North Sydney, Australia-based SaaS construction software business Tenderfield has gone from initial concept to live support of over 10,000 users in less than three years.
Co-founder Jason Kamha started out labouring on construction projects before doing a construction management degree and working as an estimator and contracts manager. He identified that many small to medium-sized businesses had similar needs when it came to bidding for projects and then managing those projects, and so decided to establish a Software-as-a-Service business to service those needs. With some angel investor backing, he grew a small team (now 15-strong) and in 18 months developed the Tenderfield solution, launched in early 2017.
Kamha describes the Tenderfield platform as comprising four pillars: tendering and bid management (Bid.it), project document management (Plan.it), subcontractor collaboration (Sub.it), and project management (Build.it). One of the business’s strongpoints, he says, is its construction lead network. “Tenderfield is not just about project delivery, we create an ecosystem which connects businesses to new opportunities, with registered users able to receive notifications of tender opportunities for free.” Depending on the functionality required, pricing-wise, paid-for packages start from Au$24 [c. £13.40, €15.30 or US$18.10] per user per month, with no limits on data storage or number of projects.
The project management toolset now includes 14 tools (and growing) covering tasks including defects and non-conformance reporting, email tracking, meeting minutes, project instructions, purchase orders, requests for information, safety notices and site diary. Collaboration on designs is managed through a 2D PDF ‘planviewer’ tool (building information modelling, BIM, is not yet a customer need, Kamha said).
Tenderfield’s user base has grown to over 10,000 users, with most of its customers comprising small businesses: “While competitors like Aconex target the top end of town, the bigger firms and projects, a typical Tenderfield customer will be a medium-size contractor with around 15-30 users and might be working on around ten projects at any one time,” Kamha, right, says. “Many work in the residential, commercial and retail new build and fit-out sectors, and we’ve managed about Au$2bn [c. £1.1bn] worth of work on the platform so far.” Registered users can invite new users to access project-related information and collaborate on the platform for free, and ‘smart’ emails can also be sent from the system to non-users inviting them to collaborate.
The platform is hosted by Amazon Web Services and has been developed as a responsive web-based toolset that can be easily accessed across all devices. Tenderfield has also attracted customers in the US and Canada (an AWS instance provides regional hosting in north America).
It is still early days for the business, but Kamha said revenues have been “doubling every six months.” A factor in the platform’s growth has been its easy adoption – “users can set up an account and be starting their first project in minutes” – in contrast with rival systems where direct sales and training inputs are required to get new customers up and running.
The business has won awards, including a recent Merit Award at the Australian Information Industry Association iAwards, an Australian awards programme for innovation in the digital economy. Kamha’s industry contacts as well as website and social media contacts have also raised the profile and helped secure some early adoption of Tenderfield, he said. “One thing that has been really successful has been taking a coffee truck to our project sites. We can show the Tenderfield lead network to subcontractors, and do some training on tablets – and the guys really appreciate the free coffee.”