Acelab, an information marketplace of building products for architects, manufacturers, contractors, and clients founded in 2019 by Vardhan Mehta (MAUD ’21) and MIT alumnus Dries Carmeliet, recently announced it had raised $3.5 million in investment from institutional investors and industry angels. Among participating investors in its first round of funding were Pillar VC, Alpaca, Draper Associates, MIT MET fund, Emily Fairbairn, and Erik Jarnryd.
As architectural designers, Mehta and Carmeliet recognized the vast numbers of hours architects spend gathering information on building products—“from sifting through manufacturing brochures and spec sheets to contacting salespeople with questions about product specs, pricing, and availability,” says Mehta. He notes that Acelab allows architects to “spend more time designing, and less time on the busy work involved in product sourcing and specifying” and manufacturers to “increase visibility and get in the spec.”
Daniel Fetner, principal at investing firm Alpaca VC, explained the need for a tool like Acelab, describing it as a way to automate the “manual and time-consuming process of sourcing building materials and drafting spec sheets.” Pillar VC’s Russ Wilcox elaborated, saying, “It’s challenging for architects and building products manufacturers to coordinate, especially in this time of supply chain interruptions. Acelab’s platform makes it easy for everyone to stay on the same page. Architects can select and specify exactly the right products, manufacturers can sell more efficiently, and builders waste less time returning wrong orders.”
Last year, Acelab won the Harvard Real Estate Venture competition, received grants from MIT DesignX and MIT Sandbox, and was a finalist in Harvard Innovation Lab’s President’s Innovation Challenge. Currently, Acelab is running pilot partnerships with a select group of architecture and manufacturing firms in the US to prepare for its general availability launch.