Aiming to disrupt building construction, Autodesk invests $1.15 billion in two startups

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Aiming to disrupt building construction, Autodesk invests $1.15 billion in two startups

Autodesk’s fast-paced acquisitions, totaling more than $1.1 billion dollars, of BuildingConnected and PlanGrid portend the company’s strong interest in dominating the future of the construction industry.

The San Rafael, California-headquartered company announced it is acquiring startup BuildingConnected for $275 million after paying $875 million for another construction tech startup PlanGrid in November.

Autodesk also acquired construction software company Assemble Systems in July.

“We are investing in digitizing and automating construction workflows. Autodesk’s goal is to connect construction processes across design, build and operations,” said  Autodesk CEO Andrew Anagnost.

“BuildingConnected has proven to customers the tremendous value in moving from traditional Rolodexes, whiteboards, emails and spreadsheets to an easy-to-use digital bidding platform. We look forward to integrating our recent acquisitions and making construction Autodesk’s next billion-dollar business.”

With these hefty acquisitions, the company is poised to make its mark construction sector which is expected to reach nearly $8 trillion globally by 2030.

According to a new report, the volume of construction output will grow by 85% to $15.5 trillion worldwide by 2030, with China, US and India together accounting for 57% of all global growth.

The benchmark global study by Global Construction Perspectives and Oxford Economics shows average global construction growth of 3.9% annually outpacing that of global GDP by more than 1%.

Construction growth will be driven by developed countries recovering from economic instability and the continued emergence of industrialization globally the report stated.

While the Proptech investors have found value in digitizing workflows they have been slow to look at construction tech as an area for viable investment. 

However, for Autodesk these acquisitions are a part a global plan to “digitize” the construction process.

PlanGrid, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) system focused on construction general contractors which enables construction workers and architects to share plans, markups, photos, and reports to be instantaneous will be integrated into Autodesk’s existing software platform Revit and BIM 360 systems to provide a stronger solution for all levels of the construction process, the company stated.

With its most recent acquisition of BuildingConnected, a platform  that helps real estate owners and general contractors find and hire qualified contractors for their projects that has a network of more than 700,000 construction professionals the company says it is now better positioned to digitize the construction sector by  creating a robust digital marketplace for construction goods and services.

“This acquisition provides an opportunity for Autodesk and BuildingConnected to connect every business in the construction industry, becoming the definitive source of information throughout the sector,” said Jim Lynch, vice president and general manager at Autodesk Construction Solutions.

During the recent Autodesk University 2018 event, the company announced that BIM 360, its design and construction management platform, will include support for the Cost Management workflow which enables users to manage budget items, contracts, change orders and other documents affecting project cost.

According to Lynch the ability to manage costs within BIM 360 can reduce risk by consolidating cost-related construction activities in a single software to provide real-time visibility into the financial health of the project.

This year, the company added 60 software integrations to its BIM 360 ecosystem, as a part of rapid development efforts to innovate the construction industry.

While Autodesk’s share price closed a scant 2% lower after the announcement, it has nearly tripled its stock price the last three years and has a $27 billion market value which is 13 times revenue.