thinkproject acquires German CDE specialist Conclude

Construction and engineering SaaS provider thinkproject has acquired fellow German CDE specialist Conclude, adding 5D BIM capability to the group’s portfolio.

thinkproject logoMunich-based Software-as-a-Service construction collaboration technology provider thinkproject has acquired 100% of fellow German common data environment (CDE) specialist Conclude GmbH (read announcement). No deal value has been disclosed.

Conclude logoBased in Wuppertal near Dusseldorf, Conclude has a strong asset-owner customer base, plus extensive expertise in project cost management . Thinkproject says the acquisition broadens its customer base, as well as offering additional capabilities to owner-operators and general contractors within the group’s product portfolio.

Conclude has specialised in SaaS applications and supporting services for major construction and engineering projects since 2002. It draws on expertise developed at Dortmund’s Fraunhofer Institute for Software and Systems Engineering. The Conclude platform currently has over 100,000 users working on over 2,000 projects, with a total capital value of more than €300 billion (c. £270bn or US$330bn) in 38 countries. Blue-chip customers include ABB, BMW, Continental, Mercedes, Roche, Siemens and UBS.

Conclude’s suite includes more than 25 application modules; e.g. tools for BIM, design and document management, common industry workflows and reporting functions, and importantly – cost management.

thinkproject Concludes deal

After succeeding founder Thomas Bachmaier in May 2019, thinkproject CEO Gareth Burton says:

Gareth Burton (think project! CEO)“We continue to execute our strategic plan to become the leading Construction Intelligence platform for asset owners and general contractors. thinkproject has leading BIM capabilities for both design (3D) and project schedules and sequencing (4D). By acquiring Conclude, we enhance our cost management with a leading cost management solution, offering further 5D capability to the group product set, while deepening our relationships with major international asset owner-operators delivering some of the world’s most demanding engineering and construction projects.”

Conclude cost controlConclude was founded by Drees & Sommer, Marco Lehmbach and Peter Kaul to offer innovative and practical software tools for demanding construction projects. Conclude founder and managing director Lehmbach says:

“Our clients will benefit from the strong international presence and broad product portfolio of thinkproject, including BIM, contract management and mobile technologies. Indeed, this product portfolio complements very well our platform. The combined 5D solution will be even more attractive to our existing customers, and an even more compelling offer to new customers, particularly owner-operators looking to optimise whole life asset value.”

Kaul adds:

“We are delighted to become integrated within thinkproject. Conclude will benefit from the experience and structures of thinkproject’s international business. Our joining forces has created a strong an even stronger solution for digital transformation which will further support our customers both in Germany and worldwide.”

Thinkproject says the two companies share a strong belief in SaaS and the virtues of ‘open BIM’: creating and maintaining interoperable software solutions where the data is not hindered in proprietary formats – an important capability when owners will need to reuse information throughout the life cycles of their built assets.

Steffen Szeidl, member of the management board of funding partner Drees & Sommer SE, said:

“Conclude was our first start-up where we turned our joint business ideas into IT solutions. To grow further in international markets and appeal to new customer segments, we decided to sell our share. We are delighted to join thinkproject, Europe’s leading construction and engineering SaaS provider. We will, of course, continue to champion the use of Conclude in our projects over the coming years.”

Burton continues:

“Following on from the March 2019 acquisition of ceapoint GmbH and its DESITE 4D BIM toolset, the thinkproject group has now been additionally strengthened by Conclude’s ca. 40-strong specialist team in Wuppertal, which brings even more best practices experience and resources to our teams. As BIM adoption continues to grow around the globe, we believe our expanded suite of open, integrated SaaS solutions will be increasingly attractive to a growing number of international customers across the built environment lifecycle.”

The Extranet Evolution view

In a building information modelling (BIM) context, this deal adds 5D capability to (freshly rebranded – news release) thinkproject’s SaaS product portfolio, complementing the UK-developed CEMAR contract management functionality added in May 2018 (post), and will make it more competitive against platforms already offering 5D functionality. The deal will also help fulfill thinkproject’s 2019 ambitions to grow both organically and by acquisition (see think project! set to expand).

Most notably in a German context, these competitors include RIB Software (which has been busy building its international reach, with 2019 deals in India, South Africa, the US and the UK, while aiming to grow its SaaS user base ten-fold in 2019) but also the US’s Oracle Aconex (see Connected Cost – Aconex’s game-changer?), Autodesk (see Autodesk BIM360 embracing 5D) and Trimble Viewpoint (see What next for Trimble’s SaaS platforms?) and Viewpoint launches ViewpointOne strategy).

Drees & Sommer employed Ralf Händl who in January 2014 took over as CEO of the Anglo-German SaaS construction collaboration technology provider Conject (see Ralf Händl takes over at Conject), in March 2016 acquired by Aconex (see Aconex acquires Conject). The thinkproject deal marks further consolidation in the European SaaS CDE market just as BIM becomes increasingly important as the foundation for digitalisation of the sector. The apparent adoption of Conclude by owner-operators is a another plus point in a still cost-conscious industry where leading players are increasingly talking about Industry 4.0 and digital twins (see Bentley pushes ‘Digital Twin’ into AEC mainstream).

[* Disclosure: I have provided marketing consultancy services to thinkproject.]

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