We set down with Dity Ayalon - Co founder and CEO at ARK for a short interview.
How did you come up with the idea for this startup?
I have been working in the industry as a licensed architect, designer, project manager, building department expeditor, and investor rep for more than 15 years. I used to design and oversee the construction of buildings, and saw first hand the inefficiencies in the building design and construction process.
Tell us about your venture - what problem are you solving?
Human design processes are slow, labor intensive, expensive, and error prone. More than 70% of construction projects are over budget and behind schedule. While architects take weeks or even months to complete a project design, their ability to experiment with design options to maximize the project efficiency is limited. This leads to wasted space and millions of dollars in lost revenue for housing projects.
Ark optimizes building design, generating infinite variations in the shortest amount of time. What once took an architect months of work, providing analysis and design options, now takes minutes with ARK’s software. Not only does our solution save our clients huge amounts of time and money, but it leads to more efficiently designed cities, which is also better for the planet.
What makes your solution better than others?
The building design and construction process is complex and full of regulatory requirements. We analyzed this process and developed a product that emulates it. This is an amazing breakthrough: We developed the first “automated residential architect” It’s working, and architects are already using it.
Another huge advantage is that our team is coming from the industry and has experience designing hundreds of buildings in the US. So we have the deep industry knowledge and connections to immediately deploy our solution. In fact, we are already working on building designs in New York and in Austin, Texas.
What was your biggest stroke of luck since the launch of your startup?
Meeting and joining forces with my amazing team members! For example, I met Dr. Haya Brama, our Chief Scientist at an AI conference a few years back. She is an expert on machine learning algorithms, deep learning, and neural networks. She is a recipient of the prestigious Israeli Ministry of Science and Technology scholarship, amongst other prizes, and we’re so lucky to have her onboard. Shortly thereafter I was introduced to Yishay Haspel, our CTO. He’s a VP-level executive and was on the founding team of several startups both in the product and on the tech side. In addition, as the former leader of the IAF Simulators Software Team, he has the skills and experience to manage the development of our complex 3D software. He shares our passion for architecture, having worked and founded a company in the construction space. We are all inspired by the mission of building more efficient and sustainable cities.
Describe the main challenge you are facing today.
Our main challenge is expediting technology development, as we have signed contracts with clients who are literally waiting to use our platform. We have the first version of the product, but there is so much more to do and we want to get it out as quickly as possible.
What can we wish you for 2021?
Well clearly, COVID-19 has had a big effect on cities. However urbanization is the future: Nearly 70% of the population is expected to live in urban areas by 2050. So our hope is that Covid passes quickly, and things return to normal. In the meantime, we continue on with our mission of building more efficient and sustainable cities.
One great tip that you have for other entrepreneurs.
When I first started the venture, some people said what I wanted to build couldn’t be done. But I know there was a way and held onto my beliefs. . . And now that the first version of the software exists I’m proud to say it is already providing value, So I would say--and I want to say this especially to women entrepreneurs--that if you have a good idea, a strong belief and a passion, then listen to yourself, and follow your vision.