Asite has made its first major acquisition under CEO Nathan Doughty, buying one of the UK’s most innovative independent construction software developers, 3D Repo.
Independent London, UK-based Software-as-a-Service construction collaboration technology developer Asite has announced (5 April 2023) the acquisition of 3D Repo, also London-based, and a pioneer in cloud-based BIM collaboration software. Asite says the deal (no value disclosed) “brings together two innovative companies with complementary technologies and expertise, with the aim of driving digitisation in construction to new heights”.
The 3D Repo acquisition strengthens Asite’s position in the digital engineering market, providing customers with advanced tools to manage the entire construction lifecycle. Asite’s platform includes solutions for project management, supply chain management, and data management for assets. The addition of 3D Repo’s innovative technology will enhance and strengthen these capabilities further.
Asite CEO Nathan Doughty (above right) talked to Extranet Evolution in June 2020 about the company’s interest in acquisitions (Nathan Doughty’s new Asite era), after succeeding Tony Ryan as CEO. He envisaged buying businesses to help Asite grow into regions and build its market share. On the 3D Repo acquisition he said:
“We are delighted to welcome 3D Repo to the Asite family. The acquisition of 3D Repo is a strategic move that aligns with our commitment to provide cutting-edge solutions for the construction industry. Their innovative technology, combined with our existing solutions, will enable us to offer customers even more powerful and effective digital engineering tools. We are excited about the opportunities that this acquisition will bring.”
3D Repo’s R&D-led back story
3D Repo has been an increasingly prominent player in the UK BIM space. In 2015 it had started developing an open-source BIM platform to enable better collaboration on construction projects (post). As part of his doctorate at University College London, 3D Repo founder and CEO, Jozef Doboš (above left) had also worked on ‘version control’ software. In 2017, the company launched an open source web-based tendering software extension, BID4Free (post). It then updated the core product to offer enhanced support for large 3D models typical of infrastructure projects, as well as integrated VR functionality (post).
3D Repo has continued to push ‘Open BIM’ research boundaries. It collaborated with industry partners including Buro Happold and Speckle Works on a £1M Innovate UK-funded project, “AEC Delta Mobility” (read April 2019 post: AEC Delta Mobility: open source ‘differencing’). This looked, first, to help manufacturers engage in the early design stages and increase pre-manufactured value of built assets, and, second, aimed to increase construction project productivity by over 15%. Also in 2019, it partnered with Leeds-based eviFile to offer a combined mobile digital evidence and BIM solution (eviFile and 3DRepo combine mobile and BIM). In early 2021, it launched a new model-sharing platform, 3D Send (post), speeding up secure sharing of BIM outputs. And it partnered with Epic Games to use its Unreal Engine to create a data delivery platform that allows users to share massive 3D engineering models online (3D Repo develops Unreal Engine-based 3D platform).
Asite deal view
Its suite of cloud-based visualisation, safety and data validation tools was clearly attractive to Asite. Following the company’s acquisition by Asite, Doboš said:
“Asite shares our vision for the future of digital engineering. We are excited to join forces and bring our expertise in cloud-based collaboration and BIM to Asite’s platform. Together, we will provide a holistic information management platform that will provide customers with even more advanced solutions for managing their construction projects and help drive digitisation in construction to the next level.”
The acquisition represents a further consolidation in the UK construction collaboration space, and gives Asite new capabilities as it continues to compete with former UK competitors that are now US-owned, as well as international rivals such as Autodesk and thinkproject. One by one over the past 10 years, US-based businesses have been snapping up Asite’s rivals. 4Projects became part of Viewpoint (2013) and is now Trimble-owned (2018); BIW/Conject was acquired by Aconex (2016), which in turn was acquired by Oracle (2018); and Business Collaborator was acquired by Bentley Systems (2020). Asite remains the most prominent independent UK provider in the sector.
Update (13 April 2023: 4pm) – 3D Repo has just launched V5.2 of its platform, with “new enhancements that will further help streamline workflows and improve collaboration, including issue properties in custom tickets, improved graphics performance, interoperability features and more”.