Judging from its 2022 ‘Glider Gathering’, Glider Technology is fast becoming an influential player in the UK construction technology market.
UK-based SaaS construction technology provider Glider Technology has come a long way in just a few years. On 2 November 2022, I attended the company’s first (pandemic-delayed) user conference.* Its ‘Glider Gathering’ was held at Coventry University (one of Glider’s earliest enterprise customers) and welcomed some 40 delegates – to catch up on the company’s latest developments.
Some Glider backstory
I first met Glider founder and CEO Nick Hutchinson in January 2013 when I went to the London offices of Dome Consulting to hear more about its technology arm, which had developed a couple of SaaS based products to support document collaboration and defect management (see Dome Connect and iSnag, January 2013). These offerings proved popular and a year later Dome Consulting was looking to expand its offering (Dome enters SaaS collaboration battlefield, February 2014).
However, Hutchinson moved on, and in 2016 teamed up with software developer and Dome Consulting technical director colleague Steve Rukuts to establish Glider, which initially supported a disparate range of website and technology projects. It then won a construction BIM/information management project for UK contractor Sir Robert McAlpine, supporting the construction of a new roof structure over the Wimbledon Number One tennis court. The business’s next major commission was through fit-out specialist contractor Overbury, delivering One New Street Square in the City of London for Deloittes.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Glider doubled in size, both in terms of headcount (now 30 people, all remote working – Glider has no permanent physical premises) and turnover (in the year to October 2022, this reached £3.5m).
Hutchinson told the conference that the next 24 months would be “exciting”. A fund-raising round is set to fund accelerated growth, with expansion of the product development and sales and marketing teams. The company will continue to work for its two main sets of customers: asset owner operators (its clients include the UK’s Defence Infrastructure Organisation, Deutsche Bank, Schroders, Google, Leeds NHS and Coventry University) and contractors (MACE, Wates, Kier, Overbury, Sir Robert McAlpine, Lendlease). It is also looking to create partnerships with other businesses to deliver information management services.
The ‘Glider Gathering’ heard about recent and imminent feature updates to the Gliderbim® platform, and was briefed about the longer-term product roadmap from head of product John Adams (formerly at Viewpoint/ 4Projects). Another SaaS veteran, Stuart Bell (formerly at Union Square/Deltek and then Business Collaborator through to its March 2020 acquisition by Bentley Systems) talked about the company’s plans for improved professional and managed services delivery. Rukuts also took to the stage to stress that “software is only as secure as the company that develops it,” before underlining the investments the business continues to make in ensuring the security of its platform for its customers . As well as delivering Gliderbim® as a SaaS offering via Amazon Web Services hosting, Glider also offers options for the platform to be hosted by its client organisations.
Hutchinson concluded: “Major asset owners now recognise the value and purpose of owning well specified, structured and validated asset information to drive insights and support lifecyle decisions. At Glider, our mission remains to support market needs through our focus on frictionless collaboration, underpinned by open, interoperable and secure standards-based working.”
Update (18 November 2022) – Glider won the Collaboration Project of the Year award at the Construction Computing Awards for its contribution to the HMP Five Wells project.
[* Disclosure: I attended the event to deliver a keynote talk, receiving a speaker’s fee and expenses.]