What do you do?
We reduce costs and screwups that are happening in construction projects by providing a tablet and web-based collaboration tool which links the construction site to the office. It speeds up communication and collaboration between the two, allowing people to flag the problems earlier and resolve them before complications arise.
For example, working as an engineer to inspect a site: I would print out my stack of drawings from the office and take them with me to the site. I’d be marking them up on my knee, and taking photographs of the problems I’ve seen. I would then go back to the office, reprint the drawings, have to re-do the markup neatly – because it needs to go back into our system – I’d have to file a report, categorise the photographs, and then scan everything in. It’s a hugely time-intensive process with a lot of paper waste.
A lot of time we’d find out that the guys on site were making mistakes simply because the version of the drawing that they had was not the one we had in the office. There were seven different pieces of hardware and involved in that process… From concept design, into detail design, all the way into construction – at any stage, we can fix this problem. Our platform unifies the whole process to one piece of software.
How did it start?
We started as a company about two years ago, and we built several iterations of the product. We favour the idea of the lean startup approach, this build-measure-learn approach. And we are fast learners, we are constantly evolving.
Now we also run an event called Construct-Disrupt. It’s starting to become big, which is awesome. It’s designed to link the startups that are doing things that might be interesting to the construction industry with the industry giants that we have access to.
How did you manage to get the giants onboard?
We started to look at smaller companies to get traction with, and then something incredible happened – we were approached completely unsolicited by High Speed 2. It’s an enormous project, one of the largest in Europe. They heard about what our system was trying to do. So we ran a proof of concept trial, which proved the use case for what we were doing while we, as a company, were continuing to develop and raise money. It gave us the confidence to then approach Crossrail, which is the largest infrastructure project in Europe. They have an innovation programme, and mandate to leave a legacy behind. Once we connected with them, it lead us into a larger trial which we did with Costain and Skanska, their contractors. Before we knew it we were adopted on various sites.
Right product, right time, right place?
I think that there are a lot of things outside of our control. And it would have been impossible without other technology being out there: tablets, cloud solutions… We are lucky to have the hardware and the infrastructure that exists today, to be able to deliver a product such as ours. The problem existed before, but the technology was not available. So there is a degree of luck and timing, but also true determination from the team. I am very proud of them. I always want to hire people who are better than me…