DigiBuild's founder Robert is on Republic to disrupt the $9B construction industry with blockchain, forecasting $68M in revenue in 5 years. Let's meet him!
What are you working on? Can you give us a brief overview of your company?
We're revolutionizing the global construction industry using blockchain technology. We build software products for the stakeholders on a construction project; long term we believe all major construction projects will be delivered using blockchain.
What about you? Tell us a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to start this journey :)
I grew up in the construction industry. I saw firsthand just how difficult it can be for businesses. My father struggled and was beaten down by the industry for years. About 10 years ago I started my own construction company and experienced many of these pains directly.
What's your background? What is the unfair advantage that will make you succeed in this industry?
Rob owns 2 construction companies and has been in the industry for 20 years. Collectively our team has built over $5 Billion worth of construction jobs (more than most in the industry).
We know construction and the workflows up and down. We understand how the lack of trust leads to administrative, paper-laden requirements and introducing blockchain to these workflows allows us to do what the industry leaders software providers do PLUS MUCH MORE (see Procore, BuildingConnected). We understand how data silos prevent the current software from doing the things DigiBuild can do.
The Business Model
What is your business model, and who are your customers?
We’re a paid subscription model (SaaS). We could make $300M per year in revenue and big picture the TAM is $9 billion (see Procore S1 filing). In the future, other revenue sources include selling data/insights and a % of each contract or transaction passing through our platform. Our customers include general contractors and property developers. Future customers include subcontractors, insurance companies, and risk agents.
Did you already find a product-market fit? How do you acquire and retain your customers?
We have confirmed $12,000/mo in MRR (annualized $144,000) from 7 customers. 12 companies are beta testing. Our goal is $1M in revenue by end of 2021.
The largest commercial general contractor in the US is making a major strategic investment in us to become a partner and customer. They’re a tech savvy firm and they also believe blockchain will improve construction.
How big is your operating market? Could you provide some independent research/insights?
$9B TAM, customer base only 2% penetrated. See Mertitech Captal's Procore S1 breakdown. Long term, if we succeed in the construction market, we can enter ancillary markets using blockchain (ie. tokenization of real estate); in the same way early internet companies like Yahoo and Amazon expanded into conglomerates, we can do the same with web 3.0
What's your competitive advantage, and how are you going to build a sustainable economic moat?
Blockchain and distributed systems are very different than the central databases utilized by current industry leaders. We're working with 30 of the biggest companies in construction who know DigiBuild as the blockchain in construction category creator. We've an industry standards body alongside many influential construction stakeholders; the group seeks to introduce and promote blockchain use in construction (includes Chubb Insurance, the biggest in the world). In that group, DigiBuild is the only software provider. Our strategic partner is one of the biggest construction companies in the US and invested in us as a customer and partner.
Who is on your team? Is there a fun story behind it? If so, We'd love to hear more!
Rob, April, and Ivan are cofounders. Rob and Ivan met 4 years ago at a blockchain meet up in Chicago. We have been friends and business partners ever since. April was Rob's boss and mentor; she hired, managed, and mentored Rob in 2012 during a brief corporate stint; they've had a great relationship ever since. She joined DB after a year and now runs marketing/operations/customer success.
Where do you see you 5-10 years from now? What's your exit strategy?
Our goal is to build a billion dollar business that becomes a staple in the construction technology industry (and eventually an IPO could be a part of that). We believe blockchain allows us to do everything the leading cloud solutions can do, plus much more. Once we hit scale, there are opportunities across different verticals such as real estate development and construction financing that could be huge opportunities as well. We see ourselves being a multinational provider of services like an Autodesk or Procore. However, that said, if there is a great offer on the table for acquisition, of course we will take a look at it, consult with the team and shareholders and make the best decision from there. ConTech M&A is very active with huge deals such as Plangrid, Building Connected, Assemble, Pype being situations that may warrant us to look at an acquisition.
What do you believe is the biggest risk for the company?
Speed to market. Procore and Bim 360 (owned by Autodesk) because of their major resources and scale. They are cloud based but both have written about blockchain but have yet to release any blockchain products.