Described by co-founder and CEO Alastair Blenkin as an ‘overnight success that was six years in the making’, Brisbane-headquartered construction procurement software company ProcurePro has raised $6.15 million to help accelerate growth in the UK and cement a market-leading position in Australia and New Zealand.
Blenkin previously set up an AI-powered contract-management software for commercial landlords called Hyra iQ with Tom Newby, Nathan Dench and Jesse Dymond, but after that vertical of real estate was damaged by the pandemic they identified a ‘huge gap’ in commercial construction for a comparable offering.
In April 2020 the four entrepreneurs brought on Blenkin’s longtime friend and construction management expert Tim Rogers as a co-founder, and ProcurePro was born.
The company’s procurement software for head construction contractors was launched the following year in 2021, and has attracted major players in the sector including Roberts Co, Hutchinson Builders, Hansen Yuncken, Richard Crookes Constructions, Kane Construction and McNab.
In a short space of time, ProcurePro has built its staff base to more than 40 people and has powered more than $30 billion in construction value across 1000-plus projects for some of the largest contractors in Australia and New Zealand. In the past year, the company has bucked the tech downturn with 300 per cent year-on-year growth.
The software allows construction firms to take control of their supply chain by consolidating more than 15 fragmented procurement processes traditionally managed with Excel, Word and thousands of emails into a paperless platform.
“We’re on a mission to save one billion hours in unnecessary construction administration and are proud to have redefined how the industry works,” says Blenkin, who alongside Rogers has relocated to the UK where ProcurePro is now live across £300 million ($578 million) of projects within weeks of establishing operations.
“To date we’ve automated 200,000-plus hours of procurement tasks, a figure which grows exponentially each day.”
Blenkin says procurement is mission critical to set projects up for success, but the process is plagued by inefficiencies.
“The construction industry impacts every single one of us, every day – it builds the homes we live in, schools we learn in, buildings we work in and hospitals we heal in,” says Blenkin, who alongside his fellow co-founders was a finalist in the 2023 Brisbane Young Entrepreneur Awards in both the Digital Disruptor and Technology categories.
“After setting a budget to win a project, procurement is the last opportunity to materially impact and defend profit margin,” Blenkin explains.
“Technology for procurement has been overlooked and use of legacy systems is rife, presenting a blue ocean opportunity on a global scale.”
ProcurePro estimates that 80 per cent of head contractors’ project costs are spent procuring specialist subcontractors. In a volatile market where costs inflate due to materials or labour shortages, the speed of sub-contracting is key to avoiding cost escalation.
“Where subcontractor prices used to be guaranteed for months, industry norms have changed to weeks or days as prices are still subject to movement,” says Hutchinson Builders director Jack Hutchinson.
“ProcurePro has fundamentally changed how we operate. Our staff love it. We have so much more control and transparency,” adds Roberts Co commercial manager Anthony Lillycrop.
“I’ve never been on a project where so many people have so much transparency – the team is moving so much faster,” notes Richard Crookes Construction commercial manager Ryan Corr.
The $6.15 million funding round was led by AirTree Ventures and Saniel Ventures, which was established by Aconex co-founder Leigh Jasper who sold his company to Oracle for $1.6 billion in 2017.
“ProcurePro is another example of Australia leading the way in construction tech. Procurement in construction projects has long been a painful, opaque and manual process,” Jasper says.
“By finally solving this problem, ProcurePro’s product lets customers save time and money and make better decisions about a project and their business.
“The team’s growth and penetration in Australia in a short period of time has been impressive and we’re excited to be joining them on the journey to take the business global.”
Another of Jasper’s prop-tech investments – construction contractor and sub-contractor payment company Payapps – was acquired last week by California-headquartered global software giant Autodesk (NASDAQ: ADSK). Also in the sector, he is an investor in software provider Mastt which provides access to real-time information, more accurate risk assessments and a better sense of construction timelines.
AirTree Ventures partner John Henderson highlights ProcurePro’s global momentum in a greenfield market backed up by best-in-class Software as a Service (SaaS) metrics, ‘making for an exciting journey ahead, which we’re privileged to be joining them on’.
“After doing a deep dive into the construction space, we found an industry grappling with disrupted supply chains, rapidly increasing operational costs and painful procurement processes; in other words, ready for ProcurePro,” Henderson says.
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