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Rugged Robotics, a Houston-based developer of construction technology, raised $9.4 million in Series A funding. Similar to Dusty Robotics, Rugged offers a robot to automate construction layout. Rugged’s Mark I marks architectural and engineering designs directly onto concrete floors so workers know where to build. The robot is available for commercial use, which the company delivers via layout as a service (a derivative of Robots as a Service).
“We’re building better,” Derrick Morse, founder and CEO at Rugged Robotics, said. “We set out to modernize the construction industry, and to build practical solutions that solve the pain points contractors struggle with every day. We believe that layout is the ideal starting point. Layout is the beachhead for construction automation. It sits at the intersection of the digital and physical world, solves a huge problem, and unlocks the ability to deploy robotics onto job sites in a very meaningful way.”
BOLD Capital Partners and Brick & Mortar Ventures led the funding round. Riot Ventures, Morpheus and Embark, previous investors in the company, also participated in the most recent round. It also included participation from industry leaders like Consigli Construction Company and Suffolk Technologies.
Rugged was founded in 2018 by Morse, a veteran of the construction industry, and Logan Farrell, a NASA engineer. In 2019, it closed a $2.5 million seed funding round, bringing the company’s total funding to date to $12 million.
While the company spent 18 months in stealth mode after the seed funding round, it’s been able to bring in early customers like Consigli Construction Co., Suffolk Construction and Brasfield & Gorrie.
“When Derrick and Logan first visited our office, they clearly understood the problems we face and immediately separated themselves from typical technology startups. Their focus on solving real-world problems resonates with us, and we jumped at the opportunity to engage with them,” Mike Haseltine, vice president and head of operations at Consigli, said. “Seeing their robots, their layouts, and their impact is inspiring. They’ve built something that’s going to change how we build buildings.”
The company plans to use the fresh round of funding to scale operations, expand its product offering and leverage its navigational stack to provide solutions for other challenges on the job site.
It’s also using the funding to expand its team. Rugged recently hired Mason Markee, the former director of mechanical engineering at Auris Health.