BuildOnline’s UK downward drift

Partly out of historical interest, I continue to monitor the company reporting of BuildOnline, a construction collaboration technology vendor which is now part of the French-owned Sword Group, today trading as Sword CTSpace and offering a portfolio of products from former offerings BuildOnline, Citadon and, more recently, Cimage.

BuildOnline (UK) Ltd’s Annual Report and Accounts for the nine months to 31 December 2007 were filed at Companies House earlier this summer and show that the troubled vendor continued the decline evidenced in its previous report (see BuildOnline UK revises past performance – among other related posts, below):

  • Revenues for the nine months were £1.511m (compared to £2.39m for the preceding 12 months)
  • Operating losses were cut dramatically, to £84k (compared to £639k for the previous 12 month period); pre-tax loss was given as £77k
  • Average employee headcount over the period more than halved, from 26 to 12

In its December 2007 report, BuildOnline Global Ltd, the holding company of BuildOnline (UK) Ltd, summarises the losses sustained in all subsidiaries. The total loss in 2007 was just under £1.8m:

  • BuildOnline (UK) Ltd – £77k
  • (France) SARL – €1.305m
  • BuildOnline (Germany) GmbH – €0.514m
  • BuildOnline Ireland Ltd – €7,522
  • Infotechno Baudatenbank GmbH (Austria) – €0.137m

BuildOnline was one of the early pace-setters in the UK market but it faltered and was soon languishing some distance behind [my former employer] BIW and 4Projects (see also previous post), and now being overtaken by other vendors:

Blasts from the past

Former BuildOnline CEO, Mark Suster – now a venture capitalist in California – has been giving some refreshingly honest insights into the early days of BuildOnline through various blog posts. I recently noted his account of losing a deal with UK water utility Thames Water (see I HATE LOSING!), and his description of the stresses of the early 2000s (Start-ups are all Naked in the Mirror) is good reading too – particularly to those, like BIW, who were competing with BuildOnline in the UK market at the time.

Update (14 September 2009): More on the early BuildOnline days from Mark Suster here.

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1 ping

    • Quora on 9 April 2012 at 6:57 pm

    Who are some examples of consulting professionals who have transitioned to successful Startups?…

    I’m not sure I’d consider Mark and George to be examples of people who transitioned from consulting to successful startups (and neither, I imagine, would they). – Mark left Accenture to become CEO of BuildOnline, which raised tens of millions and eve…

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