The Tel Aviv-based company, founded in 2019, is looking to transform the construction industry by applying smart sensors to building materials — primarily concrete — to improve quality and speed up the construction process.
Leveraging in-house built sensors, GreenVibe collects data about the composition of concrete, feeding measurements such as temperature, strength, density and moisture during formulation and operations so that on-site construction engineers and development project managers can make better-informed decisions.
The company says its hardware and software system can provide real-time data about materials on construction sites and make data-driven predictions about quality and readiness.
Concrete is the most widely used building material in the world, and its use is expected to quadruple by 2050 from about 30 billion tons used annually. They’re cheap, easy to make, and ubiquitous. It is also currently responsible for about 8% of human carbon dioxide emissions due to the ways it is manufactured and used. Cement – its main ingredient – is the most polluting part of the mix.
Yet concrete makes a unique contribution to pretty much everything that is constructed, from tall glass skyscrapers to bridges and roads, and it does not appear to be in danger of being replaced. This means that the global challenge is to find ways to make the product and its use more energy efficient and long lasting.
GreenVibe is not alone in realizing this. But her solution is gaining ground with leading construction companies because it is simple yet effective.
Concrete is composed of multiple elements, with water, sand, and aggregates bound together with cement, and mixed to different recipes for different use cases. Once the concrete has been poured to form part of the structure, the concrete must be left for a period of time, and tested, until it is “ready” for the next stage. Working with concrete requires deep knowledge, time and a bit of guesswork.
Roee Reshef, co-founder and CEO of GreenVibe, believes the technology can change how concrete is mixed, poured and monitored.
“Working the traditional way requires sampling, which can take days. We give our customers a simple dashboard that tells them what they need to know, and on a large project this data can save months of time by providing operational certainty. We take a lot of the guesswork out of the process construction.And we reduce pollution.We estimate that we can save 15% to 20% carbon emissions from concrete.
Rechev said that by working with GreenVibe’s data sensors, customers can save costs and time by not overbuying materials, and become more accurate in their processes.
“They understand what they need. They can respond to materials as needed once they start pouring the mix,” he explained.
Although a small team of only 18, and with a product still in development, GreenVibe has already partnered with a number of top-tier construction companies in Israel including Tidhar, Shikun & Binui, Ashtrom Group and Shapir Engineering.
Naor Caspi, Tidhar’s director of innovation, said the company – among Israel’s largest private construction and real estate groups – truly believes in GreenVibe’s team and technology. Tidhar has invested an undisclosed amount in GreenVibe and has worked with its technology in six locations, with four of the projects ongoing.
“Although the product is still in development, it’s having a huge impact,” Caspi told The Times of Israel. “It goes completely against the old-school method of building—checking concrete, sending samples to a lab and waiting five days once the concrete is poured before continuing with the building.”
“With GreenVibe we get data in real time. It’s as if we can ‘talk to concrete’ and understand how hot, dry, wet or how strong it is. We can see that it speeds up our building process, sometimes allowing us to use cheaper concrete and others of different density, It also reduces the carbon footprint of our projects.”
Caspi and Reshef realize that GreenVibe is a work in progress. There is a four- to six-month plan to develop the sensors further to improve their understanding of the resilience of concrete, the impact of moisture, and other conditions. There is also a need to reach industrial production levels, allowing the company to operate across more locations and to include more sensors.
In addition to its restricted Israeli clients, GreenVibe says it also has relationships with two design partners in the United States, a large construction company in Japan, and one in India. What these companies share, says Reshef, is a traditional way of doing construction, and a recognition that the world you know needs to change.
“Our solution is a ‘must have’ – it’s central to their business,” he said. He added that with no major marketing effort, GreenVibe’s customers have come to them mainly by word of mouth.
GreenVibe’s next steps will require capital to market its solution globally, particularly in the US where there is significant movement to renovate aging infrastructure, and to offer the solutions at scale. As customer numbers grow, the company will likely need to expand beyond the engineers who make up much of the staff today and add customer support and other teams. Reshef doesn’t deny that GreenVibe is preparing a major funding round to fuel its expansion.
So far, the company has raised just a few million dollars in seed funding from partners like Tidhar, Shikun & Binui, Israel Canada Investments, Elbit Systems, and New York-based Insight Partners.
While many tech startups feel they need to leave Israel to grow, Rechev said, “There is construction going on here in Israel and billions of dollars invested. It’s a market we can operate in and expand into. And our product is small and lightweight. We can supply companies all over the world during our stay here in Israel.
Reshef said GreenVibe is “determined to ensure the lower construction costs and carbon footprint that our technology can bring benefits to construction here in Israel, as well as its deployment on construction projects around the world.”