Arcol raises 3.25 million euros for an online building design tool

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Arcol, an Irish start-up developing a building design and documentation tool that works in browsers, has raised $3.6m (€3.25m) from investors including the former director General of Autodesk.

The US-based company was founded by Paul O’Carroll in 2021 with a plan to develop better tools for use by architects, engineers and contractors in the design and construction of buildings.

Arcol’s flagship tool is under development and is scheduled for release later this year.

The company is attracting considerable interest with Amar Hanspal, former chief executive of Nasdaq-listed 3D design software developer Autodesk, among its backers. Other investors include Cowboy Ventures, as well as the chief executives of Procore and Figma, the highly regarded cloud-based design tools company run by Dylan Field.

“What Figma did in the UI [UI] design space, we want to do in building design,” Mr. O’Carroll said.

Mr. O’Carroll, the son of an architect, previously ran a digital design studio that built tools for large companies, usually with a construction or architecture twist.

“I’ve seen with my own eyes how bad the tools we use to design buildings are and thought that architects, engineers and contractors deserve better tools,” he told The Irish Times.

Investment cycle

The latest funding brings the total raised by Arcol to date to $5 million following a seed investment round early last year.

“CAD became mainstream in the 80s, and BIM arrived soon after, but since then it seems the tools have lost their magic. Over time they have become clumsy, slow, unintuitive and driven by greed – the incumbents are public companies and therefore their only measure of growth is profit.

“Arcol is bringing the magic back to building design and making it accessible to everyone, from world-class AEC companies to people who don’t know what CAD or BIM stands for,” O’Carroll said in a blog post.

“While nearly every product we touch has become web-based, collaborative, and consumer-focused, for some reason our design tools are still stuck in an old 1990s desktop paradigm. 3D building design tools need to be powerful, yet easy to use, web-based, intuitive and above all collaborative,” he added.


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