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Design-focused software company Autodesk has made its second construction industry acquisition in a month, announcing that it has agreed to buy BuildingConnected, a platform that helps property owners and contractors procure bids and qualify vendors. The deal is worth $275 million (net of cash acquired).
The news follows last month’s announcement that Autodesk had agreed to buy PlanGrid, a productivity software company for the construction industry, in an $875 million deal. Incidentally, Autodesk closed the PlanGrid deal earlier today. Autodesk also acquired construction software company Assemble Systems back in July.
Autodesk sells a range of computer-aided design (CAD) software products, with clients spanning architecture, engineering, manufacturing, and construction. With these acquisitions, it’s clear the company is doubling down on efforts to push beyond design and into the broader start-to-finish project cycle.
“We are investing in digitizing and automating construction workflows — Autodesk’s goal is to connect construction processes across design, build, and operations,” Autodesk CEO Andrew Anagnost said in a press release. “BuildingConnected has proven to customers the tremendous value in moving from traditional rolodexes, whiteboards, emails, and spreadsheets to an easy-to-use digital bidding platform.”
The construction sphere is not renowned for its efficiency — a 2016 McKinsey report noted that the industry ranks among the lowest in terms of productivity, which the study put down to a lack of digitization. This is one of the reasons a number of players have made big moves to transform the $10 trillion construction industry.
Founded out of San Francisco in 2012, BuildingConnected set out to streamline the preconstruction phase of building work through software that helps all relevant parties procure bids, vet vendors, and more. The platform includes a customer relationship management (CRM) database to consolidate bids, while it also integrates with third-party calendar apps to help manage appointments and schedules.
BuildingConnected has raised nearly $53 million since its inception, including a $22 million tranche last year. And many other startups are jostling to disrupt the industry, such as Paris-based Finalcad, which serves up a range of software and analytics products to help construction companies manage processes and glean insights — and which raised $40 million just last week. Another startup, called OpenSpace, has developed a Street View-style technology that taps helmet-mounted cameras to capture footage from construction sites and chart building progress.
For Autodesk, acquiring BuildingConnected means it now has a stronger preconstruction software suite, covering risk analysis and bid procurement.
“Bid management is a critical step in preconstruction, since bidding is the genesis of construction projects,” added BuildingConnected cofounder and CEO Dustin DeVan. “Our game-changing suite of preconstruction tools are saving customers time and money.”
Autodesk has been a public company for more than 30 years, and its shares have enjoyed something of a surge since previous CEO Carl Bass stepped down in February 2017. In the months since, its shares have jumped more than 60 percent to $130.
Autodesk said the BuildingConnected acquisition is expected to close by the end of January 2019.
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