We digitize construction projects
The construction industry is one of the largest economic sectors in the world but lags far behind other industries when it comes to digitization. Why this is the case, and how the Munich-based scale-up Capmo wants to change that, is what founder Florian Biller told us in this interview.
Florian, what vision drives you at Capmo?
My grandparents worked in the construction industry and often talked about the problems people face. Even small projects involve many subcontractors but there are no tools for communication and collaboration in use. Everyone works away and suddenly a wall is one meter further to the left than planned. In the end, everyone is frustrated, and the project can end up costing 40 percent more than expected. These are precisely the pitfalls we want to overcome with our product. We want to make life a whole lot easier for architects, engineers, craftsmen, and contractors. We want to make the hard things in construction feel easy.
Where do you focus your efforts?
Until today, many construction projects worked like this: an architect drew a CAD plan in the office, sent it by e-mail to the developer on-site, who printed it out and put it up on the wall. If the craftsmen and builders on the construction site then realize that the plan doesn't work, they simply change it in pencil - and then there’s confusion. This is precisely the silo structure that we are breaking down with our solution. We provide a platform that all traders can access from anywhere. Whether online or offline. Whether on the construction site, from the office, or on the road. Everyone involved can work efficiently, collaborate in real-time and track the process.
Based on this, how does your business model work?
We offer a SaaS model. Depending on the size of the company and the features subscribed to, we receive an annual fee. Our strategy is to constantly expand the platform and add new features. To ensure a smooth start and high customer satisfaction, we offer premium customer service including extensive onboarding, regular webinars, and a personal contact person. In the long term, this increases the revenue per customer and we create long-term customer loyalty for our platform.
Are there current trends that support your approach?
The main reason the construction industry is falling so far behind in digitization is that there has not yet been a stable and permanent internet connection between offices and construction sites. But this is changing as mobile devices become increasingly more powerful, network density increases, and cloud services take enormous leaps forward. All of this is making digitization in the construction industry possible and plays into our hands as a result. With our platform, we now want to take the industry to the first level of digitization. There is simply an enormous amount of potential in construction projects because so many processes are analog currently. However, once the market gets going, we will benefit even more because we have occupied and driven the topic for so long.
On this journey, why did you choose UVC Partners as an investor?
My co-founders Florian Ettlinger, Patrick Christ, Sebastian Schlecht and I already knew UVC Partners from the Munich startup ecosystem. We all studied at the Center for Digital Technology and Management (CDTM) and were in regular contact with UnternehmerTUM. Then, when we went looking for investors, we quickly realized that UVC Partners had a very similar understanding of technology and markets like us. For example, from the beginning, we shared the view that there is huge potential in the construction industry and the question is not whether things will change, but simply who will drive that change. Another important factor for us was that UVC Partners had already proven with Flixbus that they understand industries and business models that take a little longer to take off. In the case of Flixbus, too, the market did not change overnight - but later on unleashed a tremendous dynamic. Lastly, we knew how well UVC Partners is connected in the community. This network has helped us several times in terms of hiring or finding the right follow-up investors.
Which milestone are you planning to take next?
As already mentioned, the lack of collaboration and transparency is among the biggest problems in construction projects. Instead of working with each other, most companies work against each other. We already simplify collaboration by bringing all partners together in one platform, breaking down media discontinuities and information silos. In the coming months, we will be adding further functions to our software that will bring transparency to construction management and thus improve collaboration. We are working on that right now. At the same time, we are preparing to expand into other markets in Europe. At the moment, we are mainly active in the DACH region, but in the next 12 to 15 months, we want to tackle the markets across Europe. For both goals, by the way, we're looking for people who want to join us in making the construction industry more efficient, more sustainable, and more user-friendly. We plan to grow to 200 employees by the end of next year.