UPDATE: Aug. 19, 2020: Autodesk has announced it has completed the acquisition of Pype and its portfolio of cloud-based solutions geared for the construction industry.
Pype, which uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to process data from project plans and specifications, is Autodesk’s fourth recent construction-related acquisition. Autodesk acquired Assemble and PlanGrid in 2018, followed by BuildingConnected at the start of 2019.
“Pype’s machine learning capabilities can be applied to multiple field and office workflows, and directly support our aim to consistently provide customers with the most advanced construction project management technology,” Jim Lynch, vice president and general manager of Autodesk Construction Solutions, said in a press release. “The acquisition of Pype is representative of our ongoing commitment to the construction industry, and our continued vision of how cloud-based, collaborative technology can drive the era of connected construction.”
- As part of its tech investment strategy, Autodesk announced today it will acquire project management solutions company Pype for an undisclosed amount and earlier said it made its second investment into modular startup Factory OS. These follow a recent $7 million investment round, led by Autodesk, into workforce planning software firm Bridgit. Autodesk expects to close the Pype deal in the third quarter by Oct. 31.
- Both Pype and Bridgit's Bridgit Bench solution will be integrated with Autodesk's Construction Cloud, which allows office and field teams to connect throughout the design and construction process, includes a builder's network and provides AI-driven analyses of project data.
- Since 2017, Autodesk has made nine major investments into construction tech startups. The company also purchased PlanGrid, Assemble and BuildingConnected, deals worth a total of $1.1 billion.
The Pype offerings that Autodesk plans to make available through its Construction Cloud service are:
- AutoSpecs, which aids in the rapid generation of submittal logs in a matter of minutes.
- Closeout, which helps contractors speed up the project closeout process.
- eBinder, which is able to convert closeout documents into an indexed, hyperlinked and searchable file.
- SmartPlans, which extracts submittals, product schedules and contract compliance requirements from construction drawings.
Autodesk's investment into Factory OS will help the company build a new factory. Autodesk said that Factory OS can lower the price of housing by 20%, help builders erect homes 40% faster than traditional methods and eliminate 70% of material waste.
Bridgit Bench allows contractors to manage their workforce utilization and capacity, resource allocation, skills tracking and employee scheduling, giving them a way to increase productivity by offering an alternative to frequently used yet outdated spreadsheets.
Mallorie Brodie, Bridgit's co-founder and CEO, told Construction Dive that it will use the funds to increase its investment in research and development so that it can make headway with its two biggest priorities — building out integrations to give customers a more streamlined experience as they navigate between products and to provide more robust features.
The integration with Autodesk, she said, should also bring more awareness to Bridgit and help the company expand throughout North America and, eventually, into a global market.
All these investments, said Jim Lynch, vice president and general manager of Autodesk Construction Solutions, allow Autodesk to automate critical project workflows and connect people and data across the building lifecycle, which is valuable in both the short term and long term.
"As technology adoption accelerates across the industry," Lynch said, "organizations will increasingly look to their solutions for insights on what’s working well and what’s not and how they can improve project approaches. Deriving those project-level insights requires information from each workflow — across the design, planning, construction and operations phases — to live in one common data environment. That’s where we see advanced technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning will be most effective, and that’s what we’re building towards."
It doesn't look like COVID-19 is standing in the way of construction tech industry growth either. "Since the pandemic struck, we have seen a 72% increase in product usage on Bridgit Bench and continued revenue growth," Brodie said.
This progress has taken place, she said, in an environment where construction companies are being forced to operate from home and must collaborate remotely.
As the industry continues to digitize in response to the pandemic, Lynch said, the need for ways to connect their workflows, people and data has increased.
"The way many teams using cloud collaboration tools have pivoted to remote work has also showcased how technology can drive resiliency, and further reinforced its value for the industry," he said.