Checking in with Checkd

Now a subsidiary of a VC-backed Swedish ERP business, Checkd enjoyed its best ever year in 2020, and is looking to continue its 50% year-on-year growth.

Checkd logoSince first featuring in Extranet Evolution in January 2015 (Checkd mobile checked out), the Norwegian mobile-first and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) construction application provider Checkd has, despite BIM advances, continued to capitalise on the use of visual and PDF-based information for site-based project reporting and collaboration.

Checkd now VC-backed

Tom-Erik von Krogh Martinsen, founder and CEO at Checkd.By 2018, the Oslo-based company was looking to expand beyond its then 90-strong corporate customer base in Norway and was considering marketing in the UK and Germany. However, founder Tom-Erik von Krogh-Martinsen, right, told EE that expansion into Sweden – a construction market twice the size of Norway’s – proved a vital stepping stone. By early 2021, it had more than doubled its customer-base, having, in December 2020, been acquired by Next One Technologies, a Swedish provider of cloud-based ERP solutions for small- to medium-sized construction businesses (news release).

Gunilla Åberg, CEO at Next One, said:

“We’re pleased to merge with Checkd, They have grown quickly in Norway and we see great possibilities to grow together both within the Nordics and in Europe. Our joint solution should be the natural choice for European construction and maintenance companies that want a professional, modern, industry-specific business and project system.”

Martinsen had launched Checkd in 2013, after developing a ‘proof of concept’ mobile reporting tool for a Norwegian construction trade body, and, without seeking additional investment or venture capital backing, the now 15-strong company’s initial growth was a bit slow. With parent Next One Technologies supported by Nordic software investor Monterro, “now we are not building stone by stone – we have more money to scale faster,” Martinsen told EE.

COVID-19 removes excuses

Checkd floorplanAs in many other countries’ construction markets, Martinsen said Scandinavia is dominated by SME contractors and subcontractors. They are also, in his view, often resistant to change, with a culture of making excuses to avoid adopting new technologies. However, the COVID-19 pandemic had helped “remove their excuses”. It has convinced construction businesses about the need to digitise, he  said. Companies were holding more digital meetings, and could not do field or site inspections in groups. Instead, they were using Checkd to capture problems and issue notifications, which could then be discussed online (the Checkd task-handling workflow is identify, notify, fix, check, close).

And it’s not just about marking things up on a PDF. Martinsen says: “Importantly, our users can use any drawing or picture to pin the tasks/observations: Google Map for roofers, facade pictures for EWS1 [external wall survey] inspections, even a sketch.” (And, in light of ongoing post-Grenfell cladding concerns, he is keen to talk to potential UK partners interested in capturing EWS inspection outputs.)

In 2020, Checkd achieved annual recurring revenues of around €1 million, after 50% year-on-year growth, Martinsen said. The customer base now includes some prominent names (SWECO, for example), and its application is also being used in the UK by FK Group, a building envelope specialist in northwest England.

Despite continued BIM advances, he says 95% of Scandinavian construction projects still use 2D documentation for inspection purposes. However, anticipating increased demand for BIM integration, Checkd has also been working with another Norwegian business, Oslo’s Catenda (June 2017 post), to create a module using its BIMSync API (application programming interface), though it has only been used on a few pilot projects so far.

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