Serena Capital, Cap Horn Invest and Aster Capital have just participated in a 20 million dollars of financing raised by FinalCad to accelerate its development. Founded in 2007 to digitalise the construction sector, it is one of the global leaders in the use of digital modelling across the construction phases, with a fully mobile solution letting this be done right on the building site. FinalCad’s teams have succeeded in creating one of the leaders in construction optimisation through data analysis. Its founders cleverly pivoted in 2011 by launching a smartphone and tablet application under the current brand that helps building professionals drastically improve communication and progress tracking for construction sites. But though talented team and a solid technical foundation are key ingredients for the success of a startup, they are ultimately fairly common among a large number of young companies.
So why then, other than the team and the technology, do we at Aster believe in FinalCad’s original economic model? And why do we share the ambition of this company, which aims to make FinalCad the reference company in the BIM (building information modelling) market? Simply put, we think that FinalCad perfectly embodies value chain transformation of the construction market, making it the natural partner in this sector with an extremely high attach rate for the solution.
Digitalising the construction sector
To respond more precisely to these questions, we have to go back to the fundamental aspect of the company’s aim: digitalising the construction sector. This in itself is a paradox. On the one hand, the industry is one of the least digitalised, with IT costs (1.0%) that are far from, for example, manufacturing (1.7%). Incidentally, this is probably one of the reasons why this sector’s productivity remains relatively low. But while digitalisation in the construction sector is low, the sector’s clients (real estate managers, contractors) are nevertheless increasingly insisting on digitalised reporting and management, and digital models on the rise mainly due to the sector’s major customers.
In this context, FinalCad is particularly well positioned to take advantage of the new vitality that the sector will experience, as its solution represents the primary vector for increasing operational effectiveness and qualitative efficiency in construction throughout the process. The company’s solution is particularly well suited to the mobility and simplicity needed in real building construction tracking, drastically simplifying communication between the various parties present on the construction site by predicting construction flaws and digitalising the reporting and execution processes. In a low-margin sector with a big human component, the time gains can reach 11% with costs being reduced by up to 7%.
At Aster, we dedicate a lot of effort to identifying, meeting with and selecting the startups which seem to us to be the most promising with the necessary strengths and talented teams, as well as the ability to adapt, pivot and magnify their company’s technological and commercial potential. But we also feel that success is driven by vectors of transformation of value chains and markets, which act as catalysts for sector trends. These forces that often operate on certain markets and these breakthroughs that are often a result of the efforts of young companies can affect all sectors, including so-called traditional sectors in manufacturing and infrastructure like water, energy, transport, materials, food and construction. FinalCad is a particularly clear example of the transformation of a sector which has, for a long time, been considered completely closed off to technological breakthroughs.
A global player
As a key vector in the digitalisation of the sector, FinalCad has considerable potential in terms of international expansion, which is already well underway. Already the French leader in construction sector digitalisation, the company counts among its clients the three largest French groups, which are also among the top ten worldwide. In Asia, FinalCad already has several Asian players as clients, which are managed from the representative office which opened in Singapore in 2015 while supporting Bouygues for the construction site of the SportsHub in this country. Efforts will now be focussed on North America and the rest of the world, and no regulatory barriers or lack of interest are foreseen.
A company at the heart of the digital transformation of a traditional sector and a first-rate team resolutely focussed internationally – these are attributes that fit perfectly with Aster’s model, and the firm seeks to act as a catalyst for venture rounds through an ecosystem of industrial partners providing access to preferred markets, and to facilitate FinalCad’s geographic expansion with support from Aster’s various branches around the world (San Francisco, Beijing, Tel Aviv, Nairobi and Paris).
This is why the entire Aster team extends its congratulations to FinalCad and is making its resources available to help the company and its project move internationally!