Ambar a Brazilian construction technology firm received a substantial Series C round of R$204 million ($36 million at today’s mid-market rate), TPG Capital, Argonautic Ventures, and others participated in the round, which was co-led by Brazil’s Echo Capital and Oria Capital. Ambar was founded in 2013 with the goal of using technology to improve the efficiency of the civil construction process. Too far, the business claims to have raised R$360 million in equity capital. CEO Bruno Balbinot estimated the sum to be around $100 million.
This $100 million amount is more than the current R$360 million equivalent in dollars, although the exchange rate has fluctuated a lot over the years, making it difficult to calculate. However, it does not take into account the fact that the business had raised venture debt. Regardless of the actual figure, Ambar now has a substantial amount of cash on hand to carry out its goals. In an interview with TechCrunch, Balbinot stated that the funds would be used to expand the startup’s digitalization arm, which it views as a critical need in Latin America.
While Spanish-speaking Latin America accounts for a portion of Ambar’s sales, the company’s headquarters are in Brazil, according to Balbinot. The startup’s home nation has two advantages: it is the region’s largest market, and its native language, Brazilian Portuguese, acts as a barrier to rivals. Ambar has 467 active clients, according to its website. Three of them are in the United States, although their presence there is more of a learning experiment, according to Balbinot. On the other hand, it is presently present on 1,500 construction sites throughout Brazil.
Ambar’s business has two faces: digitization, which it plans to expand, and industrialisation, which some media sources have compared to Lego for the building industry. Ambar, on the other hand, is not a general contractor. “Our strategy is to collaborate with those that build, and we will never build,” Balbinot stated in Portuguese. He does not just say Ambar is a tech firm; he backs it up with unit economics that is “far greater than in the construction sector.”
Balbinot and his co-founder Ian Fadel get inspiration from an unlikely place: the automobile sector. After working together at Volkswagen, they intend to apply the same process-driven approach to the construction industry. Improving the efficiency of the construction industry also improves its long-term viability. Ambar reduces waste, which is a large consequence of traditional building, by maximizing people and material resources.
Its most recent investors are dedicated to this issue. Oria Capital is a B business, and according to its website’s environmental, social, and governance (ESG) section, “Oria’s portfolio intends to help with the primary Sustainable Development Objectives established by the UN.” In addition, Echo Capital, the newly created growth fund of Ambar board member Guilherme Weege, who has links to the United Nations Global Compact effort, co-led the Series C financing. One of the business leaders that signed the initiative’s Business Ambition for 1.5°C commitment is the CEO of fashion conglomerate Grupo Malwee.
Ambar would like to follow in the footsteps of both funds’ portfolio success stories. Infracommerce, a Brazilian firm that just went public on the Novo Mercado division of So Paulo’s B3 stock exchange, supported by Weege’s family office. Oria’s third fund, which raised $100 million, was used to support a follow-on investment in Zenvia, which went public on the Nasdaq in July.
Ambar is one of the startups sponsored by Oria’s third fund, and the company has ambitious expansion ambitions for the next year: “In 2022, we intend to treble the number of simultaneous construction activities with Ambar products and gain 970 new clients,” Balbinot stated. Balbinot and his colleagues want to make the IT side of their firm a focus after recently purchasing software startup Autodoc. According to Balbinot, the business hopes to eliminate fragmentation by allowing clients to “access everything on a single platform.” “Instead of having ten programs and several staff to manage everything, we’ll now provide everything united, with a single login.”