Conject acquires AEC mobile specialist, Wapp6

SaaS construction collaboration provider Conject acquires Paris-based mobile AEC app developer, Wapp6.

Wapp6 - logoConjectThe Anglo-German SaaS construction collaboration technology provider Conject has acquired a French mobile software specialist Wapp6, based in Paris, allowing it to extend its capabilities to include dedicated inspection and defects management via iPad, Android and Windows mobile platforms. No value for the deal has been announced.

According to Conject:

With core competencies in developing mobile applications combined with intimate knowledge of the real estate and construction sectors, Wapp6 is the market leader in inspection and defects management solutions in France, with 30,000 active users and rapid growth over the past five years. The merger creates opportunities for both companies: Wapp6 can now offer Conject products in France, and Conject can offer Wapp6 products around the world.

Ralf Haendl, the recently appointed Conject CEO (announcing a deal begun by his predecessor Colin Smith), commented:

Conject is a globally renowned enterprise with 11 offices worldwide. The acquisition of Wapp6 continues our expansion, brings us into the French market and adds innovative, high-end software solutions for inspection and defects management to further enhance our mobile and cloud-based portfolio.”

Franck Meudec, CEO of Wapp6, commented:

Conject is a market leader in software for the construction and real estate industries, and the unique expertise of their consultancy and service team convinced us that they are the right partner for us. The bonus is that Conject provides a global route-to-market for our applications. We have tested an English version of our defects management application with numerous Conject customers and are excited by the enthusiastic reactions received. The first UK customer will go live in the next week, and we will be offering our products in additional languages later in the year.”

Conject’s existing cloud-based software portfolio includes project control, cost management, document control and facilities management. By acquiring Wapp6, its first major deal since it bought UK-based BIW Technologies in December 2010, it adds a cloud and mobile-based inspection and defects management suite (something which BIW had itself separately developed for PDA devices in 2006), and enhances its mobile computing competencies. In my view (see also 2014: year of mobile?), Conject had been lagging behind its competitors in delivering mobile capabilities, so this deal starts to close the gap; Conject’s website already includes a page on “Inspection and Defects Management application OPR6”.

Franck MeudecWapp6

Founded by Frank Meudec, right, in April 2009, Wapp6 has some 20 employees and over 400 customers including Societe Generale, BNP Paribas Real Estate, and Credit Agricole. If the name of its founder sounds familiar, it’s perhaps because he was previously (2003-2008) with BuildOnline (MD southern EMEA in 2006), later CTSpace and Sword CTSpace (well before its November 2011 acquisition by iDox and merger into McLaren Software), so he will be very familiar with the European SaaS construction collaboration sector.

In October 2010, Melbourne, Australia-based collaboration vendor and Conject competitor Aconex signed a deal with Wapp6 to provide sales, marketing and advisory services to facilitate the expansion of Aconex in France. That deal has presumably since lapsed; instead, Wapp6 will help Conject grow in the French market, while extending its reach in Conject’s core UK and mainland European markets.

Update (30 January 2014) – Conject has today published an interview with Franck Meudec on its blog, while some of his new UK colleagues have been tweeting iPad screengrabs from the new Conject Mobile reporting tools.

Conject Mobile defects reporting

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    • Nick Sansome on 27 January 2014 at 3:22 pm

    im not sure “it closes the gap”, with our other significant ILM strengths it sets conject apart and gives them advantages others are a long way from achieving,

  1. Thanks, Nick. I think the market view was that Conject was lagging behind on mobile tools. Once the mobile capability becomes more well-known that sentiment may well disappear.

    ILM is a strong aspect of the company’s offering, though it’s not an abbreviation frequently used in the UK currently, so there is an education task there. The launch of the SaaS FM offering and the BIM toolset will also go a long way to showing that Conject has a comprehensive whole-life platform, but the market perception of Conject’s “advantages” in relation to competitors will take time.

    Best wishes – Paul

    • Duncan Kneller on 27 January 2014 at 7:18 pm

    Hi Paul I would agree that having been one of the first, if not the first provider to market with a mobile solution some 7 or 8 years ago we have appeared to be slow to react to the requirements for field working. However this is because we wanted to bring a fully developed and well proven solution to market rather than future promises of development. We are implementing the OPR6 solution on projects in the UK this week so this is no development project. I believe this is a step ahead of the market where providers are either ‘partnering’ with no prospect of an integrated solution or evolving apps slowly. Saying nothing doesn’t necessarily mean we are doing nothing! Duncan kneller – Conject

  2. The rapid roll-out shows, I think, that considerable marketing of the mobile platform has already been done within Conject’s current customer base, demonstrating to them that it is mature and capable of supporting existing Conject functionality immediately with perhaps more to come in the future.

    Nonetheless, the perception among some clients, contractors and consultants has been that competitors such as Aconex, Asite and 4Projects were ahead in the mobile apps game. From a Conject perspective, today’s announcement will hopefully start to convince some of them otherwise.

    Only time will tell whether acquiring mobile expertise is better than alternative approaches like ‘partnering’, growing internal expertise, or providing an app development platform-as-a-service.

    Regards – Paul

    • Duncan Kneller on 27 January 2014 at 7:52 pm

    Hi Paul. Sorry my reply overlapped your response to nick’s comments. I don’t think there is anything wrong with partnering by the way as long as it leads to a streamlined process for users. Otherwise it’s still just standalone point solutions – a point you raised in a blog a week or so ago.

    In terms of ILM – we have wrestled with this one internally but it is a term that best describes our capabilities for supporting owners and their service providers in every aspect of their assets life cycles from operation, planning, design, construction, commissioning and operation. We see BIM and field working as important components in this process but underlining all of this is the control required to deliver projects and usable facilities successfully.

    The launch of FM SaaS in the UK later this year will compliment our project control and property file solutions leaving us well placed to offer support for any part of the Infrastructure Lifecycle Management process. There are not too many other ‘project extranet’ providers in the AEC space that can make and deliver against such a claim.

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