Bridges Israel leads $5M round funding in ECOncrete
Amid COVID-19, Bridges Israel is leading a $5M round funding in ECOncrete, a unique Blue Tech Israeli startup helping build resilient coastlines
Climate change impacts like sea level rise and increased storminess might not be on the headlines these days, but they are certainly here to stay. ECOncrete, An Israeli startup delivering high-performance bio-enhancing concrete technologies, announced today it is raising 5 million dollars to accelerate growth, in an A round led by Impact investor Bridges Israel. ECOncrete products and technologies can be seamlessly integrated into construction of breakwaters, seawalls and piers enhancing marine life while strengthening the infrastructure, providing concrete solutions to some of the world’s pressing climate change issues. As part of ECOncrete growth strategy, they are currently scaling up their operations, diving into new geographies and sectors, such as the offshore energy arena, and sustainable construction of urban waterways and green construction. ‘RElab (Goldacre Ventures)’ are also participating in the round, with ECOncrete part of the RElab 2020 PropTech cohort.
Ido Sella, Co-founder and CTO of ECOncrete: “Ocean health and human health are entwined, especially today. We need strong coastlines and diverse marine ecosystems to protect and sustain coastal communities across the globe. ECOncrete brings a win-win technology that enhances marine life while providing risk reduction by building environmentally-sensitive concrete coastal infrastructure for stronger industrial ports, marinas, and urban waterfronts.”
Sandrine Montsma, Managing Partner at Bridges Israel: “In ECOncrete we found an outstanding leadership team and a unique, proven technology and product line which meets the needs of construction companies and regulators around the world for building marine infrastructure while protecting marine life. We believe this market is a Blue Ocean – pun intended! “
Shimrit Perkol-Finkel, Co-founder and CEO of ECOncrete: “Covid19 is a wakeup call. We can’t keep protecting ourselves while destroying precious marine resources. It's time to make a change and set new environmental standards for coastal and marine construction. We don’t want to stop the progress, but we want to progress in a way that allows marine life to thrive, using nature-based solutions and ecological engineering. To achieve this, we must deploy innovation from the emerging Blue tech and Climate tech arena. This calls for intensive capital investment. Bridges Israel is a natural partner for ECOncrete, as an impact investment fund, to help increase our positive impact on oceans, coastlines, and coastal communities.”
ECOncrete® offers innovative, robust, and environmentally sensitive concrete solutions, designed to encourage development of rich and diverse marine life as an integral part of urban and coastal marine infrastructure such as seawalls, breakwaters, bridge foundations and urban waterfronts. The proprietary technology is based on three core elements: bio-enhancing concrete compositions, complex surface textures, and science-based designs, which work in synergy to decrease the ecological footprint of concrete infrastructure while enhancing their strength and durability.
ECOncrete’s vision is to change the way coastal construction industry operates by providing concrete technologies to create high-performance, resilient structures teeming with life. The company leads the world in high performance concrete products that harness natural processes for the benefit of the environment on one hand, and for the benefit of the structure on the other, reducing the ecological footprint of ports and urban waterfronts.
For more info check out the official website.
ECOncrete® is an award-winning company, selected as one of TIME Magazine’s 100 best inventions in 2019, honoured by Fast Company in 2019 as one of the world’s most innovative companies, received the distinguished SOLAR IMPULSE label for profitable solutions to protect the environment, and noted by Forbes as #13 of top 50 women-led start-ups pushing the frontiers of innovation. The company has won a few worldwide design challenges such as: HeroX Island of Happiness UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network Coastal Design Competition, and winner of Biomimicry Global Design Challenge.
Co-Founder and CTO, Dr. Ido Sella was selected as one of Israel’s most promising individuals under 40. Co-founder and CEO Dr. Shimrit Perkol-Finkel has been lauded with numerous honours, most notably Marie Curie Fellow, WE Empower UN SDG Challenge (a business competition for women entrepreneurs who are advancing the UN Sustainable Development Goals); winner of the prestigious EU Women Innovators Award and # 22 of Fast Company’s Most Creative Business People.
About Bridges IsraelBridges Israel is an impact investment fund which invests in Israeli companies in order to generate competitive financial returns alongside significant measurable social and environmental impact. Founded in 2018 and managed by Sandrine Montsma, Gal Hayut and Ran Grodecki, Bridges Israel is an independent affiliate of Bridges Fund Management (BFM), one of the world's leading sustainable and impact investors. ECOncrete is the fund’s 8th investment.
Bellway snaps up nearly 16,000 plots
Bellway has acquired 15,982 plots since last August worth £891 million and agreed to buy a further 9,000 plots as it strives to keep up with soaring UK housing demand.
In a trading update to the London Stock Exchange, Bellway reported an average 239 reservations per week from February 1-June 6, up 51.3%, and a "strong balance sheet" with net cash of £408 million and the value of its order book rose 20.5% to £1,889 million.
Housing completions for the full year are expected to be around 10,000 homes and the average selling price is now expected to rise in excess of £300,000.
Jason Honeyman, Chief Executive, said demand for new homes continues to be strong and customer confidence throughout the wider housing market is resilient. "Customer satisfaction is high and our recently launched 'Customer First' programme will help to improve quality further," he said.
Notwithstanding the introduction of lower regional Help-to-Buy price caps, outside of London, and the restriction of the scheme to first time buyers only, with effect from April, the demand for larger, higher value homes "remains encouraging", which has been supported by the extended stamp duty land tax holiday and more broadly, ongoing customer aspirations for more home-working space.
Not everything is rosey in construction however, as pressure on material supplies remains intense, which is having a knock-on effect on projects and prices.
Since the beginning of the year the IHSMarkit CIPS UK Construction PMI has shown shortages of over 60 different construction materials including bricks, timber, roof tiles, insulation and kitchen appliances in every month this year. Overall, the number of construction materials experiencing shortages and price increases is trending upward.
With such a large number of EU workers from the UK leaving the industry, the sector is suffering from a further employment drought.
New national research from Powered Now, a field service management software that specialises in trades, shows 18% of Brits have sought a new career path in the trades as a result of the pandemic. But the pandemic has been a catalyst for diversifying the UK's trade workforce, with 15% of those considering the trades as a career, female.
- 18% of Brits agree that after COVID, have found employment within a trade sector to pick up additional work or to commence a new career path
- 15% of tradespeople have seen their client demand increase post-COVID
- 17% of tradespeople regularly work over 10 hours a day
- 16% of tradespeople agree that they lose out on business due to extensive administrative tasks, such as chasing invoices
- 16% of tradespeople agree that sequential waves of COVID has made them more motivated to work
Ben Dyer, CEO of Powered Now, said with shortages of supplies and labour, the whole industry is still in catch up mode and various projects that were delayed by sequential lockdowns, are now taking priority.
"This has helped to spike demand and we expect it to continue in the short term. Our research has entirely confirmed that tradespeople and consumers alike are very much eager to sustain this growth," he said.
"Our SME customers are also talking about the pressure to complete jobs as they don't have enough boots on the ground. As we have seen from the sentiments established in this research, a new wave of tradespeople are more motivated to work and are commencing their work on home improvements even sooner. These concerns are also sure to help the sector bounce back even quicker as people will rush to hire a tradesperson for their desired work."