Autodesk acquires Norwegian AI firm Spacemaker for £181m
Autodesk, the international software solutions provider, has signed a definitive agreement to buy Spacemaker, a Norwegian AI firm, for £180.9 million cash.
The acquisition provides Autodesk with a powerful platform to drive modern, user-centric automation – powered by artificial intelligence – and accelerate outcome-based design capabilities for architects.
Based out of Oslo, Spacemarker uses cloud-based, AI and generative design to help architects, urban designers, and real estate developers make more informed early-stage design decisions faster, and enables improved opportunities for sustainability from the start, according to the statement.
By evaluating the best options from the outset, Spacemaker helps architects maximise their client’s long-term property investments, it adds.
“Spacemaker is a lesson in the power of insights and automation, giving designers the ability to create and test urban design ideas in minutes,” says Andrew Anagnost, CEO and President of Autodesk.
“With two billion more people expected to call our planet home by 2050, speed of design and sustainability in urban planning must be priorities. Spacemaker technology offers a fundamental shift in how we imagine and build cities to keep people and the planet healthy.”
Autodesk adds that with Spacemaker’s platform, design professionals can rapidly create and evaluate options for a building or urban development. With AI as a partner to the architect, the platform enables users to quickly generate, optimise, and iterate on design alternatives, all while considering design criteria and data such as terrain, maps, wind, lighting, traffic and zoning.
Furthermore, the platform quickly returns design alternatives optimised for the full potential of the site, thus leading to better outcomes from the start and allows designers to focus on the creative part of their professional work.
“Our values are always reflected in the business decisions we make. The acquisition of Spacemaker demonstrates our commitment to the advancement of architects and the ability of designers to change the world for the better,” adds Amy Bunszel, senior vice president for AEC Design Solutions at Autodesk.
“Paired with our teams and complementary technology, Spacemaker’s transformational solution will empower designers to make more informed design decisions and help solve some of the greatest challenges ahead of us all.”
Daniel Kjørberg Siraj, CEO of OBOS,said real-estate developers in Norway are at the forefront of the digital transformation in the building sector, which has resulted in increased project profitability, and critically, an improved ability to combat climate change with more sustainable real estate developments.
“Game-changers such as Spacemaker are part of the solution, and it is critical to give them the scale that they need in order to be impactful. As an early investor and adopter, I am incredibly pleased to see Spacemaker joining Autodesk and am looking forward to seeing Norwegian-born technology transform the industry at a global scale,” Siraj states.
The transaction, subject to customary closing conditions, is expected to close during Autodesk’s Q4 fiscal 2021, ending January 31.
XYZ Reality receives £20m to develop Assisted Reality
Founded in 2017, XYZ Reality aims to "revolutionise" the construction sector with its Engineering-Grade Augmented Reality (AR) solution, Holosite.
Designed to enable an on time and on budget delivery of construction projects, by eliminating building errors, HoloSite has been available to select customers through an early access programme and has already been used on projects totalling a value of over £1.5bn in the last year.
With approximately 98% of construction megaprojects facing cost overruns or delays and 7-11% of project costs being spent on correcting errors, XYZ Reality’s purpose-built integrated AR solution directly addresses these issues.
With its safety certified AR hardhat, cloud platform and in-built proprietary software, Holosite accurately positions high fidelity 3D design models on construction sites, enabling teams to build it right, first time. The technology system has been used on complex construction projects including data centres, pharmaceutical facilities and airports.
This funding will be used to accelerate the company’s ambition of transforming projects by preparing for HoloSite’s commercial launch in the USA and continuing investment in strengthening research and development. The company is also growing its London team to include key hires across technology, manufacturing, sales and marketing.
David Mitchell, Founder and CEO of XYZ Reality, said developing its engineering-Grade AR solution helping construction teams identify errors in real-time is just the start.
"The next phase is Assisted Reality, where our spatial computing technology will have the intelligence to automatically detect and report issues in the field. And ultimately, the goal is builders building from holograms. Our vision of developing world changing products aligns with Octopus Ventures’ mission of investing in companies that are powering the next industrial revolution. We look forward to building history.”
The latest round of funding is led by Octopus Ventures, one of the largest and most active venture investors in Europe, known for its commitment of investing in companies and founders that are changing the world. Octopus Ventures has a strong track record, spanning investment in health, fintech, consumer, B2B software, and deep tech. This includes WaveOptics, one of Octopus Ventures’ early investments in Augmented Reality, which was recently acquired by Snap Inc.
Rebecca Hunt, early-stage investor at Octopus Ventures, said: "We’ve always invested in entrepreneurs leading industry change and XYZ is doing just that. It's solving a massive problem that costs the construction industry billions every year, using its Engineering-Grade Augmented Reality solution to spearhead a shift in the sector’s approach. The founding team of David, Umar and Murray have deep domain and technical expertise, which we believe makes XYZ uniquely placed to drive this transformation.”
XYZ Reality also announces a new partnership with Mace, for the construction of a hyper-scale data centre in Europe. With speed to market being particularly essential for mission critical builds, HoloSite’s AR technology will have a significant role in supporting an accurate and time effective build for Mace, which last week appointed Jon McElroy its new Managing Director for International Technology.
Mace Technical Director, Stephen Henley, said: “Mace has built a reputation of redefining the boundaries of ambition, always bringing efficiency, innovation and responsibility to our projects. With the implementation of XYZ’s groundbreaking AR system, we continue to be committed to delivering projects faster, safer and better than ever before.”
Five years ago, Heather Bellini of Goldman Sachs Research expected virtual and augmented reality to become an $80 billion market by 2025.
But according to new research by global tech market advisory firm ABI Research, nearly 28 million augmented and mixed reality smart glasses will ship in 2026, while the total global AR/MR market will surpass $175 billion in the same year.
"Major tech players across hardware, software, and services look familiar in the consumer space, contributing to strong and consistent overall growth," says Eric Abbruzzese, Research Director for ABI Research. "Those big tech names, with active investment and product ranging from already available, to announced, to all-but-announced, are creating a consumer AR market that will be dynamic and welcoming rather than struggling and immature."