Nemetschek acquires dRofus

Nemetschek, the Munich, Germany-based AEC software group which already includes Allplan, Vectorworks, Graphisoft, SCIA, Maxon, Bluebeam (a 2014 deal) and Solibri (acquired almost exactly a year ago), has acquired the Oslo, Norway-based SaaS building data management software vendor dRofus. The deal, announced on 20 December 2016, was valued at NOK220m (c. US$25.5m, £20.8m or €24.2m).

From healthcare to BIM

dRofus was started in 2001 by a Norwegian consultancy, Nosyko, which specialised in hospital planning. It was established as a separate software company around ten years later, in 2011, and subsequently founded wholly-owned subsidiaries in Sweden, the US, and Australia (in March 2016, it announced it would be hosting design guidelines relating to Australian health facilities). The company has 28 employees in North America, Asia Pacific and Europe, with its platform provided in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Dutch and English. Forecast revenues for 2016 were around €4.5m (c. US$4.75m or £3.9m).

Healthcare remains the largest and most important market sector for dRofus, but, as with its competitors in this software sector (eg, the initially less SaaS-y, UK-based Codebook InternationalFebruary 2015 post),* it has expanded into other sectors characterised by high building complexity, including airports, sports stadiums, rail projects, prisons and educational buildings.

Its solutions particularly speed up the management of room data – where details of common fixtures, furnishing and equipment are often repeated numerous times. This has made dRofus a valuable companion to BIM authoring applications (it has plugins to AutoCAD and Revit, PDF and Excel export capabilities, and supports IFC import and export), while its SQL-based SaaS architecture means it can be easily accessed by authorised users across a geographically-dispersed, multi-company, multi-disciplinary team. The dRofus customer base includes public and private building owners, designers, engineers and contractors.

Open BIM

dRofus CEO Rolf Jerving (who I met briefly during the 2015 Digital Construction Week conference; post) said:

We will continue our development of our state-of-the-art connections to both ArchiCAD and Autodesk Revit, with an even stronger focus on supporting open data standards in the industry. We can guarantee all our existing customers even better software and services in the months and years to come. The inclusion in the Nemetschek family of brands, is also a perfect fit to address the needs of building owners more strongly.

Nemetschek is clearly looking to capitalise upon the BIM and building data appetites of informed building owners. dRofus complements other Nemetschek solutions, and the company has already partnered with group companies including Graphisoft, Vectorworks and Solibri.

“dRofus is a perfect strategic fit for the Nemetschek Group,” says Nemetschek spokesman Patrik Heider. “With the commitment to Open BIM, we share the same business paradigm. I am convinced that the well-known presence of the Nemetschek Group can support dRofus in expanding internationally,” adds Heider.

[* Disclosure: CodeBook International was a client between from mid-2011 to early 2013.]

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