Welcome to ‘Crazy for ConTech’ with Romey Oulton, a Q&A focused on the Construction Technology Industry.
This Q&A series is an opportunity for our North American Consultant Romey Oulton to discuss all things construction technology with key players who are championing innovation and digitalisation in the construction space.
Exodigo is the new gold standard for non-intrusive discovery. Their subsurface mapping solutions combine advanced sensors, 3D imaging, and AI technologies to provide a clear picture of the underground for customers across transportation, utilities, construction, and more. They solve the underground by locating pipes, cables, soil layers, rocks, minerals, and even groundwater – so their partners can decide where to design and build safely, with confidence.
What led you to Construction Tech?
When I left the military, my co-founders and I wanted to use our signal processing skills for a civilian use case. We were fascinated by both medical imaging and underground mapping, and considered developing products for both, but eventually decided to go with subsurface imaging because of the potential impact we could have in mitigating the enormous risks stemming from inaccurate underground data.
AI can solve many of the problems faced by capital project teams, shortening delivery timelines, increasing safety, and improving sustainability. I was excited to put my signal processing and AI experience to use for the construction industry.
What was the mission of Exodigo when you created it? And what is unique about your business VS. competitors?
Our mission has always been to solve a massive problem faced by so many industries: understanding the underground. Over $100 billion a year is spent on unnecessary excavation and drilling globally, and the cost of that—in dollars, time, and pollution for the planet—is just unacceptable to me. So, along with my co-founders, I decided to create a solution that would accurately and non-intrusively map the underground.
Exodigo is the first and only company that successfully fuses data from both the most advanced sensors (from electromagnetics, gravitation and light, to ground penetrating radar (GDR), lidar and seismic) as well as standard data sources like industry visuals and records into a single, easy-to-read image. In simplest terms, Exodigo uses multi-sensor fusion to collect more data points than anyone else and processes the signals with AI.
Why is it that the construction industry is deemed ‘slow’ or ‘resistant’ to adopting technology? Is this justified? If so, what are some of the barriers you’re seeing?
The construction industry has traditionally been conservative when it comes to new technology because of the high risks involved in changing current processes (safety challenges, environmental regulations, financial considerations) but in our experience the right clients are thrilled about embracing innovation and new technology.
There’s no doubt that this is a complex space—construction by nature includes multiple stakeholders, many different tools and systems, and the use of heavy machinery. However, we have found willing partners in the industry who have become advocates for us and are pushing the limits of innovation in their organizations.
What will be the biggest trend in the ConTech space in 2023 (let’s talk AI!)? What will be the biggest challenge?
The economic challenges that many construction firms are facing right now (sky-high supply costs, labor shortages, and more) are pushing projects over budget, leading the industry to seek cost and time savings solutions. AI offers a clear pathway to achieving projects on time and on budget, and we look forward to leading that charge.
With artificial intelligence, we can more efficiently process data (for example, Exodigo collects over 500GB of data per acre, which would be far too much for a human being to process alone), monitor sites in real-time constantly for anomalies that might indicate safety issues, and automate lengthy processes that are prone to human error.
Growth plans for Exodigo: 1 year, 3 years, 5 years (i.e: geographies, products, verticals, headcount, funding)
We are focused on growth in the U.S. this year, as well as the UK (where we just launched in mid-June!), Israel, and Europe. In the next 3 years, we hope to evolve our product to the point that it can be a self-service model and expand into new geographies. In the next five years we plan on serving new industries and really becoming the standard for underground mapping globally. We have already seen amazing traction, and I think we will only go up from here.
Israeli founders are 40% of US unicorns – what are your learnings of being founded in Israel but going to market in the US?
I am passionate about fostering the Israeli startup ecosystem. For such a small country, we have an outsized impact on the world, and that’s something I am proud of! For me personally, my multicultural background has served me well.
I was raised in France until adolescence, then moved to Israel and now spend more than half of my time here in the states, which has allowed me to connect with clients with diverse cultures and experiences.
I have also found that in the U.S., Israeli technology is extremely well-respected, and clients are really interested in employing it.
Tell us about your approach to talent acquisition and company culture? Has it changed over the past few years? If so, how?
Exodigo is growing fast in every sense of the word, from revenue to headcount, and we try to bring folks onto our team who are ready to dive in, learn and be agile. We work hard, we support each other, and we are always willing to try new things. Our company is truly global now, with teams of employees in the U.S., U.K., Europe, and Israel. It’s been exciting for us to hire across geos.
What advice would you give someone looking to join the Exodigo team? What qualities/ characteristics/ experience/ skillset/ mindset really stands out to you?
We are interested in people who will grow with us; we consistently promote superstar employees internally and that’s something that I value as a CEO. To me, the best fit for Exodigo is someone who has unique skills and experience, but who is also willing to learn completely new things, ask questions, and be humble.
How did your experience in the Israeli Military Intelligence impact your current success as an entrepreneur?
Serving with Israel’s elite army intelligence unit fundamentally shaped my approach to business. I got my education through the Israeli government and learned the technical skills I used to develop our product, but more importantly I formed a network of relationships that serve me every day at Exodigo.
When I first founded the company, we hired many Israeli army veterans. While our hiring approach has evolved beyond my military connections, we still look for people who are resourceful, scrappy, agile, and proactive, all traits that I think I first valued because of my time with Israeli intelligence.
What is your guilty pleasure? And favorite song?
My guilty pleasure is being unapologetically lazy when I am not working (which is rare!). I like to say that when I get the chance, I can be the laziest person on earth.
My favorite song is whatever is the top song on today’s top hits on Spotify. I love winners!
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