In a significant development, Bluescope Steel’s venture capital arm, BluescopeX, alongside Aconex co-founder Rob Phillpot’s Gravel Road and Archangel Ventures, has jointly spearheaded a $1.5 million Seed round for a burgeoning proptech software startup based in Melbourne. This innovative startup, known as CLT Toolbox, is dedicated to educating commercial builders about the numerous advantages of utilizing engineered timber for commercial construction projects.
This financing round has also garnered support from Flying Fox Ventures, Dan Madhavan’s LaunchVic-backed angel network, Ecotone Ventures, and notable individuals like Jodie Imam, Adrian Hondros, and Peter Lam.
The core offering of CLT Toolbox is a state-of-the-art software platform that serves as a comprehensive educational resource for structural engineers. It focuses on the utilization of “mass timber,” commonly referred to as engineered or cross-laminated timber, and provides a wide array of educational materials, specifications, resources, computations, and design infrastructure. Traditionally, the cost of educating engineers on these aspects could reach as high as $100,000 per engineer, making it a substantial barrier to adoption within the industry.
Australia has been at the forefront of adopting cross-laminated timber for commercial construction. The country’s first engineered timber office building, the six-storey International House Sydney at Barangaroo, designed by Tzannes architects, was a pioneering achievement. This was followed by Atlassian’s plans for its Sydney headquarters, featuring a 180-meter hybrid timber skyscraper, which is poised to become the world’s tallest timber building.
Numerous other ambitious projects are currently in the works, such as the 15-storey T3 Collingwood in Melbourne by Hines and the $350 million 50-storey C6 residential tower in Perth, which is set to surpass the height of the Atlassian tower at 183 meters.
The cross-laminated timber sector is predicted to experience substantial growth over the next decade, with its value expected to quadruple to reach $5.03 billion by 2032. Buildings constructed overseas using cross-laminated timber have been dubbed “plyscrapers.”
This expansion of the sector is not just a matter of economic growth; it also has important environmental implications. The construction sector is responsible for nearly 20% of Australia’s carbon footprint. Therefore, the incorporation of hybrid timbers in building projects, which also serve as carbon storage, has the potential to reduce emissions by up to 75%.
CLT Toolbox’s CEO, Adam Jones, emphasized the startup’s global ambitions and its recent expansion into offices in Ethiopia and Indonesia. He stated, “Without experience, resources, and education, new timber solutions are less likely to be proposed. This software can significantly expedite the adoption of reduced carbon solutions and advance the industry’s decarbonization efforts.”