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A North American PropTech View with Igor Stavrulov, Amatec

3.10.22

Welcome to ‘A North American PropTech View, by Tabitha Francis’ our Q&A focused on North American PropTech’s.

Our Q&A series is an opportunity for our North American team to discuss all things PropTech, Start-ups, and Career with different founders from across the region. Each week we will ask PropTech innovators burning questions and quiz them about their product, we hope you find it insightful and enjoy getting to know the founders as much as we have.

This week we have been in touch with Igor Stavrulov, CEO and Co-Founder of Amatec.

AMATEC is a deeptech startup aiming to revolutionize the housing construction industry. AMATEC has successfully created a new and advanced building material called High-Density Gypsum which can directly replace concretes, woods, and ceramics in housing (and many other) applications. Its unique properties allow for best-in-class industrial prefabrication of house sets that can be quickly and easily assembled on the construction site. This material is completely recyclable, requires extremely low CO2 emissions (if any), hardens within 20 minutes, is 2-5x stronger than concrete, and reduces costly labour expenses by 8 to 10 fold. AMATEC’s solution is the future of the housing construction industry!

How did you find yourself working in the ConTech sector?

It may come as a surprise, but I ended up working in ConTech completely by accident. For over 20 years, I’ve actually been focusing on developing successful new technologies in the bio and food industries. However, one day, my scientific advisor drew my attention to a paradox that had been stumping him for some time; natural gypsum stone is very strong but all man-made gypsum products are fairly weak (an up to 5x difference in strength!). The sheer fact that nature created such a strong material which man could not replicate launched my foray into the ConTech industry where I’ve spent the last 8 years researching and developing gypsum technology for construction. This led to the successful creation of what we call High-Density Gypsum, or HDG for short.

 

At what point did you realize there was a gap in the market, and how did you conduct your research into it?

It is well known that the housing construction industry has massive gaps in its market, and this comes as no surprise since people have been stuck using the same four basic building materials (wood, ceramic, concrete, and steel) for over a century now. The US and Canada alone are short of over 7.1 million houses, which illustrates how there is immense room for improvement. At first, we didn’t know exactly what application HDG would be best suited for, but during the R&D of our new material, we found that its properties are perfect for automated industrial prefabrication. This is thanks to HDG’s unmatched molding capabilities, 20 minute curing rate, and absence of shrinkage-induced deformations. As such, we realized that we had a winning formula on our hands to use gypsum technologies in the prefabrication of houses. Using this model, AMATEC sees itself manufacturing housing sets made from HDG which can be easily and quickly assembled on a construction site. A solution like ours is desperately needed, and we’ve begun confirming this by interviewing customers like real estate developers and home builders who are corroborating the necessity to find new materials that allow them to keep up with demand in an economical way.

 

How does your value proposition differentiate you from other companies operating in a similar sphere?

Our value proposition is clear and enticing; we can build houses cheaper, faster, stronger, and more eco-friendly than any competitor in the market today. So, what do we mean by this? To dive deeper into these claims, using HDG in housing construction can reduce costly labor expenses by 8-10 fold, it can be used to create finished structures in only 2 to 3 days time, it is 2-5x stronger than concrete (yet, lighter), and it is the only material that fully complies with the UN’s Principles of Sustainable Development. Overall, this is a huge differentiating factor which leads us to believe that we can be the market leader in the housing construction industry and encourage customers to finally make the switch. When comparing ourselves to other companies operating in a similar sphere, most either struggle in a few of the previously mentioned facets or cannot achieve results nearly to the same degree as AMATEC. 

 

What challenges are you facing within the construction landscape in the current climate?

The construction industry is notoriously old-fashioned and hesitant to implement innovation. This is the central reason why it’s also faced with immense issues like huge shortages of material/labor, skyrocketing prices, non-sustainable practices, etc. This is certainly a challenge, but also an advantage. The construction industry is ripe for change and we’ve actually seen increasing interest in our new material and technology as companies and investors are actively looking for new solutions to tackle these aforementioned problems.

 

What does the next year hold for your company? What are your expansion plans?

We are currently raising our seed round which will give us the capacity to begin experimental production in 2023. During this time, we plan to coordinate a pilot project to construct a scale-model house made from High-Density Gypsum. Assembling a finished structure will allow us to prove that our new technology is effective and scalable while also giving us a subject to conduct additional third-party testing on for regulatory purposes. Such will lead us to obtain the necessary permits and licenses to use our homes. Most importantly, we want to surprise everyone in the real estate market. This is our little secret for now, but we have big aspirations and plans to disrupt the entire construction industry thanks to HDG’s incredibly wide range of potential applications.

 

Future of ConTech in North America- what do you think is going to be important this year?

One trend we see making a big impact in the ConTech market this year is the need for more hardware solutions. Currently, most of the innovation coming out of this industry is in the form of software. Although new technologies in the software space are certainly beneficial, they do not solve the market’s fundamental issue which is the widespread usage of outdated building materials. Hardware is therefore the real foundation for bringing about change in the ConTech industry, and as such, its demand is on the rise. Companies like ourselves are leading the charge to provide much-needed physical solutions to the market.

 

What advice would you give to someone looking to enter the ConTech industry?

Although the ConTech industry may seem intimidating to early-level startups due to the high barriers to entry, we want to insist that anyone interested in entering the market should persevere and pursue their goals. There are not many DeepTech projects in this space today, and to really succeed at making sweeping changes throughout the industry, we need to work collectively to put our ideas into action. If you are confident in your solution, seek feedback, and search for/take advantage of any and all opportunities (no matter how many no’s you get), you will accomplish what you set out to do.

 

What are your thoughts about the current fundraising landscape in ConTech?

Today, the ConTech market segment is one of the fastest growing and is attracting tons of interest from investors of all shapes and sizes. Particularly, we see high levels of intrigue in projects at the intersection of DeepTech, Sustainability,  Low-Carbon, and Cyclicality. We are optimistic that this growth will continue its upward trend so that companies like AMATEC can succeed at bringing this industry into the modern age once-and-for-all.

LMRE are specialist PropTech recruiters, if you need help growing your business or making any key hires please get in touch via the form below!

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