Fieldwire announced this week that it has secured $33.5 million in new funding led by Menlo Ventures, with an additional contribution from previous investor Brick & Mortar Ventures and participation from Hilti Group and Formation 8. To date, the company has raised $40.4 million.
The "field management solutions for construction companies around the world" provider said it would use the money for research and development, as well as to meet the growing demands of its expansion in the U.S. and internationally. The company is headquartered in San Francisco but recently opened offices in Phoenix and Paris and plans to open one in Australia before the end of this year.
The management system has been used on 500,000 projects globally, Fieldwire said, connecting project managers, engineers, skilled trade workers and other stakeholders in an effort to streamline operations. Fieldwire, according to the company, saves users one hour per day per person as a result.
The company has also scored some big wins during the past few years in the form of commitments from major construction companies that have made Fieldwire an integral part of their operations. Built, a company based in Australia, for example, along with Canadian firm EllisDon and Clark Construction Group, based in Bethesda, Maryland, have all rolled out Fieldwire company-wide.
This past June, Clark's Molly Raglani, a project executive, said Clark evaluated several other options — including PlanGrid, Bluebeam Studio and BIM 360 — in its search for a go-to document management system, but settled on Fieldwire.
Fieldwire helps project teams coordinate and manage common construction documents like plans, inspection records, punchlists, requests for information and purchase orders.
She cited several reasons for the choice, including that it could be used on all mobile devices, including the iPhone — a more convenient field option than apps that limit iOS options to a larger, more cumbersome iPad.
Raglani also told Construction Dive that Fieldwire saved more time in the field, a metric that Clark measured by counting the clicks it took users to navigate different solutions. An intuitive interface and good customer service, she said, put Fieldwire over the top.
This focus on the field, said Darren Bechtel with Brick & Mortar Ventures, is one of the reasons that Fieldwire is so attractive to investors. However, the investment community didn't always look at field solutions in this way, he said.
"I think that there was perhaps a false assumption that tech needed to be developed for the office and the trailer," Bechtel said. The belief on the part of some was that the workers in the field couldn't handle it, ignoring the fact that workers were adept at using the smartphones that had become commonplace.
In Fieldwire's case, he said another thing the company has going for it is that it is cash-positive and could have survived and continued to do well without this latest investment. "It's a champagne problem," he said.
Looking toward the future, Fieldwire CEO Yves Frinault told Construction Dive he isn't worried about early talk of an economic slowdown.
For the investment community, he said, a downturn is often the best to make investments because if companies are doing well during those periods, then that means they're likely good bets. "In a downturn," he said, " you can identify really good companies."
As for Fieldwire, Frinault expects that the company is a valuable tool for companies in any economic climate but maybe even more so in a down market when they are looking to become more efficient. "We help companies do that well," he said.