B2B Tech Tuesday: YardLink promises to revolutionise the construction industry

B2B Tech Tuesday is our weekly check-in here at Spreckley, where we share all the most interesting and useful B2B and enterprise technology news, innovations and trends.

This week, we look at the latest funding for a new tech start-up called YardLink that promises to revolutionise the construction industry, the latest trials in Hounslow of the UK’s first custom-build self-driving delivery vehicle and news on Truecue’s women-only COVID-19 data analytics hackathon.

Tool and plant hire tech for the building industry

UKTech.news reports this week on a new funding round for a new B2B procurement platform designed specifically for tool and plant hire for the construction industry, called YardLink.

“Based out of London, YardLink raised £1.7M in a round led by Speedinvest Network Effects with participation from FJ Labs,” reads the report. This brings the total raised by the company to £2.4M.

“YardLink intends to use the funding to expand its sales, operations, and technical teams, and to further develop its equipment rental platform’s footprint across the UK ahead of later international expansion. On top of that, the company is also planning to digitise the construction procurement workflow for more efficiencies as well.”

YardLink founder and CEO Neeral Shah explains: “The construction industry faces new guidelines to prevent the spread of coronavirus, such as having to provide portable site cabins and accommodation for its workforce. This, coupled with tight availability in the market and more demand for renting equipment, rather than buying it, has helped us prove our worth across the UK.

“Using technology to better coordinate and speed-up the supply chain is having a real impact on productivity within the industry at a difficult time.”

Hounslow to trial UK’s first autonomous road delivery vehicle

West Londoners might want to watch out for on-road tests of the UK’s first self-driving delivery vehicle, according to the latest news on ComputerWeekly.com this week.

“To date, most of the attention regarding autonomous vehicles has been has centred on driverless cars and buses, but now the London Borough of Hounslow is claiming to be first off the grid to trial autonomous electric delivery vehicles on its roads,” reads the news.

Kar-go, has been designed by UK startup Academy of Robotics, and reportedly: “on track to be the first custom-built autonomous delivery vehicle to travel on the country’s roads. Designed to offer a contact-free form of delivery, the company has chosen to make its first deliveries from pharmacies to care homes and will later introduce deliveries from a depot to work sites for Hounslow Highways, part of Eurovia UK, the holding company for businesses maintaining the road network across the UK.”

Eurovia UK innovation director Yogesh Patel said of the project: “We are delighted to be supporting this trial by providing an opportunity to work in a live carriageway environment. Our teams deliver highway maintenance and improvement schemes up and down the country, so we know highways.

“This partnership is about marrying our expertise on the highway with the Academy of Robotics’ expertise in AI [artificial intelligence], design and entrepreneurial skills. We both bring something important to the trial, which could, ultimately, revolutionise last-mile deliveries and enable us to rethink highways.”

TruCue’s COVID-19 female-only hackathon winners revealed

Finally this week, ComputerWeekly.com reports on the finalists from TrueCue’s virtual female-only hackathon, encouraging data scientists and analysts to use COVID-19 data to solve pandemic-related problems.

TrueCue, Alteryx and several partner firms ran the COVID-19 data analytics hackathon, with over 300 women gathered into 40 teams “given access to Covid-19 datasets, which they were asked to analyse and interpret to create insights and solutions to pandemic-related challenges.

Bingqian Gao, data science lead at TrueCue, said of the initiative: “People out there have the skillsets to do really well in the industry and they would love it, but some of them don’t really have the resources or know about the industry,” she said.

Women still only make up only about 17% of technical roles in the British tech industry – the data science field is no different – and the hackathon was part of a wider initiative to boost gender diversity in UK tech.

ComputerWeekly reports that the eventual winners of the hackathon were as follows:

GoogleGals won Best Overall by using data to look into the factors affecting responses to the virus in different countries. They used different techniques, such as descriptive analytics and a random forest machine learning model, and some members learnt how to use Python for the first time as part of the challenge.

FishingConsultancy won Most Impactful Story-telling, looking into different regional responses to the pandemic and presented the data in a “news report” style.

Team MACS won Most Creative Presentation, using a combination of global governance data and a Covid-19 response tracker to compare pandemic responses in areas with male vs female leaders.