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A new Tech Match program by Realdania, FundingBox and BLOXHUB match high-end European tech startups with Danish SME’s to boost tech and sustainability in the construction sector.

Oliver Schulze is a Danish urban designer, Founder and Partner of the SME Schulze+GrassovRicardo Santos is a Portuguese engineer, CEO of the tech startup Heptasense. They come from a different culture, a different background, and a different industry. However, they have been matched to work together, because Oliver had a challenge that could be solved with Ricardo’s startup technology.

This is the Tech Match philosophy: to solve challenges collaboratively in the construction industry, to transform it into a more efficient and sustainable sector. Schulze+Grassov is an urban design firm of trained architects, landscape architects, that work around the world building sustainable cities. Heptasense, the other part of the match, is software for surveillance cameras or any other type of camera that is able to understand what is happening in scenes providing video analysis in real-time of the behaviour of vehicles and people.

From problem to solution by combining creativity with technology

Oliver had a “very concrete problem”: as urban designers, it was physically impossible for them to be in every space of big cities and to record it. He was looking for a technology-driven solution that could allow them to automate a survey process to be able to survey cities as big as the size of Denmark. And bingo! With Ricardo’s startup Heptasense they can combine architecture and technology for urban planning. Instead of having people manually looking at what’s happening in cities, thanks to this match now they are using technology to automate that dynamically.

Oliver and Ricardo are both experts and innovators in their own fields, but as Oliver explains, the idea is that they “get married to bring these two very interesting worlds together” to plan and build more sustainable cities in a faster, smarter and more efficient way. They have joint forces to innovate by combining creativity with technology.

And they got very creative. They went to their attic, got an old bicycle and a lot of “attractive looking” pink tape. They taped broomsticks from their cleaning cabinet to the bike, to fix a GoPro camera on top of it to build a very low-tech and cheap prototype ready for the first workshop. Then, they were able to record some video footage that Ricardo could process and analyse with Heptasense’s software.

The best of the Tech Match program: “Inspiration, cross-fertilization and new opportunities”

Tech Match “is not about just one project, it is about five projects, and it is very inspirational to hear all the others speaking. There is a lot of inspiration and we are all cross-fertilising each other”, explains the founder of Schulze+Grassov. “I love the idea that you have five highly intelligent project teams, but you have an umbrella over that, and for some time, we are all together and cross-fertilising our projects, so I wouldn’t be surprised if some of us developed working relationships across teams”, he adds.

Ricardo sees the value of the Tech Match in the “new ways of collaboration and new market opportunities” that can appear after the program. “Tech Match is great because it combines companies from completely different backgrounds to solve a specific problem”, he highlights.

Matching 15 EU tech startups with 15 Danish SMEs to digitally transform the construction industry

Tech Match is an innovation program funded by Realdania and facilitated by FundingBox and BLOXHUB to digitally transform the construction industry into a more sustainable and efficient sector by matching Danish companies in the construction industry with high-end EU tech startups, providing technology such as Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Building Information Modelling, Internet of Things, and Software & Sensors.

A total of 15 startups, who previously received funding via a FundingBox European program, will be matched with 15 Danish SMEs in the construction industry and funded with up to €100,000 from Realdania. The 15 matches will be created throughout three open calls. Schulze+Grassov and Heptasense were matched after the first open call closed, the second open call is accepting applications until 10. October at 18:00 and the third open call will be launched at the beginning of 2021.