Why we are backing Nodes & Links to make our critical infrastructure more efficient and sustainable
By: Christian Hernandez, Rahul Parekh & Alexandra Perez
The world needs to build — bridges, roads, railways, energy infrastructure- and we need to build more efficiently and sustainably. McKinsey estimates that we need to invest $3.5 trillion into infrastructure per year through 2035 to keep up with expected GDP growth and a further $1 trillion per year to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The post-COVID recovery plans put forward by the EU and the Biden Administration are seeking to deploy further trillions of dollars into sustainable infrastructure like EV charging, renewable energy, resilient grids and energy efficient housing.
The problem is that builders of big and complex things have been historically extremely bad at delivering them as promised. A survey conducted by Oxford University showed that only 8% of 12,000 large infrastructure projects had been delivered on budget and on time with an average cost increase per project of 128%. This on top of McKinsey’s estimated $69 trillion in aggregate infrastructure spending needed through 2035 would mean $19 trillion worth of waste, and of needed resources that could have been allocated to other mitigation and resilience initiatives.
More importantly it is a waste of our most precious asset in our battle for climate change: Time.
As Chris Greig, Princeton Professor and co-author of the Net-Zero America report said when we asked what type of technology could have the greatest impact on sustainability: “Whatever software or algorithm allows all this sustainable infrastructure to be delivered sooner and cheaper.” Every day of delay is one less day without the potential positive impact this sustainable infrastructure could have.
And this is the solution that London-based Nodes & Links provides: Advanced algorithms that give the builders of big and complex things “AI superpowers” to identify and mitigate risk and project delays to deliver those big and complex (and sustainable) things — on budget and on time. The algorithm consistently parses through the thousands of interlinked and interdependent actions in a project plan (the “nodes” and the “links”) to predict the future risk and project overrun generated by ongoing variations in incremental actions.
Customers, many of whom have been doing this analysis via Excel spreadsheets when time and manpower allowed, rave about the technology. Having launched the product at the end of 2020, Nodes & Links is now deployed in some of the most highly visible infrastructure projects from data centers for leading cloud providers, pharmaceutical factories, nuclear reactors and £7 billion worth of work on the generation-defining HS2 railway project in the UK.
Not only is the software being adopted at a fast pace, but the co-founders, Greg and Christos, are mission-aligned with our view that more efficient linear infrastructure delivery is a critical tool in our ambition to ensure that the world of 2150 is a thriving one. It was actually the founders who reached out to us via our friends at Seedcamp when we first unveiled and published our manifesto. So, from the first conversations, we knew we were partnering for the right reasons, while validating the vast latent demand for their technology.
We helped Greg and Christos craft a strategic syndicate that could support their global ambitions, with 2150 helping to open doors to our network in Europe, Zigg Capital to help replicate their past successes with technologies for the built world via their network in the US, and Westerly Winds provide access to vast infrastructure projects in MENA. It allows us to co-invest with old friends at Seedcamp, Entrepreneur First and ADV. We are proud to be leading Nodes & Links’ Series A and thankful to the Founders for allowing us to be their chosen partner for this next part of their mission.
2150 is a venture capital firm investing in technology companies that seek to sustainably reimagine and reshape the urban environment. 2150’s investment thesis focuses on major unsolved problems across what we calls the ‘Urban Stack’, which comprises every element of the built environment, from the way our cities are designed, constructed and powered, to the way people live, work and are cared for. Find out more at www.2150.vc