Arcol raises €3.25m for web-based building design tool

Device used by architects, engineers, contractors in building design and construction

Arcol, an Irish-founded start-up developing a building design and documentation tool that runs in browsers, has raised $3.6 million (€3.25 million) from investors who include the former chief executive of Autodesk.

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

Arcol’s flagship tool is in development with release scheduled for later this year.

The company is drawing significant interest with Amar Hanspal, former chief executive of Nasdaq-listed 3D design software developer Autodesk among its backers. Other investors include Cowboy Ventures, along with the chief executives of both Procore and Figma, the highly regarded cloud-based design tool company led by Dylan Field.

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

Mr O’Carroll, the son of an architect, formerly ran a digital design studio that built tools for large companies, usually with a building or architectural twist to them.

“I saw first-hand how bad the tools we use to design buildings are and I thought that architects, engineers and contractors deserved better tools,” he told The Irish Times.

Investment round

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

“CAD went mainstream in the eighties, and BIM came soon after, but since then it seems like tools have lost the magic. Over time, they’ve gotten clunky, slow, unintuitive, and driven by greed – incumbents are public companies and therefore they’re only growth metric is profit.

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

“While almost every product we touch has become web-based, collaborative, and consumer focused, for some reason, our design tools are still stuck in an ancient desktop paradigm of the 1990s. We believe that 3D building design tools should be powerful, yet easy to use. Web-based , intuitive, and most importantly collaborative,” he added.