Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »
Kingspan Group Invests in the Future with Invicara
February 22nd, 2018 by Susan Smith
Anand Mecheri, CEO and Founder of Invicara, spoke with AECCafe Voice about the company’s recent news of Kingspan Group plc’s $10 million investment in Invicara. Invicara is a provider of transformative cloud-based software solutions for the entire ecosystem of the built environment.
Working with Kingspan, Invicara will use its cloud-based platform to build a new solution that uses design and construction data to create new digital workflows that transform the customer experience. Kingspan is investing $10min a minority stake in Invicara, and Louise Foody, Kingspan’s Director of Digital and Brand, and Mike Stenson, Head of Innovation at Kingspan, will join the Invicara Board of Directors.
How did Kingspan’s investment in Invicara come about, and will you do something specific with this investment?
Yes. Let me put this in context. Invicara was self-funded by the founders, my brother and myself. We have been entrepreneurs up to this point, in industry building, security, automation, management, taking systems inside buildings to make them intelligent. This has been our business. The company is located in Singapore, UK and Ireland. I sold the group to Siemens, so we had a liquid asset from that transition and then part of Siemens was global management which is where we came up with BIM. The option was there to realize the potential of BIM from a data management perspective, and that’s where we started. So we funded the business quite a bit over the last four years, and we didn’t want to raise capital until we had a commercially released product and had a good understanding of the market and we could stand behind our business plan. We reached this stage late last year. We chose to have a strategic investor rather than a financial investor because in the early business, strategic value helps build our business. It was the consequence of us looking for the good add value to our business in a couple of ways.
First, Kingspan is a building product manufacturer, and the kind of products and the way they sell they engaged globally with large owner organizations, retail product center kinds of projects where we got client access such as airports. More importantly I would say, they’ve given quite deep context to how manufacturers would lay in the BIM release stage going forward. Because we only hear about how BIM improves workflows and how manufacturers can better collaborate with designers, but really manufacturers can use BIM objects only on some kind of web service. We realize that having built a platform for information management, there could be several target audiences for the solutions we could provide.
My experience with Invicara has been as an AEC company. This is a new direction for you?
Manufacturing as a segment is interesting for us, to enable manufacturers to effectively deliver in the BIM AEC space, and presenting AECO systems better. And we cannot truly understand what problems we have unless we have a vested interest working with us to help us identify and become the pilot customer for all the solutions. Kingspan has been a focus company, they have embraced BIM and AEC and see the opportunity to increase their business as a manufacturer in the construction industry. We clicked instantly when we talked with them and they had already been thinking about these topics. It was a good fit between what they were looking for and the change that’s happening in the industry, being able to influence that process and benefit from it, and build an offering to the manufacturing segment at large.
The marketplace for Invicara is manufacturers, clients, owner/operators – to deliver to meet expectations of owner operators. Delivering BIM for operations is our current offering. That’s the market we sell to today. We sell to platform owners in AEC. We see manufacturers as an additional segment that we can access.
AEC is driven by client and owner expectations. So where there is a clear mandate to provide a data-driven deliverable the AEC market responds very well, but where it’s not specified, that’s not necessarily a priority. We had to adjust our strategy to go directly to owners and show them the value of BIM what it means to them. Owners saw the benefit of BIM, yet they could never access models, they couldn’t look at drawings and deliverables, they couldn’t get any major improvement from the use of BIM on their projects. Now if they could get a native as-built model in Archicad format, for example, they simply can’t use it. The whole idea of BIM for operations was a non-starter even though there’s so much hype around it because the usability of those deliverables was very limited. Our offering makes BIM accessible to non-designers outside the design environment in a true data management platform. In fact, it helps them make use of a trend and using it in the operations world. In order for people to achieve those deliverables, we have workflows that make it easy for them to meet those expectations. We have an interesting case study to deliver data driven outcomes to the client, to improve their productivity by 90% on data driven data. This enables the supply chain to achieve expectations more efficiently.
We will be investing more in development, building further onto the platform, adding new functionality, developing it as a platform not just as a product. Invicara is the platform. People knew Invicara as a company. BIM Assure allows owners to access, validate, and report on model data and is built onto a platform. We are extending the platform capability and also building applications on the platform. Some of the applications are the owners’, some are AEC firms’, some are manufacturers’. We have a lot of work in front of us.
Do you have a timeline for these developments?
No. Later this year we will have something getting clients to give us feedback. It’s all about extending BIM beyond what’s in a native model. We all know that there is data in BIM but not all data is inside the model. There is so much information outside the model but it’s not part of the information management, it’s in siloes. That will be our next application. Information management where BIM model is a part of it but not all of it.