Interview with FINALCAD
How can you get the best overview of a construction site? FINALCAD is a global strategic partner, which helps construction companies go fully digital with their field activities. The FINALCAD app simplifies the life of workers on location. The founders are people of building technologies, mathematics and digitalization. Strong in three competences, they created a corporation with the aim of digitising and facilitating knowledge transmission on construction sites. As a result, their app standardizes all field processes in order to capitalise on best practice. Additionally it keeps the (as-built) digital model alive on-site and facilitates the collaboration between different stakeholders. In this interview Christophe des Dorides, VP Alliances & Channel Sales, talks about FINALCAD's business model, regional differences in the construction industry, and the importance of change management in digital processes.
This interview is part of a larger dossier called " Construction Start-up Radar".
- What will the construction industry look like in 2020? What role does digitalization play?
Talking about general contractors in the construction industry, within two to three years, early adopters will have completed their digital transformation plan and will be experiencing full benefits of their solutions, which will give them a true differentiator compared to others; their industry processes will have been digitized for the entire construction cycle. Everybody involved – as project directors, team leaders, individual workers and subcontractors – will start feeling the impact of this standardization process comparable to other industries.
Practically, new technologies like VR/AR, drone data collection and crane management will start becoming widely adopted and increase interest for overall data collection, management and analysis. Digitization will enable creation and implementation of control processes with benchmarks, predictive analytics and a real memory heritage of construction companies. Data collected at field level will enable highly detailed analysis of operations and Artificial Intelligence will generate huge productivity gains.
- What is your business model? What makes you and your company unique?
FINALCAD is a unique partner for construction companies. It supports them to go fully digital in the field. With complete software capabilities, the companies are enabled to track progress, master quality controls and manage defects easily. Additionally, advanced analytics enhance decision-making at every management level. Over the past few years, FINALCAD has developed strong experience in change management, which is essential to ensure a quick and succesful deployment of digital devices within an organisation. FINALCAD has great success with this model in Europe, Asia and Latin America. The company has raised USD 22 million so far and now employs more than 130 people.
- What is your company vision (5 years)?
Generally speaking, jobs will have changed positively to much increased productivity with an aim at answering ever growing needs for urban developments. We will see IT companies appearing as new players along with traditional general contractors for managing smart cities or green villages which are entirely digitized. Data which were until recently collected by people will be collected by internet connected objects making IoT a reality. Construction processes will have become very industrialized in a move comparable to supply chain in other industries, modifying relationships between general contractors and manufacturers to the great benefit of end users – the inhabitants.
FINALCAD will have become a digital data exchange and management platform for general contractors and manufacturers, giving them an unmatched level of understanding of their customers' expectations and the means to answer these like never before. All employees will see their digital skills grow, reducing turnover and increasing their value on the market. Knowhow will be much better shared and secured within companies. We will have convinced a decisive number of world construction companies, as well as large accounts in such industries as energy, transportation and facilitiy management and concessions, becoming the reference standard for monitoring the lifecycles of all sorts of constructions.
- What does your revenue model look like?
Our revenue model is a company subscription based on the cumulated value of customer projects. It’s calculated as a percentage of the project cost as provided by the customer.
- How is your company funded?
We already raised USD 22 million in series A and series B, and are actively supported by three venture capitalists - comprising Serena Capital, Aster Capital and CapHorn Invest. A third series, C, is planned for the first half of 2018.
- As a startup, what is your next goal? What partners do you need?
Our goal is to reach USD 100 million revenue by 2020. We believe that we will achieve this by a solid global sales and delivery execution plan, implementing an indirect sales model to accelerate our global coverage and possibly start a M&A strategy.
- Who are your key clients among construction companies?
We are involved in multiple projects in Europe and Asia in applications like buildings, roads, railways and bridges. Among our 1000 clients of owners, developers, architects and general contractors are companies like Eiffage, Bouygues, Vinci, Shimizu and Daewoo.
- Do you also have key clients within real estate companies?
This is coming in a big way, particularly in Asia. But we cannot disclose customer-names at this time. There are very large projects are under negotiations, with projects budget going up to USD 150 billion.
- And within other fields?
Currently we are investigating in the fields of oil and gas, energy, mining and insurance. Discussions are underway in South America and Canada.
- What are the biggest challenges your clients are currently facing?
Generally it is about restoring margins and creating a more complete value proposition. This goal can be achieved by building with better quality, higher effiency and optimized calculations. Yet challenges vary from region to region: In Asia and South America our customers engage in huge projects - very quickly and at a good quality level. In Japan it’s about replacing aging and decreasing workforce by efficient processes. In Europe our customers are facing a decreasing productivity issue due to ever increasing numerous environmental and social requirements.
- What options do you offer to potential clients to face their challenges - like workshops or coachings?
We offer our key-customers a partnership in three steps to diagnoze their digitization maturity level with a proof of concept during a limited period. At the end we make a detailed analysis of benefits. When they are happy - which is almost always the case - we propose that they deploy the solution across their organisation, with a mix of business process and areas, which could be a geographic or business unit. Then they can do a second analysis on a much larger scope of data. At the end we support customers to set standards with us as part of a true digital transformation plan. By the way - we are looking for strategic partners to help us accelerate this process. At this time we are the only one in the global market to offer this kind of plan and who have the people resources to drive it efficiently at a global scale.
- What prerequisites - such as infrastructure, trained personnel or else - do your clients need to bring?
The good news is that everything is there, or is really quick to deploy. Of course tablets or smartphones are required. Customers need to invest a little money and a few resources in order to start the plan. There must be a real-case project, a project manager and training for users. It’s very simple and can be organized quickly. Since our software is mobile, users just download it from the web and can start quickly after having been trained. There is no complex IT deployment needed. The key-issue is that the people involved - from our and the customer's side - drive user adoption and measure benefits.
Name: Christophe des Dorides
Number of employees: 130+
Founding year: 2011
Location: Headquarter in Paris; Subsidiaries in Singapore and Tokyo; Local partners in South Korea, China, Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia, Japan and Peru
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