- Press release
Building with a 3D concrete printer is four times faster, eighty percent more sustainable, and up to thirty five percent cheaper. Houses created in a factory setting, that is the matter CyBe Construction concerns itself about. A first funding round will yield the necessary funds.
Berry Hendriks, CEO and founder of CyBe Construction in Oss, has the blood of a contractor running through his veins. Ever since he was eight, he has been running around on construction sites. Berry Hendriks is the son of the CEO of Hendriks Construction, one of the top-five construction companies in the Netherlands
He is the eldest son of the fourth generation of Hendriks Construction. From a young age, he has been working at the family-owned company. Berry, however, has always been more interested in 3D technology than traditional technology. A 2012 YouTube video, where a professor showed a simulation of a machine printing concrete, sparked his ambitions.
Hendriks is excited, his father is not. Berry left the company in 2013 and started his own company: CyBe Construction. “To do great things that have an impact on the world: faster, cheaper, and more sustainable than conventional construction.”
Selling technology is more profitable
The first step was developing CyBe’s own machine, as well as concrete made for printing houses. “Known concrete suppliers, like Lafarge, Holcim, and Sika, told me I was crazy. Printing concrete was impossible. Many construction companies told me the same thing. The concrete wouldn’t set fast enough.”
Hendriks proved them wrong. CyBe’s concrete sets in three minutes, and reaches structural strength within the hour. “They then told me it is all fun and games in theory, but there is no way this technology will be faster, cheaper, and more sustainable than traditional construction.”
“I see building ourselves as a part of our marketing, it is all about credibility.”
At the innovation initiative Climate-Kic in Delft, Hendriks learns that it is “more profitable to sell the technology than it is to build yourself.” The core business activity of CyBe becomes selling 3D concrete printers. Today, they sell printers in 35 countries around the world. “Every day, this number grows.”
Gaining own experience
Nonetheless, Hendriks believes it is important for CyBe to build on their own. On numerous places around the world, Hendriks, working with his own team, has been the general contractor for construction projects. One of these places is Teuge-Apeldoorn, in the Netherlands, where the Vergaderfabriek has been built. CyBe is also building in the US and South-Africa.
He explains that architects design buildings based on bricks. These designs should be adjusted for printed buildings. Furthermore, there is the cost calculation, applying for the right permits, complying with the local rules and regulations…
All of this is fairly complex, so it is more than convenient to have some experience with this. Hendriks knows that having this experience makes it easier to support clients that want to buy a printer. “I see building ourselves as a part of our marketing, it is all about credibility.”
a home built with a 3D concrete printer
Later this year, CyBe is planning on building the first-ever, 3D printed, four-story apartment in Eindhoven. CyBe wants this project to be produced in-house, so that the construction can be limited to almost no nitrogen pollution. This will be the start of the home-factory in Oss, where CyBe plans to produce houses in a factory setting.
Concrete printers print layers of four centimeters. This makes the walls less massive (8-12 cm) than traditional concrete walls (30-40 cm), meaning less concrete is needed. Additionally, the binder for the concrete is a lot better for the environment, resulting in a decrease in CO2 emissions of up to eighty percent.
Sustainable construction: check. Concrete printing can bring back construction time from twenty five weeks to five weeks. This quicker construction, in turn, has an impact on the costs. If you choose to print the floors and walls on the construction site, you can save about ten percent of the costs. “Production in our factory to be installed on-site later saves you about thirty five percent of the costs in the Netherlands.”
Getting ready for investors
If you take into account all the benefits, CyBe Construction is a real gamechanger. So why aren’t contractors forming a line outside CyBe’s doors? “I have had this type of discussion with Hendriks Construction too. It is all about change management. You can buy a 3D concrete printer, but you also have to teach people how to use it. Business processes, as well as your supply chain, have to be adjusted.”
“These are the kind of complexities our company has to deal with. Nonetheless, our growth is good. Last year, we doubled our revenue. This year, our growth will be about 120 percent, up to 10 million euros. We are going to expand our team to sixty employees.”
Up until now, Hendriks has done everything by bootstrapping, thanks to a loan from his family’s company, but “those have been paid back.” At this point, he is the only shareholder. “If we want to make serious steps in the future, we have to be ready for investors.”
To the stock exchange
“We have been working on this for a couple of months now. This isn’t the best time to ask the bank for a loan. That’s why we want to have our first funding round next year. We want this to yield around 5 million euros.”
“The ambition is to reach a unicorn status, but in my own way.”
CyBe wants to use this money to increase and expand its sales. “Our new factory in Texas and the home-factory in Oss require a lot of capital. If you want to grow fast, you need strategic partners that generate sales for you.”
Hendriks is foreseeing a second and third funding round, as well as eventually going to the stock exchange. The ambition is to reach a unicorn status. “But if investors don’t want to do it my way, I won’t do it at all. We have a track record of ten years, we have clients, we are up and running. We just want to go quicker.”
CyBe Construction scores in the US
Business in the US is going so well by now, that CyBe has opened an LLC in Florida at the start of this year. The reason business is going so well in the US has to do with the fact that quick and cheap construction allows for low insurance rates.
“There are lots of wooden homes in Florida, Texas, and Mississippi. If a hurricane comes along, these homes are gone. Due to climate change, contractors want to switch to concrete construction, but they do not have the infrastructure or the employees to do so.”
“We reduce the need for employees, and we build more firmly. A concrete column, a printed structure, is steadier than one made of wood. If a hurricane comes along, the home will still be there afterwards. This allows the homeowner to pay lower insurance rates. This is a big reason for why business is booming in the US.”
a concrete printer doing its job in Florida
Number 1 worldwide
“People ask me if we are the Tesla, the Facebook, or the Uber of construction. I tell them: no, we are simply the CyBe of construction. Maybe we will reach a similar status as Tesla did in the car industry.”
Of course there is a lot of competition, he explains. “Icon has earned over 850 million dollars in the US over the last two years. I remember helping Icon’s founder with his graduation. Basically, all those competing companies are in our slipstream.”
“We are number one worldwide, because we do more than just selling machines or building construction projects. We have our own team of architects, construction managers, and ecological engineers from the University of Wageningen. We do both: we sell the entire concept of construction.”
“We help our clients with their first building, which they can then show to local authorities to get the permits for a second or third project. We do everything for our clients’ success. If they have enough projects, they’ll eventually come knocking on our door for additional printers.”
“There is a tremendous shortage on the housing market, and not everyone can live on Mars.”
CyBe continues innovating, with the goal to build net-zero houses, completely environmentally neutral. “We are working on geopolymer concrete, which is like concrete 3.0. This will allow us to print CO2-neutral.”
CyBe Construction can solve the housing shortage problem
“We want to build the biggest community worldwide, and then work together with them. We connect our partner in Miami who is printing frame walls with our partner in France who is doing the same. This way, they can learn from each other. This is the power of our way of working.”
Hendriks notes that there is a huge potential worldwide. “We share this world with eight billion people. There is a tremendous shortage on the housing market, and not everyone can live on Mars, we need to fix this problem here.”
“In Indonesia, they’re experiencing a housing shortage of ten million houses. We are working together with a contractor from India, who’s building 200,000 homes a year. This is three times as much as the amount of homes built in the Netherlands, all construction companies combined.”
“In South-Africa, close to Johannesburg, we are working on a joint venture to start constructing homes ourselves. There, they have a backlog in housing construction of around two and a half million homes. From that perspective, the housing crisis in the Netherlands is relatively small.”
This text is a translation of MT/Sprout’s interview with Berry Hendriks that was published on 24-04-2023. All credits go to Karin Swiers. The original article can be read here.