Meet SiteHive: The construction-tech startup combatting on-site pollution in real-time

Highlighting SiteHive's journey from Antler’s first cohort in Australia to tracking industry pollution for major infrastructure contractors and projects

Maeve Couch

Manager, Marketing and Communications
November 9, 2023
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Although highly valuable to economies - constituting over 20% of Australia’s GDP - the environmental impacts of the extractive and construction industries are infamous and broad. The notorious culprits are fossil fuels and greenhouse gases but lesser-known evils also exist in noise, dust, and vibration pollution. The environmental impact of the latter pollutants is significant, affecting not just humans and buildings but also flora and fauna. 

Dust is identified as a key health concern by the EPA, while noise causes mental and physical harm to humans and animals according to WHO research. Environmentally, dust can disturb the pH and mineral concentration of bodies of water, depleting soil, plants, and animals of nutrients, and causing acid rain. Meanwhile, vibration can damage infrastructure, cause sedimentary erosion, and disturb wildlife, affecting the natural behaviours of animals such as navigation, finding food, and marine life echolocation. The monitoring and management of these latter pollutants are therefore vital in the construction and mining sector. However, the tools traditionally used in these industries for these tasks are manually intensive - and thus time-consuming and prone to human error - while also costly and complex.

Until SiteHive’s first-to-market ‘SiteHive Hexanodes’ were developed.

SiteHive was born from the very first Antler in Australia cohort in 2019 and has seen revenues grow four-fold since by providing innovative environmental monitoring devices and software to major Australian infrastructure contractors. The SiteHive Hexanode products are real-time environmental monitoring devices that are a lot smaller, more sophisticated and easier to use than traditional devices. These transform how people manage the environmental impact of noise, dust, and vibration, enabling these aspects to be managed proactively to keep teams and communities safe and minimise their impact. 

From Day Zero: Brewing ideas to transform environmental monitoring

SiteHive was launched in 2019 when co-founders Adam Ferguson and Ben Cooper-Woolley met at Antler’s first Australian cohort in Australia. First bonding over a mutual love of beer, Adam and Ben realised they were both also passionate about how technology can transform processes and industries.

Antler is fueled by a personal passion that goes beyond traditional investing by backing their companies for their whole journey. Since the first residency in Australia where SiteHive was created, 100+ companies have been produced from the consecutive cohorts. Antler levels the playing field by bringing together innovative people from all backgrounds and geographies - such as Ben and Adam - so they can find co-founders that light a fire in them. 

Prior to SiteHive, Ben had spent almost 12 years at Arup, a world-leading firm in sustainable development and construction. During this time, he had become increasingly frustrated with the lack of modern tools. 

“Our world is in a constant state of development,” says Ben. “By 2050 more than two-thirds of the global population will live in cities. And that population is forecast to be 60% larger than it is now. We need roads, railways, houses, offices, schools, warehouses and more - infrastructure across all levels.

“But it’s important that this development happens while communities continue to live and thrive - it needs to be sustainable and have minimal environmental impact. Yet the tools for measuring and managing environmental impact were generally old, expensive and hard to use. We saw that people needed new tools that made it a lot easier.”

Complementing Ben’s co-founder DNA, Adam came from an impressive 15 years at global business management software developer, MYOB, where he sat across various verticals throughout his time as General Manager while also running his own consulting practice. Adam’s background in technology development paired perfectly with Ben’s commercial acumen, and through their connection at Antler, the two co-founders realised they could apply new technologies and ideas to transform the environmental management process. 

Ben (left) and Adam (right) onsite with a SiteHive Hexanode

Innovation mapped to market need

The SiteHive Hexanodes the team created use optical particle counter technology alongside noise and vibration measurements, media and data capture, directional media, solar panels, and batteries that were already in use in the consumer electronics market to develop the product. 

Ben says, “SiteHive Hexanodes really changed the game in many ways because not only are they a lot smaller and easier to use, but they are also a lot cheaper. SiteHive Hexanodes are peoples’ 'eyes and ears’ on-site - they provide real-time data, audio and images on noise, dust, vibration and other environmental aspects. This information can then be viewed and managed easily from anywhere using SiteHive Enviro cloud-based software.” 

By putting real-time information at people’s fingertips, SiteHive has allowed project teams to be proactive about environmental impact. They can take action to stop issues before they happen, minimising the effect on work teams, communities and the environment.

SiteHive has worked closely with its clients to establish the product fit and develop it in line with market needs. Their first clients were large construction companies who were managing major infrastructure developments around Australia. The team worked in partnership with organisations including Laing O’Rourke, John Holland, CPB and McConnell Dowell, and that led to rapid take-up of SiteHive products across the infrastructure and major construction industry. 

Adam says, “We were meeting a real need for construction projects. They had to manage environmental aspects in line with their environmental management plans, but the tools they had were inadequate. SiteHive brought innovative new technology - both monitoring devices and software - that made things a lot easier and cheaper for them. We also developed and adapted it based on their feedback and insights, so it was really fit for purpose.”

To Greatness: How Sitehive is sustaining growth and expanding into markets

Within three years, all major Australian contractors were using SiteHive and the team had worked on over 300+ projects. SiteHive is relied on for Federal, State-significant and commercial developments, including many high-profile projects such as the Sydney Football Stadium, Western Sydney Airport, Victoria’s Big Build, Metro Rail and others. 

Antler didn’t just invest at pre-seed in 2019 but also in 2020 through a follow-on investment, stating in the latter that the “The Risk Management segment of construction-tech focuses on end-to-end risk management, compliance and monitoring and safety solutions, with monitoring and safety being the largest subcategory. This is a rapidly growing space. The market for monitoring and safety is one of the larger subsegments, but the number of direct competitors is low and given the size of the market, there is plenty of opportunity ahead.” 

Using this capital and Antler’s broad network alongside their innovative product and co-founder tenacity, SiteHive began establishing a strong market share among large construction companies, with the last couple of years seeing SiteHive’s market focus grow and diversify. 

Adam says, “The SiteHive products work for construction projects of all sizes and, because they are cost-effective, any size of business can use them. We introduced a subscription model to the market - a first for monitoring devices - and it really makes sense for smaller companies because it means they don’t have any expensive equipment costs.”

SiteHive has seen interest grow in markets beyond construction to include “mining, quarries, ports, data centres, schools and more,” says Adam. “SiteHive is a very cost-effective solution that’s easy to use, so as more people become concerned about environmental impacts it has a broader appeal.”

SiteHive has seen consistent growth every year, with revenues now four times what they were in 2020. The team has also expanded from eight people in 2020 to 18 now, with members working across development, support, operations, sales and marketing - and the number is set to rise.

“We’re excited about the new market options available to us, and we’ll be expanding our go-to-market team to meet the demand we’re experiencing. Legislation, industry leadership and community sentiment all mean there’s a much stronger and growing focus on environmental impact, and SiteHive is well placed to help with this.”

And beyond: Continued innovation and new products

As Australia’s only truly global VC, Antler startups in Australia - like SiteHive - scale faster, backed by their truly global community of founders, advisors, and investors. Progress is not inevitable—great people innovating is the key to making it happen. Antler exists to increase their founders’ speed and success rate in solving important problems. 

From inception to now, innovation has remained at the heart of everything SiteHive does. Ben says, “We build innovation into all our products because this makes it easy for the people using them.” 

This approach has led to quality products and strong recognition from the industry. SiteHive has been widely recognised with a number of prestigious awards, including Good Design Gold and Green Awards; Property Council of Australia's Best New Proptech; being named by CEMEX Ventures as one of the Top 50 startups globally; as well as a number of others.

In September 2023 the team released another major product: SiteHive Hexanode Vibration. Ben says, “Managing vibration during construction has traditionally been seen as difficult and shrouded in mystery. Our new device takes away the complexity, making it easy for anyone to do, so that the environmental impacts of vibration can be minimised.

With new products in the market, and a growing market of interest for them, the SiteHive co-founders and team are looking forward to ongoing growth.

Antler is the investor backing the world's most driven founders, from day zero to greatness. If you or someone you know would benefit from building their next startup with Antler, apply here.

Maeve Couch

Manager, Marketing and Communications

As the Marketing and Communications Manager, Maeve is focussed on bolstering Antler Australia's marketing and media presence while helping nurture and build robust digital and physical identities for their Australian founder cohorts. Working with startups for over 5 years, including the fintech Cape as their Marketing Manager and through her own digital marketing company, she has amplified a diverse suite of companies from their inception to global expansion.

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