Dusty Robotics, a robotic solution provider for the construction industry, announced today that it has closed a $45 million Series B round. This brings the total amount raised to date to $67.8M.
The round was led by Scale Venture Partners and joined by returning investors Baseline Ventures, Canaan Partners, Root Ventures, NextGen Venture Partners, and Cantos. The company will use these funds to grow its team, expand its product offerings, and accelerate manufacturing with the goal of deploying Dusty products on all construction sites in the U.S.
“Dusty is one of a handful of robotics startups to have identified an acute pain point in a traditional industry and brought a product to market in a remarkably short timeframe,” said Alex Niehenke, Partner at Scale Venture Partners. “We are excited about Dusty’s potential to modernize the construction industry and believe this is the right team to do it. We’re bullish on Dusty’s bright future and thrilled to be fueling their growth.”
Dusty’s FieldPrinter solution eliminates one of the most common sources of conflict on construction projects: incorrect hand-drawn layout using a chalk line process that was invented 5000 years ago by the early Egyptians. The patented FieldPrinter solution automates the process of taking digital floor plans onto construction sites by printing them full-size on the floor through a combination of hardware, software, and services. This end-to-end solution ensures that all trades build from the same set of plans, eliminating errors, expediting conflict resolution, and significantly reducing the cost and duration of construction.
“Construction is rampant with manual workflows — processes where a phone call, or an email, must be sent in order to move the project forward — or work that must be done precisely, via manual labor,” said Tessa Lau, founder and CEO of Dusty. “With so little automation in the industry, it’s no wonder that 85% of projects finish over budget, contributing directly to the housing crisis. Our robot-powered solutions automate construction’s manual workflows, increasing productivity across the industry while also creating better working conditions for skilled craftspeople.”
Recent advances in FieldPrinter technology have made the solution easy to adopt by skilled construction professionals. The FieldPrinter 1.0 release marks the first milestone of a production system ready for widespread use. New features in 1.0 include:
- Printing around reshores or on congested sites using automatic obstacle detection and avoidance
- QR code printing, enabling instant access to construction documents
- Fast, efficient printing including single-pass printing of intersection points
- Real-time progress monitoring
These features are the first step toward a broader vision of delivering the right information to the right people at the right time — speeding up collaboration and ensuring successful project outcomes.
FieldPrinter is the first solution of its kind to gain widespread adoption. Several dozen contractors are using the FieldPrinter solution on job sites across the U.S., including some of the biggest names in construction: DPR, Swinerton, PARIC, Performance Contracting Inc., and Southland Industries. In the first quarter of 2022 alone, Dusty’s printers laid out more than 25 million square feet on the floors of buildings — enough to build the equivalent of 25 football stadiums, or 31,000 new apartment units.
“We invested heavily in BIM for our projects, and Dusty ensures that all trades are building off coordinated models on a project,” said Henning Roedel, robotics lead, DPR Construction. “We’ve used Dusty’s solution on sixteen projects across the U.S., allowing our foremen to focus on being the best craftsmen instead of doing the time-consuming manual labor of layout. We’re scaling these printers to be available on our job sites nationwide.”
Why It’s Important Right Now
The landscape in the $15 trillion construction market is rapidly evolving as engineering firms, contractors and others across the value chain realize the benefits of, and increasingly deploy, innovative construction technologies such as the FieldPrinter system in attempt to combat the dire productivity and skilled labor crisis faced by the industry.
- 89% of firms can’t hire skilled labor
- 22% of construction workers are over age 55 and retiring soon
- 61% of projects are delayed due to labor shortages
- 81% of firms plan to introduce robots by 2030
“For us, the main ingredients are Dusty’s accuracy and layout speed,” said Emmy Guthrie, Preconstruction Manager at Performance Contracting, Inc. “We’re also excited about Dusty printing layout for the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing trades to enable better coordination. Thanks to Dusty, we can start installing our work right away without worrying about conflicts.”
“Dusty is accelerating the digitization of the construction industry,” Lau continued. “By bringing people and information together at the right time, we are transforming construction into a digital manufacturing process. Automation is the only way we’ll be able to solve our housing shortage and rein in the growing costs of construction.”