European Contech Startup Raises Giant Series A To Revolutionise Construction Management


Contech is a firm favorite of this column, both because my day job is in construction and because it is bringing change at breakneck speed to the most laggard part of the real estate value chain. We have already looked at its stunning growth and the effects it is having on the construction industry. Most of the big players in the Contech space are US-based, such as Katerra and Procore, but Europe has its fair share of extremely promising upstarts.

One such startup is announcing a very significant funding event, which they agreed to be interviewed about exclusively for this column. PlanRadar, a leading Vienna-based SaaS solution for digital documentation and communication in construction and real estate projects, has closed an impressive €30milion Series A round. The founders wouldn’t share the company’s exact post-money valuation but told me that after the raise it is in the nine digits.

New York-based Insight Partners led the round. Thomas Krane, Principal at Insight Partners, told me that they chose to invest because:

“Our team were first introduced to PlanRadar in 2018 and were immediately impressed with the scrappy DNA of a close-knit group of founders with highly complementary skill sets and unique domain expertise. We quickly gained an appreciation for their efficient and effective approach to execution – they proudly brag about not wasting money on frivolous expenses and maintain a maniacal focus on building the best product possible for their market, which is still dominated by pen and paper. By joining forces with Insight, PlanRadar will leverage our ScaleUp expertise to hone their product-led growth at an international scale and bring the construction and facilities maintenance industries into the digital age.”

Thomas Krane, Principal at Insight Partners

Back in 2013, Domagoj Dolinsek, a site engineer, realized there was an enormous opportunity for whoever found a viable, fast and easy to use alternative to pen and paper records on-site. He joined forces with co-founders Clemes Hammerl, Constantin Köck, Ibrahim Imam and Sander van de Rijdt and, in 2014, they officially launched PlanRadar. The founders’ goal was to build an easy to use and quickly adoptable product, as well as a good company with a sustainable business, which had a focus on capital efficiency.

For this reason, PlanRadar has mostly grown using its own cash flow, and only raised a small one million Euro round in 2017… until today. Imam and van de Rijdt explained to me that the company has tripled its revenue for the past five years (every year since launch) and indeed could be profitable today if they weren’t so focused on expanding geographically and scaling their commercial offering. The large Series A funding round was raised specifically for the purpose of faster growth and to expand the product offering. 

At present, PlanRadar has clients in over 45 countries, though the majority are still in mainland Europe. With this raise, the founders intend to invest in increasing their presence in areas they are new to, as well as serve existing customers better in regions where they already have significant traction. Van de Rijdt shared that, “With this capital, we continue our push towards global expansion. For the rest of 2020, we will press on with establishing territories across the world, including mainland Europe, Russia, and Australia. We’re on a mission to completely change the industry and this brings us just one step closer.” The company plans to scale up its operations in Russia, Sweden, France, and Poland in the first half of 2020, with Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, the UAE and Australia its targets for the second half of the year.

PlanRadar currently has 95 staff and wants to hire 62 more off the back of its fundraise, to fill positions in marketing, sales, and product development.

So, what exactly does it do?

In short, it is a platform that allows site staff and all project stakeholders to keep track of what is going on on-site. It is mobile and cloud-based, which makes it simple to use and doesn’t require the installation of any programs, therefore removing barriers to implementation. It allows for easy ticketing (inclusive of photos, text and voice memos) and communication, as tickets can be assigned directly to the person responsible, who receives an automatic notification. All tickets are timestamped and linked to their location on digital plans of the project, which are accessible via mobile on site. 

With the funds from this raise, the company plans to develop features such as geolocation, which is useful for infrastructure projects where the scale of the plans is significantly larger, as well as a BIM feature designed to bridge the gap between planning and management. Most of the time, even when projects are planned in BIM, site staff require 2d plans to work with, so projects are managed with conventional methods and the as-built in BIM is built out at the end. The PlanRadar BIM integration will allow construction teams to track information as they are used to, and in the background, the platform will convert the data and feed it into the BIM model. Thus, the BIM model will be the automatic central repository for all site information, allowing for one model to be used all the way through and saving contractors a significant expense. According to Imam, “With every year, our product offering evolves to answer the industry’s needs and 2020 will be no different. We’re going to put the PlanRadar stamp on how BIM is used on construction sites.”

Since the company is constantly collecting very granular data on its customers’ work, it is also investing in the study of the value-adding features it can provide clients off the back of their data. The possibilities are exciting, but the study is still in its earliest stages. 

The secret to PlanRadar’s success – the company claims to have saved its customers a collective €500 million across Europe and over seven hours in admin time per week and plans to grow by 8,000 new customers in 2020 – is that it has an easy-to-use product that just makes sense. They are doing a great job at providing a deceptively simple platform that doesn’t require training and immediately delivers value, ensuring that it doesn’t end up gathering metaphorical dust because site staff actually want to use it! I am very interested to see what they come up with in their data research project and am personally planning to implement PlanRadar on-site on some of my projects.



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