Kahua’s US expansion has seen it win a major deal with Balfour Beatty’s US arm, securing business from a customer that used Constructware – originally developed by Kahua’s founders.
In July 2015, I wrote about Alpharetta, Georgia, US-based Platform-as-a-Service business Kahua, co-founded in 2009 by former Constructware executives Scott Unger and Brian Moore. Established in 1994, Constructware was – alongside eBuilder – one of the earliest players in the SaaS construction collaboration market, eventually being bought by Autodesk in February 2006.
Originally called Integrated Lifecycle Solutions (2010 post), Kahua (the name derives from the Hawaiian word for “platform”) also focused on collaboration, but instead of hosting data on behalf of its customers, it developed a platform (incorporating collaboration, workflow, reporting, search and mobility components) that customers could use to build their own applications customised to their own processes.
By the end of 2013, 48 third-party applications had been developed on the Kahua platform. The following year, Kahua released integrated mobile document management apps and was expanding its online store, kStore. And in July 2015, with over 500 customers and having just raised $US7m in Series A funding, it was investing in product development and sales and marketing, targeting building owners and large construction companies. An announcement about the US Clark Construction group’s adoption of Kahua’s PaaS system followed in August 2015.
Fast-forward three years, and Kahua now claims over 2,500 customers ranging from the largest owners and general contractors to small subcontractors. There are now over 50 apps in Kahua’s public kStore and over 600 private applications that have been developed by customers or certified Kahua Partners. Its mainly US-based partners are divided into solutions providers, integration partners, development partners and technology partners (the latter includes firms such as Microsoft, Sage and DocuSign, plus some AEC sector specialists such as PlanGrid – synchronisation between the two solutions was announced in March 2017 – and Bluebeam). In June 2018, Kahua also formally entered into the US FedRAMP compliance process (news release), a vital step for cloud services providers that are interested in expanding into US government markets.
Balfour Beatty US deal
Interestingly, the business more recently announced another major US construction contractor deal that built on the customer’s attachment to the old Constructware solution. Against some stiff competition – including Procore, CMiC and Autodesk – it has added Balfour Beatty‘s Dallas, Texas-based US business to the Kahua network. Well-known also as a major UK contractor (the UK business has a relationship with Reading-based SaaS collaboration vendor GroupBC – see post), the US arm is focused on buildings, heavy civil engineering and development, and is ranked 14th in ENR’s Top Contractors List with $4.6bn in revenues.
Balfour Beatty’s US arm is a Constructware legacy customer and began a selection process in around 2014, but did not pursue this vigorously until late 2017 when I understand Autodesk finally announced end of life for Constructware (rumours of this had been circulating as early as 2009 – see post – and were rekindled in 2015 when ‘project Alexandria’, later Autodesk BIM 360, was launched).
Under the agreement, Balfour Beatty will standardise on Kahua to manage projects throughout its US operations. Kahua says: “The Kahua Network, delivered as an Application Platform as a Service, will connect Balfour Beatty with its customers and supply chains, allowing applications, business processes and information to be shared across organizations to more effectively manage the entire lifecycle of their capital assets.”