Germany’s ILM SaaS specialist Conject Group grows revenues 14% in 2013 to reach €20M (£16.6m) milestone.
Munich, Germany-based SaaS construction and real estate software vendor Conject has announced that it grew its revenues 14% to €20 million [£16.6m or $27.6m] in 2013. It also achieved some €25 million [£21m or $34m] in new orders. New customers included retailers Karstadt and ECE, manufacturer Caterpillar, and highways organisation E-Plus in Germany, Unicredit Bank, the ÖAMTC and the Post Office in Austria, the new FIFA 2018 stadiums in Russia, and – in the UK – London Heathrow Airport (Conject is being used by the team working on Terminal 2) and Birmingham City Council. I am told the group is profitable (“the focus is on increasing profitability”), but the group does not release specific profit numbers.
Ralf Haendl, group CEO, said:
“The healthy growth of all regions in 2013 shows that the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) sector is recovering well worldwide, and that CONJECT strategy of growth through acquisition and internal investment is solving the collaboration needs of clients. In 2014 we will continue providing a comprehensive ILM offering especially the extension of our worldwide, location and time zone independent service as well as the extension of our portfolio through acquisition and partnership. We will focus on meeting industry needs including for mobile apps, SaaS and BIM solutions.”
‘Hub’ growth strategy
I asked UK MD Steve Cooper about the results and he highlighted the expansion in infrastructure-related work: “In the late 2000s, I’d say 90% of our work related to buildings, but it’s now about 50%, with the other 50% associated with airports, highways, bridges and utilities,” he said. This expansion is not just in the UK, but in other regional markets; Steve highlighted orders in 2013 in New Zealand from energy and water clients (eg: Meridian and Watercare). He had also noticed a sharp upturn in the Middle East: “orders in Dubai were up 100% on the previous year” (Jumeirah Village was a recent project win there).
However, as a group, Australasia and the Middle East are not what Steve described as “hub markets”. Its key hubs are currently all in Europe: Germany, the UK and France, and from each of these hubs various satellite operations – Russia and Singapore, for example – are being developed with a view to them becoming hubs in due course. Conject has long experience of the Russian market through its work for clients Lendlease and Mace (it is working with the latter on a major urban development project in St Petersburg, for example), and while its southeast Asian operation is more recent, Steve said it is “growing rapidly”. The group will not be speculatively investing in new markets, he said.
BIM for ILM
Continuing to position itself as a provider of Infrastructure Lifecycle Management (ILM) services (it was using the term when I first interviewed company staff in 2009), Conject says it is expanding its portfolio of SaaS tools, mobile apps (it acquired French mobile business Wapp6 in late 2013 – post) and support for building information modelling (BIM).
It will also be starting a ‘soft launch’ in the UK of its SaaS FM application during Q2 of 2014 with a formal launch of the toolset in Q3.
A similar timescale is associated with the roll-out of its BIM capabilities, where the group is keen to differentiate itself by adopting an asset-focused perspective to BIM in line with its ILM ethos. Steve told me Conject has joined BuildingSMART and remains active on the BIM Technologies Alliance, and he attended a recent meeting hosted by BIM Task Group chairman Mark Bew where the UK’s journey beyond 2016 ‘Level 2’ towards ‘Level 3’ BIM was discussed. While many industry folk are focused mainly on BIM for design and construction (see his recent Conject blog post), Steve feels Conject’s ILM approach fits well with asset-centric approaches such as ‘Soft Landings’ and the long-term reuse of data throughout the operational life of a built asset.