In the construction industry, communication between vendors, partners, and internal teams is usually slow and most companies still use certified mail to exchange documents. That might be about to change. Aproplan, a Brussels-based construction team-app raised €5 million in Series A funding. Fortino Capital led the latest round of investment. Other investors include Matexi, Inventures, and the Showpad co-founders Pieterjan Bouten, Louis Jonckheere, and Peter Minne. The startup plans to use the proceeds for sales, marketing, and developing new features of the app.
Digitizing construction industry
Launched in 2012, Aproplan promises to solve two of the pressing problems in the construction industry i.e. time and cost overruns. The industry statistics shared by the startup’s CEO, Thomas Goubau, reveal an abysmal situation of the industry and one that is ripe for disruption. The percentage of construction projects ending up in court is 30%, followed by 80% that exceed the budget and 20% take longer than planned.
To solve the acute problems associated with construction project management, Goubau and his team are digitizing the building project management process. The app, accessible through web browsers, App Store and Google Play can be used by construction managers, architects, contractors, subcontractors, engineers, and clients for real-time information and document exchange. It supports desktop, smartphone, and tablets to ensure workforce mobility.
Industry use cases
Aproplan’s main use cases are document synchronization, workforce mobility, document and project management, business reporting, and offline task management. The app works by developing a central repository of all project documents and communication. Its app interface lets stakeholders upload documents and share them across the internal and external teams of users. The startup boasts 50000+ users and 4000+ customers which include large-scale construction companies BAM, Besix, and CFE that use Aproplan for project management.
Aproplan app has four plans that include basic, pro, expert, and enterprise that are priced at 0€, 29€, 49€, and on-request respectively. It also offers eight weeks trial pack which is a follow-up at the office combined with a follow-up on-site.
Fortino Capital, the lead investor in Aproplan’s latest round of funding is a Belgian venture capital firm whose portfolio consists of SaaS applications such as Slickss, Teamleader, and TrendMiner. Most of Fortino’s portfolio companies are industrial-innovation centric and tend to disrupt the slow-moving industry verticals such as construction, processing, and transport. With its investment in Aproplan’s Series A, the venture capital firm expects to yield big rewards. “We invest in SaaS scale-ups in the Benelux region that are focused on implementing industry-wide innovations,” said Duco Sickinghe, managing partner at Fortino Capital.
Accolades pay off
Aproplan is not a stranger to Belgium’s startup scene. The company was recognized by Deloitte in its list of “Fast Tech 50 for 2016”. Startups.be, a non-profit organization that provides entrepreneurs access to investors, customers, and experts nominated Aproplan for its Scale-up of the Year award in February 2017. The recognition has helped Aproplan forge partnerships one of which was with ADEB-VBA, the Association of Major Belgian Contractors.
Aproplan’s funding seems a good omen for construction-technology (ConTech) companies in Belgium and across Europe and merits a question.
Will ConTech funding follow the suit of Insur- and FinTech verticals that saw massive funding by venture capital firms during the past few years?