New digital innovation for the construction industry

Building materials company Kingspan has established a new accelerator backed by a €20 million venture fund to drive digital innovation in the construction industry.

Covolve, which will be based at Kingspan’s global innovation centre Ikon in Kingscourt, Co Cavan, is focused on enabling compatible innovation for the sector, which has traditionally seen more fragmented solutions. The project will focus on tackling challenges such as efficiency and sustainability through decarbonisation projects, creating solutions that could be used throughout the construction industry.

Covolve is being headed by Louise Foody, Kingspan’s director of digital who led the company’s first big technology investment in construction software company Invicara. Ms Foody was also behind Kingspan’s multimillion-euro group-wide customer and digital experience programme, which was undertaken in the past five years focused on energy management, decarbonisation, performance improvement, digitalisation and automation of product and service delivery.

The opening of Covolve is the next step in the digitalisation programme and will utilise the experience built up by the team. Covolve will also have access to Kingspan’s global customer base.

The project is anticipating reaching revenues of €100 million by 2028. It employs 30 people.

Ms Foody said the accelerator planned to work with a range of partners, from start-ups with one or two people to bigger businesses that Kingspan could partner with on a project or acquire.

“We’re coming together with partners, because we know we’re a big international business, there’s lots of things we figure out by ourselves,” she said. “But we see the momentum in looking outside of Kingspan.”

The launch was carried out alongside the first Covolve hackathon, which had more than 60 participants for the immersive two-day programme. Kingspan said it plans to expand the hackathon in 2024 to several global locations.