Following a successful multimillion raise in Europe, JUUNOO heads to the US to speed up circular adoption in the construction industry
Every year, $320 billion worth of partition walls are thrown out worldwide. JUUNOO, a Belgian startup taking the lead in circular building and construction, completed its Series A Financing round in Europe with a total capital increase of $3.8 million (supplemented by $3.2 million in additional loans and grants). The company now makes its way to the US.
According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, building material production accounts for 25% of the total energy and 75% of raw materials consumed by the U.S. manufacturing industry overall. JUUNOO sees a clear opportunity to make a difference. By developing partitions that are 100% circular, JUUNOO ensures they can easily be moved or, after use, sold back to the company upfront for cash, which are then resold at a profit. Construction companies also benefit because productivity increases with faster installation. JUUNOO’s entire concept–from original product to design potential to buyback–revolutionizes construction and gives architects and builders both an economic and ecological advantage.
In the latest US construction industry forecast published by ResearchandMarkets.com, growth is expected to hit 8.8% in 2022. JUUNOO’s recent raise will let it take advantage of the positive industry developments as well as increased consumer demand for sustainability. A 2021 global survey by SAP (cited in a Forbes article) stated that 47% of engineering and construction executives felt that sustainability was top-of-mind.
Peter Vits, Principal of Wing Partners, an architectural design liaison that serves clients such as Under Armour, Nike, Coach, Heineken, among others, says:
“JUUNOO is a great addition to our range of wall systems for modern office interiors. In particular, the combination of circularity and aesthetics.”
New York office launches
Launched in 2017, JUUNOO’s steady growth mirrors booming interest. In 2021, the company headquartered in West Flanders succeeded in more than doubling its turnover. Today, the team consists of 22 employees and continues to expand internationally. With its recent capital raise, JUUNOO will continue to bring its pioneering partitions and walls to the Netherlands, Denmark and the United States. By 2024, the Kortrijk-based company plans to be active in six countries. Their NY office opened June first.
“Belgium remains our home, but we are deliberately looking to broaden our horizons to other countries and markets in order to have an even greater impact on the environment,” says JUUNOO founder, Chris Van de Voorde.
In addition to accessing new markets, recent funding will help the development of a brand new digital assistant for the office and commercial building sectors: JUUNOO Voltage. It offers contractors, architects, property developers, facility managers, etc. a way to visualize the placement of movable walls. From AI-designed floor plans to quotes, BIM drawings, sustainable & acoustic assessments, and AR building instructions. By quickly scanning and measuring spaces, drawing and adapting plans, the platform also helps determine budgets, order walls, check material reusability and get needed support. Users save time and benefit from a more efficient workflow. The platform aims to facilitate better cooperation between the various building teams and construction players.
Circular business models are the future of the construction sector
Securing backing from large and prestigious European entities gives credence to JUUNOO’s innovative and circular approach to construction. The Series A round is the result of a capital injection by Saint-Gobain Gyproc, Finindus and existing investors.“This capital injection is another step in our company's mission. We want to make circularity the standard in partition walls,” says JUUNOO founder Chris Van de Voorde. The financing round was also supported by Vlaio, Trividend and BNP Paribas Fortis.
One of the new investors, Finindus, an investment company formed by the multinational steel corporation, ArcelorMittal, and the Flemish Region, sees JUUNOO as a pioneer of a new movement in the construction world. “JUUNOO's growth trajectory has impressed us,” says Investment Manager, Roel Callebaut. “Driven by a desire to make an impact, the team also understands that economic logic is the best way to convince customers to become more sustainable. They do this by selling circular walls that pay for themselves. JUUNOO is showing the entire construction industry that circular business models are the future.”
Fresh off the heels of winning the first-ever Aureus Prize from the University of Luxembourg, JUUNOO’s Founder, Chris Van de Voorde, is in the United States specifically to demonstrate to new American investors and partners JUUNOO’s exceptional economic and environmental advantages. Both are key benefits in meeting the looming climate and inflation challenges. The startup will also take part in the US trade mission organized by Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT) in early June, under the leadership of Princess Astrid. “We have been active in the US for a while with exports and already have a local presence,” says Chris Van de Voorde. "We notice a huge boost in sustainability happening there. This is essential to attracting new people after ‘The Great Resignation.’”
Continues Chris Van de Voorde. “This Series A round is a great vote of confidence from our investors. It is my mission to offer a better world to future generations, especially my children Juul and Noor (for whom the company is named), combined with my engineering love for walls -which are responsible for 1.05% of CO2 emissions worldwide! There’s still a lot of work to be done, but the fact that even a major industrial player like Saint-Gobain and Finindus, with its direct link to ArcelorMittal are investing in JUUNOO and getting on board with our circular story shows that the mindset is changing.”
Chris Van de Voorde, founder of JUUNOO
Speaking about JUUNOO’s ambitions directly, Van de Voorde continues, “We are driven not only by our unique position to bring an excellent product to market; JUUNOO saves time, money—and helps the environment! But JUUNOO also demonstrates how the construction industry can actively participate in a circular economy and stimulate others to innovate and join in.”
The ability to attract notoriously reticent, but high-profile European, investors to the table underscores the opportunity and potential JUUNOO hopes to replicate in the United States.