors to whom they can pitch their innovative solutions. A range of LafargeHolcim experts was also on hand, including program mentors, experts and LafargeHolcim R&D staff.

There will be a Season Two in 2019 following the success in 2018, with the LH Accelerator yet again providing unmatched access to influential investors and partners in the construction industry.

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"Initially I thought innovation in construction would be concentrated on materials but there are more possibilities in different segments of construction such as material, software and processes"

Nicolas Goiran
Watch the recap of Demo Day