Slashing CO2

Founded: 2021

HQ: Oakland, CA

Bringing lumber back to life.

Big Picture

The U.S. throws away one tree for every two it harvests. That’s 37 million tons of wood in landfills pumping methane into the atmosphere annually. 80% of this wood is salvageable, representing billions of dollars of lumber, millions of saved trees, and millions of tons of avoided emissions. But because converting wood waste into usable lumber is so laborious, salvaged wood can cost 10-20x more than virgin wood.

How it Works

Urban Machine combines AI and robotics to make premium lumber from wood waste, cheaper than virgin lumber. They site containerized machinery at demolition sites and intake wood that would otherwise be landfilled. The machines evaluate quality, remove any screws, nails, and staples, and churn out thousands of board feet of premium lumber on-site at a fraction of the time and cost.

Unfair Advantage

Relative to virgin wood, Urban Machine’s salvaged wood needs 2x fewer mill costs, 10x fewer energy costs, and 10x fewer miles transported. This unlocks a new supply of below-cost-parity, high-quality, sustainable building materials. The more wood their machines process, the more accurately the systems get at predicting type, quality, and quantity of waste coming from demolition sites before a single hammer drops.


Ton of CO2e avoided

per cubic board meter of salvaged wood


Eric spent over 20 years innovating in the construction industry, most recently by building the innovation arm of construction firm Swinerton.


Andrew previously co-founded and led engineering at multiple robotics companies. He holds a PhD in io mechanical engineering from Cal.


Alex was previously CTO & co-founder of Aotu, a startup that developed plug-and-play smart vision for industrial IoT.

The Urban Machine team is using robotics to reclaim waste construction wood


Urban Machine uses AI to turn waste into lumber

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