“There are two main frames in the construction industry: it is all about safety and efficiency,” explained Tzach Ram-On, Co-founder and CEO of Israeli contech company INTSITE. “In the past two decades, the efficiency level has remained flat, unlike other industries like the manufacturing industry, where in factories the production rate doubled. The second is safety. This is one of the most dangerous industries in the world - mining and construction. Now, due to the low margins of the industries, they can’t invest in R&D, they can’t invest in technology.”
INTSITE is doing exactly that and appears to be making waves in the construction technology industry with the recent announcement of not one but two partnerships. The first, with Japanese construction and mining company Komatsu, is being revealed now after four years of operating on five different projects under the radar. The second deal with MachineMax was confirmed earlier this week with an official signing in London, UK.
INTSITE was founded in 2018 by twin brothers Tzach and Mor Ram-On. The company allows construction sites to deploy Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) which use AI to analyze real-time photographic data for heavy equipment such as excavators, bulldozers, and a variety of trucks. Speaking to CTech ahead of his flight to London for the MachineMax deal, Ram-On revealed that INTSITE has actually been partnered with Komatsu, which is traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange with a market cap of $23 billion, almost from the day it was founded.
“Komatsu scouted in Israel,” he told CTech. “In March 2018, Komatsu signed an agreement with an Israeli distributor. Up to this point, Komatsu didn't have any kind of relationship with the state of Israel. After this, they were looking for Israeli companies to collaborate with.” According to Ram-On, Komatsu signed with INTSITE only two months after the company was founded. “They did it under the radar - I couldn't say the name Komatsu up until now.”
The systems that were developed by INSITE serve two aims. The first is that it can improve the safety of those who use heavy machinery and construction equipment, helping prevent accidents and ensuring that workers adhere to safety protocols on site. The second is to improve the efficiency of the company’s management by helping identify anomalies and bottlenecks during mining work. Even though the company started by developing autonomous cranes, it has since pivoted and is focusing solely on its ADAS systems for heavy machinery.
The strategic partnership between INSITE and MachineMax aims to use video telematics and contextual machine data to create a digital monitoring solution to help improve machine safety and performance, as well as reduce CO2 levels.
“I am extremely excited about this partnership with INTSITE,” said MachineMax CGO, Jennifer Thomson. “The idea of augmenting real-time machine data with visual analytics to improve safety, productivity, sustainability, and operations is the next big step toward digital sites. We think that by combining this data we will be able to enhance human capabilities, using AI to combine sets of data and make inferences which aren't inherently obvious whilst on the job.”
Proptech has seen investment in recent years as companies understand how data and technology can better prepare them for the construction phase. Contech itself, which has only garnered attention in the last 3-4 years, must also think of digitization if it wants to successfully innovate and attract a young generation of workers who typically today are not looking to enter the construction industry.
“There is a huge demand for new projects, for new infrastructure, and this is how technology gets into the picture,” added Ram-On. “They must invest in technology. There is a huge shortage of workers because the young generation doesn't want to work in this industry. The tools remain the same in the past years. This is why the construction industry understands that it must do something.”
Today, INTSITE has 10 employees and has raised a total of $2 million in Seed, recently closing another round for an undisclosed sum. Among the angels who have invested in the company is Andrey Yashunsky, founder of the Prytek Group, which has invested in more than 30 companies in Israel from its corporate venture capital fund. Apart from Japan, the company’s systems are currently operating in countries like Thailand, the UK, Germany, and Denmark.