San Francisco, California, US-based construction mobile solutions provider PlanGrid has raised $18 million in series A financing to help fuel its growth. As part of the investment deal, Sequoia Capital‘s Doug Leone has joined the PlanGrid board of directors.
In its news release, co-founder and CEO of PlanGrid, Tracy Young says:
“Despite significant gains driven by technology over the past decades, construction is the one industry that has continued to see a decline in productivity. The industry has lacked a platform that could provide the flexibility and user experience of modern applications. Since filling the void with PlanGrid, we’ve seen rapid adoption within the industry, adding hundreds of new customers each month. This investment will allow us to significantly increase our growth and provide more value to our customer base.”
As I described last year (June 2014 post), Plangrid started out as a free, simple-to-use iOS blueprint viewing application for iPad users, and expanded to incorporate management of progress photographs, punchlists (aka defects management, snagging) and tracking and management of requests for information (RFIs). A web-based view of users’ information is also provided, and an Android application soon followed.
According to Plangrid, its “construction collaboration platform has become the world’s largest digital blueprint repository, with more than 20 million blueprints managed in its cloud-based platform.” It says the platform is used on over 200,000 projects worldwide by more than 10,000 customers, including construction firms like Clark Builders Group, Power Designs, and Structure Tone, as well as building owners like Nordstrom, Tishman Speyer, and Sutter Health.
The company emerged from Y Combinator in 2012 and has since secured initial funding from Sequoia Capital, Box, 500 Startups, Y Combinator, Navitas Capital, Google Ventures, Sam Altman, Paul Bucheit, David Sacks, and Professor Raymond Levitt. Sequoia’s Doug Leone says:
“We believe there’s going to be a new generation of successful SaaS companies that are targeted at specific industries. Tracy and her team have built the new clear software leader in the construction industry, which represents an incredibly large market that can’t adopt PlanGrid’s solution fast enough.”
There is clearly investor appetite for mobile construction collaboration solutions. The Plangrid investment echoes New York City-based FieldLens‘s May 2014 $8 million Series A round; six months earlier, Textura acquired Latista for $35m; and another Plangrid competitor, Bluebeam (with a wider solutions portfolio), was acquired by Nemetschek in October 2014 for $100m (post). Other mobile acquisitions include Conject’s Wapp6 deal (January 2014) and, more recently (December 2014), 4Projects’ Priority1 buy (now being branded as Field View).
Over in Europe, at Copenhagen-based GenieBelt (post), founder Gari Nickson says:
“This shows great investor confidence in the industry. PlanGrid have a great product and is by far the best for rendering drawings and communicating on drawings. (But with our new ‘simply simple docs’ we are on track to be there too.)”
By the way, I am not sure that Plangrid is “the world’s largest digital blueprint repository”. Aconex, for example, in its 2014 IPO prospectus, said it was managing over 1.18bn items, a large proportion of which will have been drawings; and it was hosting around 1.4m BIM files (August 2014 figures). And I suspect other mature SaaS vendors such as Viewpoint’s 4Projects, Conject, Think Project! and Asite will have comparable numbers (if you have, perhaps you can share them via the comments?).