Canvas Announces $24 Million Series B: Revolutionizing drywall in the construction industry with the first collaborative robotics solution
Canvas, a construction robotics startup building the future in bold new ways, today announced it has raised a $24 million Series B led by Menlo Ventures. The financing included strategic investment by construction industry leader Suffolk Construction with participation from Alumni Ventures Group and existing investors Innovation Endeavors, Brick & Mortar Ventures, Obvious Ventures, and Grit Labs. Canvas plans to use the funds to accelerate its ability to transform construction work by bringing robotics into the built environment, starting with drywall finishing.
In recent years, industries like manufacturing have been transformed by the introduction of robotics and digital tools. The construction industry is now on a similar precipice. Advancements in robotics technology have been stymied in construction due to the complexity of the ever-changing job site environment. But technology that Canvas has invented now makes it possible to bring robotics to the construction industry. By enabling skilled trade workers with a new class of tool, Canvas helps customers deliver unmatched quality, superior control over schedules, and safer working conditions on their projects. This comes at a time of critical need for the industry. Demand is forecasted to grow to unprecedented levels as population growth continues to outstrip the rate at which we can build. Canvas creates better project outcomes today while solving critical challenges for generations to come.
“Since our launch last fall, we’ve seen incredible demand for the Canvas system and our unique ability to set the bar on quality, safety, and predictability,” said Kevin Albert, CEO and Co-founder of Canvas.
Canvas launched out of stealth in November 2020, following three years building out its patent portfolio and working in partnership with leading builders and District Council 16 of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades to perfect its approach. The Canvas system represents a major shift in the construction industry, by creating better tools for workers while rising to the building demand of the next century.
“We’re thrilled to be partnering with Canvas. Robotics is one of the most exciting opportunities of this generation, and advancements have finally made it possible to introduce the tech into unconstrained field environments,” said Matt Murphy, Partner at Menlo Ventures. “Canvas’ solution dramatically improves the timeliness, safety, quality, and cost of finishing (drywall) in construction, a trade that has been starved for innovation for over 50 years, until now!”
Canvas has started by focusing on drywall finishing, one of the most labor-intensive, unpredictable, and congested parts of the construction process. The company’s approach combines the skills and expertise of trained union workers with robotics technology that together unlock access to higher-quality beautiful spaces while improving working conditions.
“At Suffolk, we pride ourselves on redefining what is possible by innovating, investing, and building – we therefore share an aligned worldview with Canvas,” said Jit Kee Chin, Chief Data and Innovation Officer and Executive Vice President at Suffolk. Wan Li Zhu, Managing Director of Suffolk Technologies, added, “We are excited to partner with Canvas in creating a safer and more productive construction process where people and machines work together seamlessly and collaboratively to deliver at the highest quality levels.”
Traditionally, architects and developers have been constrained in specifying the highest-quality finishes due to the schedule risk and shortage of skilled labor. Canvas consistently delivers better than Level 5 finish — what the company calls Machine-Finished Level 5 — while unlocking unprecedented control over schedules by reducing typical finishing times by up to 2.5x. At the same time, Canvas’s approach provides safer working conditions by eliminating high work and repetitive motion that leads to falls and musculoskeletal injuries. Through its focus on safety and cutting-edge technology, Canvas supports efforts by the union and offers an exciting career path that will draw more workers — including more women and minorities — into the trade.
“At Swinerton, innovation is about changing how we deliver construction services,” said Brent Christensen, Field Operations Manager at Swinerton. “The evolution of the construction industry is widely known to be slow in adapting to new technologies, but Canvas is changing the future of our business by leaps and bounds. Teaming with Canvas on our clients’ projects is an exciting way to lead the charge, increasing the safety and quality of drywall finishing in our industry. Perfecting the Level 5 finish application is substantial, especially when you consider the potential cost savings by offering more control over the schedule.”
Adoption of Canvas has accelerated during the Covid-19 crisis, as owners and builders continue to look to differentiate on quality in the tight labor market and competitive construction environment. In addition, with the growing adoption of digital and remote workflows, Canvas offers the opportunity to directly tap into job workflow, progress, and quality keeping project teams informed at all times from anywhere.