26 – 100 in alphabetical order by company: Gonzalo Galindo, head, Cemex Ventures

Cemex Ventures is the corporate venture capital (CVC) and the open innovation platform of Cemex, a Mexico-headquartered building materials manufacturer which has a presence in more than 50 countries.

It invests in construction technology-focused disruptive startups that can provide answers to real daily-basis problems happening in the construction value chain. Apart from making investments, Cemex Ventures also helps early-stage companies that need support in their market growth process, through pilots, research and development (R&D) testing activities or giving them access to its network of partners including other investors, VCs, accelerators, investment funds, clients, suppliers and academia. Likewise, Cemex Ventures has launched some in-house incubated solutions to attend to the specific needs of the core business.

Regarding innovation, Cemex said: “To understand what construction innovation is, we first need to establish some context. Innovation in our industry has been lacking for many years.

“While other industries, like automobiles, have been quick to adapt to the digital age, construction has kept a very slow pace in the race. Why? It is expensive, requires a lot of research, lacks standardisation, material availability can be a challenge, and there is a shortage of professionalised workforce.

“More so, the fragmentation and lack of collaboration within the different sections of the construction value chain also make it harder for innovation to come through in the industry. With this in mind, it is safe to say that construction innovation is not straightforward; it is a collaborative effort to improve the diverse processes that encompass the industry as a whole. By promoting construction innovation within every significant player in the construction value chain, it will be easier to enhance its productivity parameters and technology adoption.”

Cemex Ventures invests from a strategical point of view, from the balance sheet, Galindo said. “Thus, we are not only giving financial support to the startups but also facilitating their scalability through pilots, proof of concepts or R&D activities.”

Examples include a commercial partnership with data-empowered workplace accidents prevention platform creator Prysmex, where the company sells directly to Cemex. Similarly, Cemex acts as a strategic supplier to smart home designer Modulous for the latter’s materials and products. The corporate also launched a pilot project with online soil marketplace Soil Connect in Florida.

Cemex Ventures was born as a small team with four people in early 2017. Currently, it has a team composed of over 25 people, located in three different offices in Madrid, Spain; Monterrey, Mexico; and Shanghai, China. Due to the increasing interest in the contech ecosystem in the different regions, new offices were opened to better support the entrepreneurial and investment activity, especially in Latin America and the Asia-Pacific regions.

Galindo began his career at McKinsey, after that, he joined Cemex where he developed his long career holding different positions in the last 18 years.

Since 2016, he has been overseeing Cemex Ventures, promoting the construction revolution by working with startups in construction, entrepreneurs, universities and other entities interested in the industry.

Edison Fu

Edison Fu is a reporter and Asia liaison at Global Corporate Venturing.