Virgin StartUp and Colmore Tang launch construction technology accelerator

Virgin StartUp has teamed up with Colmore Tang Construction to create the construction industry’s first technology accelerator programme, ConstrucTech.

A £10 million fund will be provided to companies that can successfully show how their innovation could improve the sector’s productivity, sustainability and skills issues.

Construction in the UK has been slow to embrace innovation and adopt new technology so Colmore Tang and Virgin StartUp are calling for businesses to apply to the ConstrucTech programme to address the following problems:

People – improving analysis of performance, sharing best practice across building projects, measurement of quality and also implementation of health and safety
Data – using data to pre-empt potential delays, more efficient material ordering, more effective use of labour along  with use of performance data to improve cost, timescales and estimates of new projects for future clients
Smart materials – design and implementation of materials to improve sustainability, improve safety and finding materials which are digitally connected

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Colmore Tang is giving start-ups the opportunity to use the accelerator as a testbed and development platform to bring products and ideas to the construction sector.

“The debate around technology in construction needs to move forward quickly. Other industries are much better at seeing the potential in technology and grasping opportunities to boost productivity and commercial gain,” Andy Robinson, Group CEO of Colmore Tang, said. “Construction is falling behind and it’s having a negative impact on the sector, growing the divide between the traditional, ageing workforce and the young, technologically-advanced workforce that is choosing other industries over ours.

“ConstrucTech will help us discover exciting and innovative start-ups, whose products and services could deliver those technologies and innovations that will be the key to the future success of our business and that of the whole sector.”

Sir Tom Shebbeare, chairman of Virgin StartUp, added: “Entrepreneurs have the power to positively disrupt whole sectors. Every day we support inspiring and innovative start-ups and help them to take their product or service to market. ConstrucTech is an important programme for start-ups that want to access opportunities within the construction sector. The challenges Colmore Tang has set are exciting and we can’t wait to partner with them to discover game-changing innovations and facilitate their adoption on building projects across the country. I urge any entrepreneur who thinks they can make a difference to apply.”

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Applications for ConstrucTech are open until May 31st. Virgin StartUp is scouting for start-ups with market-ready products or services that can address one or more of the programme challenges. Shortlisted applicants will then be asked to pitch their idea to a panel of industry experts during June, from which the programme participants will be chosen. Unlike many other accelerators, the ultimate aim of the ConstrucTech programme is to see successful companies trial their solution on one of Colmore Tang’s live sites, as well as potentially gaining access to the £10m innovation fund, in order to facilitate broader adoption of the technology.

Interested start-ups can apply to be part of ConstrucTech here: http://virginstartup.org/constructech

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