Construction robotics firm Dusty raises $16.5M

It certainly follows then that some leading construction robotics companies are able to strike while the iron is hot with some healthy raises. Today, Bay Area-based Dusty Robotics announced a $16.5 million Series A. Led by Canaan Partners and featuring NextGen Venture Partners, Baseline Ventures, Root Ventures and Cantos Ventures, the round brings the startup’s full funding up to $23.7 million.

“We have an enormous amount of demand from customers across the U.S., and around the world,” founder and CEO Tessa Lau told TechCrunch. “In addition to growing our team, we will be expanding our fleet of robots and building more robots to service this demand.”

Canaan partner Rich Boyle adds that the pandemic has helped accelerate some of the already existing demand.

“Both markets are incredibly active and evolving quickly, I believe mostly due to longer-term trends. Those include things like continued improvements in AI and labor shortages in key industries, as well as the decreasing price of robotic hardware. That said, COVID has driven changes in how people are thinking about the design, construction and ongoing utilization of real estate assets, and it’s driven substantial changes in behavior — how we work, how we live, how we shop, and some of those changes that were accelerated by COVID we think are here to stay.”

The Dusty team is still fairly lean at about 17 employees, largely located in Mountain View. The startup’s first product is the Field Printer, a robot that prints out plans on the floor of construction sites. The company likens the maps to “Ikea Instructions.” The autonomous bot has been used by Swinerton, DPR Construction, Build Group and Pankow Builders, among others.

“We just released our third-generation hardware platform, which was designed from the ground up by our team in Mountain View to be purpose-built for producing accurate and speedy layout on construction sites,” says Lau. “We’ve been working on this product since fall of 2018 and have incorporated lessons learned from completing over 1 million square feet of production layout into this third-generation design.”