US-based FieldLens gets funding boost to grow adoption of its social construction collaboration platform
FieldLens, the New York City, US-based developer of a mobile field management tool for the construction industry, today announced that it had raised $8 million in capital in a Series A round led by Boston-based OpenView Venture Partners. The financing will help FieldLens accelerate product adoption while continuing to develop new features for its users.
Launched commercially in March 2014, FieldLens is a mobile field management app designed to help construction professionals effectively document, assign and manage site issues online using any smartphone, tablet or the Web. As I wrote in March, it is one of the first mobile-based tools I’ve seen which sets out to apply social media technologies to the construction industry.
In my view, also expressed on the FieldLens blog in March, too many systems simply replicate email-based notifications and processes rather than capitalising on the real-time capabilities of social and mobile platforms; also, arguably, adopting a mobile-first, social-savvy development strategy (fellow start-up Geniebelt has a similar perspective – post) has to be better than retrofitting ‘social’ to an existing old-school system (see preceding Exo post).
About the deal, FieldLens CEO Doug Chambers said:
“Our partnership with OpenView is a crucial step toward helping us achieve our goal of providing construction professionals with a mobile solution that will optimize efficiency where it’s needed most – right on the jobsite. All construction professionals, no matter what their role on the project team, have incredibly demanding jobs. They deserve access to technology that will make their day-to-day easier, and we are now poised to provide them with a tool that will truly serve their needs.”
Boosting SaaS adoption
The financing will help FieldLens accelerate product adoption (I am not sure if this will include internationalising and marketing the product outside north America) while continuing to develop new features for users. I am encouraged that a major emphasis will be placed on “developing virtual onboarding and coaching tools for customers.”
Some SaaS platforms, particularly those already targeting collaboration in the architecture, engineering and construction sector, are sold by direct sales teams and involve consultancy support before they can be implemented. This negates some of the economies of scale and economies of skill delivered by a SaaS approach when compared to conventional on-premise software; applications which are not easy to implement and intuitive to use hinders adoption, slows the sales process, retards revenue growth and can increase customer ‘churn’.
Planned new features focus on best practices to maximise site productivity, including analytics tools to help customers better understand the overall health of their projects and evaluate the effectiveness of project partners, along with tools specifically designed to help trade subcontractors build more efficiently. OpenView founder and senior managing director Scott Maxwell said:
“OpenView invests in B2B software companies that we believe can dramatically influence profitability and efficiency of particular market segments. That’s why we are excited to partner with FieldLens, a company that’s bringing a game-changing solution to the construction industry – a massive market that’s only beginning to benefit from the efficiencies that come with access to better technology.”
The investment round also includes participation from existing investors including Softbank Capital, High Peaks Venture Partners, Lerer Ventures, Contour Venture Partners, Borealis Ventures, and NYC Seed.
(Note: apologies for poor performance of the ExtranetEvolution site in recent days – caused by a server problem at my hosting provider.)