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Tokyo-based Oct, the Japanese startup developing and providing the Andpad house construction management platform, announced earlier this month that it has fundraised about 400 million yen ($3.8 million US) from Draper Nexus Ventures, Salesforce Ventures, Beenext, and individual investors. Details of the stock ratios, payment date, and individual investors were not disclosed. In accordance with this, Draper Nexus Venture’s Managing Director Akira Kurabayashi will be appointed as an Outside Director.
The company plans to integrate the platform with Salesforce Sales Cloud in the early part of this year, aiming to offer sales updates and construction management information in an integrated manner.
The company has been offering the cloud-based platform since April of 2016, helping architects and construction companies keep them updated with construction progress as well as onsite communication at their properties among them. It helps firms focused on constructing or renovating houses share blueprints and schedules with carpenters, electricians, and other project-related workers in addition to helping their managers consolidate reports like building inspections.
According to Oct CEO Takeo Inada, the introduction of the service reduced onsite supervisors’ work by one hour per day, strengthening the operation efficiency for a major construction company.
The funding announced this time around follows that of January 2017 when the company raised an amount in the tens of millions of yen from individual investors. The number of contracted companies released at the time of the previous fundraising was 350, but as of January 2018 that number has increased to 800 companies, the majority of which pay to use the service. Going forward, the company’s goal is to sign with 10,000 companies soon. With the funds raised, it will also increase the number of staffers to 30 and focus especially on strengthening system development capabilities.
From a tool to an integrated management platform
The leap forward of B2B-focused SaaS (business-to-business focused software as a service) specialized in specific verticals has been a hot topic for these last two to three years. It provides online efficiency tools for the progress of specific industries, such as restaurant, education, logistics and distribution, and other businesses. Andpad is one example of them. With such tools, if the user experience proves good it leads to adoption, but because they are specialized in specific industries, using it only as a tool leads to inferior scaling when compared with accounting or personnel and labor relations services that can cross different industries.
Inada’s explanation of this point was clear.
First of all, the 800 companies currently announced are so-called project owners, and it seems that there are about ten times the number of issued accounts for free users (for example, carpenters and electric companies).
In other words, Andpad has a track record of having used nearly 8,000 related companies in the industry.
These naturally become candidates for the next paying users (pay contracts are necessary when creating projects, such as for new construction or renovation), and at the same time by utilizing this “aspect” there is a good possibility of evolving into an information platform for the construction/architecture industry.
Although it is still in the concept stage, Andpad accumulates a lot of architecture and construction data. Which makers are using which building materials frequently and what are the reactions? This kind of information is, of course, important marketing data for manufacturers and if they can draw some kind of connection with Andpad it will directly affect sales.
Unlike content media such as industry journals, touchpoints are necessary for business, so if the company can provide a well rounded plan it would be a very useful information platform for business operators. Incidentally, Inada declined capital alliances with specified businesses and makers.
Translated by Amanda Imasaka
Edited by Masaru Ikeda