Photos: Sebastian Falck Stigsby for Rainmaking

Urbantech 2019: Innovating construction for sustainable cities


How can smart technology optimise construction processes? Since the Urbantech program started back in August, this has been the focus of COWI's collaboration with two tech start-ups: Norwegian Catenda and Spanish SAALG Geomechanics. At the Demo Day on November 8, the results were presented at BLOXHUB in Copenhagen.

Urbantech matches tech start-ups with leading Danish companies with the purpose of accelerating the development of sustainable cities. With population growth, urbanisation and climate change knocking at the door, there is a true need for it – and a key to succeed is data and new technology.

This year, COWI has been working together with Norwegian Catenda and Spanish SAALG Geomechanics on smart construction technology. And for the past months of collaboration it has been clear how teaming up with start-ups through Urbantech can boost COWI's everyday efforts to make cities more sustainable. Lars-Peter Søbye, CEO in COWI, explains:

"No doubt tomorrow’s winners are digital. Being a partner in Urbantech gives COWI the opportunity to be in the forefront of that development while getting inspired by the great energy and work approach in the start-up world. Together with Catenda and SAALG Geomechanics, we have started a digital journey – and we look very much forward to see where it will take us."

From technology to market-ready solution

On November 8 at BLOXHUB in Copenhagen, the Demo Day took place. And for Catenda and SAALG Geomechanics it was time to go on stage and present the project results.

Catenda brings construction information alive through their cloud-based collaboration platform Bimsync. With COWI, the aim has been to further explore how to streamline workflows and collaborate on projects through data. Dag Fjeld Edvardsen, Co-Founder and Chief of Customer Relations in Catenda, says:

"Digitalisation, data management and open standards are essential to circular economy and creating sustainable and intelligent cities. We wish to make the construction industry more data-driven because it enables important progress within performance, efficiency and sustainability. Working with COWI, it has been inspiring to learn more about how our Bimsync platform can create value for a large multinational engineering company through all phases of a project."

SAALG Geomechanics specialises within real-time monitoring data analysis to minimise risk, save time and resources, and maximise profit of any construction project.

"With our technology Daarwin, we wish to optimise construction projects by reducing geotechnical uncertainties. Through our collaboration with COWI, we have got the chance to test our technology on large-scale construction projects and got important insights on how to move from selling a technology to create real value for customers", explains Cristian de Santos, CEO in SAALG Geomechanics.


Urbantech runs through 2019-2021 admitting 10 new start-ups in each project cycle. Collaborating with Catenda and SAALG Geomechanics has given COWI valuable learnings for Urbantech 2020:

"Urbantech is not only about matching the right start-up with the right company. It is also about matching the right people who can challenge each other's businesses and complement the specific needs in the project team – whether they are of technical character or business driven. And then it is crucial that we are ready to take risks and dare to "fail". Because overcoming whatever challenges that might arise during the projects is the real success and where new opportunities arise", concludes Lars-Peter Søbye.

Read more about the Urbantech program at

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COWI employee Søren Kragh Pedersen

Søren Kragh Pedersen
Head of Group PA & PR
Communication, Denmark

Tel: +45 2025 7018