Type: AI

Investor: Sten Tamkivi


What is the mission?

Monumental is a robotics startup on a mission to solve the labour, cost and sustainability challenges crippling the global construction industry. Its small, electric, agile, autonomous ground vehicles (AGVs) move freely around the rough terrain of building sites to help contractors address labour shortages and rising costs, with an initial focus on bricklaying.

Its intelligent and adaptable robots and software blend human expertise with robotic efficiency in a way that the industry has never seen before, and they will revolutionise not just how buildings are constructed but transform the economics of the construction industry itself.

Who are the founders?

The company was founded in 2021 by CEO Salar al Khafaji and CTO Sebastiaan Visser, co-founders of data visualisation firm Silk, acquired by Palantir in 2016.

Why did Sten get involved?

At Plural, we think about “Terms of Excitement”. A few aspects of Monumental made it impossible for me to miss this opportunity:

Physical AI: we’re in a super interesting moment where the rapid rise of powerful machine learning models shifts a lot of complexity of next-gen robotics companies from hardware to software. Instead of rigid multi-hundred-thousand-euro machines that must be programmed specifically to do one thing, line-by-line, we get near-consumer-low-cost hardware + most of the logic in advanced software, with all the ingenuity and scalability that comes with software innovation.

Replacing jobs left undone, not human workers: if the Netherlands needs 100,000 new homes per year, and there are human bricklayers to deliver 70,000, automating the missing 30k jobs to deliver is an obvious win-win for all. 

Construction is vast: a recent study estimated that construction robots could increase productivity by 50-60%. The global construction market is headed towards $15.5 TRILLION by 2030, and that requires advanced tech.

The trick that Monumental has cracked here is to not sell tech _to_ construction industry but reinvent the industry in human+machine symbiosis. Hiring Monumental to build your walls does look and feel like what they are used to upstream in the construction business and supply chain.

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