Established in Belgium in 2012 but now spreading its European operations more widely (the UK, Germany and the Netherlands are among the early targets), AproPlan markets itself as “the construction software that lets you keep track of your progress and collaborate with your team.”
I met AproPlan’s CEO Thomas Goubau when he visited London in January, accompanied by experienced UK sales manager Nick Pruce (ex-4Projects and Docia). Goubau has a consulting background, including time at BT, and started out by trying to create “Outlook for the construction sector.” He soon realised this was “completely wrong” and decided to focus on what he saw as the industry’s key needs: open and transparent communication via a simple interface.
Mobile process management
Local competition relating to process management or workflow tools was limited (he mentioned France’s Finalcad, US-based Plangrid, and the UK’s SnagR), and AproPlan didn’t want to enter the feature-rich document collaboration space market then dominated by players such as Conject or ThinkProject, so Goubau’s business is focused on workflow in the field. In my view similar in some respects to KyKloud (post), maybe also Dome’s iSnag/Dome Connect and Zutec (post), AproPlan supports asset owners and managers and their professional teams engaged in repetitive data recording tasks; Goubau cited the example of a pharmaceutical business which has now integrated AproPlan with its SAP system to help manage asset management and compliance processes.
However, it can also be applied by contractors and professional services businesses (the company’s website highlights processes or reports for architects and engineers, for example) and to subcontractors to manage common checklist-based processes (Goubau repeatedly summarised the offering as “What, where and when”) such as snagging, health and safety, security and environmental inspections, as well as some basic document management. Firms can also manage access rights so that some process information might only be viewable by employees of their business.
Contractors BAM and CFE were among early AproPlan adopters in Belgium, Goubau said (“BAM use us for process management, checklists and snagging”). Such customers can then invite members of their supply chains to use the cloud-based system (hosted in Europe on Microsoft’s Azure platform), but he is keen to build relationships with asset owners/operators (like the ‘big pharma’ corporate) who might make AproPlan mandatory across their projects.
Like many mobile SaaS solutions, the application’s pricing model starts with a free ‘taster’ option; beyond this, Pro and Expert plans are priced at €29 and €49 per user per calendar month respectively, with Enterprise plans priced according to customer needs and including API facilities for integration with other enterprise solutions. Goubau described the 30-strong company’s product strategy as “Mobile and API first,” with support for iOS and Android devices; AproPlan is also working on back-end integrations with vendors of what he regards as complementary tools – for example, Denmark’s GenieBelt (post), fellow Belgian businesses Chapoo and ProjectLibrary, and FM solution Archibus – and potentially with the providers of common data environments used for managing building information modelling (BIM) data.
In January, Goubau said AproPlan had 48,000 users from 3,500 different customer organisations, many of whom started with a modest level of adoption, but then grew in terms of both functionality and number of users (he called AproPlan’s adoption strategy “Land and expand“). Total project value he put at around €10bn, with AproPlan currently generating around €1.5m in recurring revenues, and moving “from startup to scale-up” with a funding round in progress (underlining this transition, AproPlan last week finished second in the “Scale-up of the year” category of Belgium’s Tech Start Up Day Awards).