TyBot, LLC Closes $4M Note Round
Updated: Jan 10, 2019
The funding facilitated by Grouse Ridge Capital, LLC will be used to manufacture and commercialize the first heavy civil construction robot.
TyBot, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Advanced Construction Robotics, Inc. (ACR), announced the close of a $4 million note round led by Grouse Ridge Capital, LLC. Investors are comprised of construction industry insiders, including heavy civil contractors, equipment dealers, and a labor union. The investment will support TyBot, LLC’s domestic rollout of TyBot® spring 2017 domestic rollout, an autonomous rebar-tying robot which ties the thousands of rebar intersections which form the frame into which concrete is poured and finished as one of the final phases of bridge construction. “ ACR’s first commercial product, TyBot is ready to join construction crews. We look forward to integrating TyBot this year and our future products to come,” said Jeremy Searock, Co-Founder and Vice President of Advanced Construction Robotics.
Stephen Muck, CEO of both TyBot, LLC and Brayman Construction Corporation, a national heavy civil contractor, said: “We are encouraged by the strong market interest in our robot and the rapid absorption of our note offering by Pittsburgh institutional and angel investors.” Mr. Searock further commented that, “TyBot services will be leased to the heavy civil market beginning in March of 2018 and in 2019, units will begin to be sold directly to general contractors and specialty rebar installers.”
TyBot is an autonomous rebar-tying robot for bridge deck construction. The robot can supplement or reduce the labor required depending on labor availability for rebar-tying. Labor is notoriously scarce during construction’s peak season as well as due to the current labor shortage faced by the construction and skilled trades industries.
Rebar tying is a tedious, laborious, repetitive, unpopular, and accident-prone activity that is increasingly difficult to staff. The construction industry nationwide is experiencing growing labor scarcity in almost all markets and geographies. In bridge construction, contractors often bid for work without knowing where their deck crew labor will come from, despite it being a critical path activity that can trigger costly liquidated damages for projects that run past completion deadlines.
In contrast, TyBot will tie rebar intersections continuously, day or night, rain or shine, and without breaks or injuries. TyBot represents a reliable, flexible, and scalable solution to meet labor challenges by reducing the required deck rebar installation labor. After transport, TyBot is lifted via crane onto existing construction infrastructure, and with the oversight of one supervisory technician who monitors quality assurance and reloads the tie wire spool, the robot autonomously navigates the bridge deck and executes the rebar ties across the bridge.
George Mezey, President of Trumbull Corporation, a leader in bridge and highway construction and also an investor in TyBot, LLC, commented that, “By investing in TyBot, we are investing in a more efficient and safe way to build with rebar. Combining the talent of our craft workers with the latest in technology enables us to provide our clients with a quality project. The potential of technology and especially autonomous robots is too great to ignore and we are thrilled to partner with TyBot, LLC and their technology.”
The capital raised for TyBot was led by Grouse Ridge Capital, a Pittsburgh-based family office that acts as both an investment vehicle and advisor for capital raising and strategic business development. Mike Bechtold, Managing Director of Grouse Ridge Capital, said “we were pleased with the strong interest garnered from a diverse investor group and we look forward to working with the management of Advanced Construction Robotics as it develops a worldwide presence.”
Jay Cleveland, President and CEO of Cleveland Brothers Equipment Company, was designated as the Lead Investor for the note round. “I am always interested in innovative construction equipment and this robot is clearly a leader,” Mr. Cleveland was quoted as saying.
This press release was featured internationally by the Global Construction Review.