On today’s episode, we have a veteran entrepreneur who goes by the name of Andreas Suttas. Andreas successfully exited his previous company AIMBRAIN and is now the founder and CEO of Simple Construction Software, tackling contractual disputes and delays on construction projects. In this episode, we dive deep into how lessons learned from the tech world can be applied to construction tech, a number of to-dos and not to-dos in the construction tech world, and an interesting story about shipping containers, cranes, and contracts. If you’re enjoying our episode, please check us out on Spotify, Apple, or wherever you get your podcast from, and please leave us a review. This helps us get the most amazing guests to give you guys the best and most informative content on technology in the built world. And now we give thanks to our sponsor Beta, the Built Environment Tech’s biggest players in the construction tech world, including tier one building contractors, construction tech companies, investors, and advisors. Check them out by visiting www.the-beta.com. That’s www.the-beta.com. You are listening to Bricks and Bikes podcast, where we take you on a journey in construction, technology, and business.
All right, let’s get this episode started. So, Andreas, you’re without doubt a seasoned entrepreneur, so Forbes 30 Under 30, founder and CEO of AimBrain, which you’ve now exited, author of the Founder Handbook, and now you are the founder and CEO of Simple Construction Software.
So, given all of that incredible past you have, how did you end up in the world of construction technology? Yeah, so right after AimBrain acquisition, myself and a couple of my colleagues, seven of us actually, we wanted just to start a small self-build community, and the idea was to just acquire a big plot of land on it. It might sound arrogant, but economies of scale make a lot of sense. Yeah. So, buying and dividing a big plot in those way cheaper than the cheaper parcels of land of the same size building, you would be building around the same time, speed, meaning you can buy materials in bulk.
The idea of self-build communities is very popular in Scandinavian countries. And in the UK, you have Graven Hill project near the Bicester village. And through that process, just talking to people how to make it actually happen. I got exposed to the construction space because my previous company was in the FinTech space.
I myself come from an IT background and then a FinTech background, and there was clearly a lot of space for improvement specifically with technology, specifically with software in the construction space. A lot of manual processes that computers could automate and specifically not taking jobs away but just focusing on allowing project managers to actually focus on construction and not on micromanaging projects heard more commonly project firefighting and the rest is history. What I’m very interested in actually is Forbes 30 Under 30.
And how did you get that? How is this assessed and how your start-up, I guess that was AimBrain, contributed to it? So, Forbes 30 Under 30. So, from what I understand, right? First of all, is that you have to be nominated for that. Myself and my colleague at the time, co-founder of the list, Linas Novickas, we both got nominated as part of the work that we were doing with AimBrain, which was a deep learning biometric identity-as-a-service platform. We had three modules: face, voice, and behavioural. So, face and voice, very self-explanatory.
For the behavioural module, again, we’re very happy to deep dive into it, but at a high level, we would evaluate not what you type, but how you type it. And I’m very happy to give you examples. Just scratching my head, remembering how Forbes evaluates it, it’s like fundamentally, what’s your impact on society? How does your company look? What’s the inventiveness and what’s the potential? Just to give a little bit of background about AimBrain, throughout the company’s lifetime, we raised just below £5 million or just over $6 million, depending on the day for conversion rates. Yeah, not anymore. Exactly. Touchy subject. That’s why I give both values. We raised from top VCs, including Episode 1 and Draper Esprit, and Business Growth Fund.
We primarily worked with financial institutions, and throughout the life of the company, we won numerous awards, including KPMG’s Fintech 100, Gartner Cool Vendor, stuff like that. And, you know, our fundamental thesis, why I think we got nominated and we got accepted, is that when you think about fraud in the financial space, it’s fundamentally a cat-and-mouse game. The traditional approach is to use machine learning and to use machine learning with manually engineered features to catch that fraud. The problem with that is it’s extremely difficult to adapt to new types of fraud.
So, because you fundamentally have people in the loop having to understand how it looks like and then train algorithms to catch fraud in the future. Our innovation was, or our thesis was that the only way to really win at fraud is to enable algorithms to learn by themselves. And that was what AimBrain was all about. AimBrain stands for Advanced Identity Matching Brain. And our fundamental approach was using deep learning to actually enable algorithms to detect new types of fraud based on data our customers give us. This is fraud; this is not fraud. We don’t really have people in the loop trying to understand why this is fraud, why it’s not fraud. Just here’s the data, go learn.
The way the company started, just talking about vision and grandiose scale is that when you think about things around you, like phones, computers, internet, websites, right? All of them work for you, specifically for you to facilitate your goals. But when it comes to identity on these platforms, it’s you who has to work to keep proving to them you are who you say you are. Yeah, that’s super interesting. Yeah. And fundamentally, you’re unique as a human being. So, our grandiose vision was that things, you know, I mean, computers, doors, websites, cars, everything – everything you have a key card for, something you need to enter a PIN or a password for – should just know who you are. And they should actually work for you, not against you, right? Every single time, you’re in a position where you have to keep proving it’s really you. And the vision for AimBrain was to be the identity layer that makes all that possible.
So, our goal with AimBrain was to create a seamless and secure identity experience across various platforms and devices, making it easier for people to access services and products without constantly having to prove their identity. We wanted to leverage the unique aspects of an individual’s biometrics to make their interactions with technology more intuitive and personalised.
The recognition from Forbes 30 Under 30 was a testament to our innovative approach and the potential impact our technology could have on society. It also highlighted our commitment to developing cutting-edge solutions to address real-world problems, such as fraud in the financial sector.
As the founder and CEO of Simple Construction Software, I am now applying the lessons and experiences I gained from AimBrain to help tackle contractual disputes and delays in the construction industry. By harnessing technology and software solutions, we can streamline processes, reduce inefficiencies, and improve communication between stakeholders in construction projects.
The journey from AimBrain to Simple Construction Software has been an exciting one, with each venture presenting new challenges and opportunities for growth. I am grateful for the experiences I’ve had and the recognition from Forbes 30 Under 30, which serves as a reminder of the importance of innovation and the potential for technology to create meaningful change in various industries.
As we continue to explore and develop new solutions in the world of construction technology, I am confident that the lessons learned from the tech world can be applied to drive progress and transformation in the built environment. It is my hope that, through our work at Simple Construction Software and other innovative companies in the construction tech space, we can continue to break down barriers, foster collaboration, and ultimately shape a more efficient and sustainable future for the construction industry.
Wow. So, was there anything like following that similar kind of concept that you’ve taken from AimBrain and you’re now applying to Simple Construction Software? Well, when you think about it, Simple Construction, right? So, we are increasing collaboration and increasing visibility, right? And we can go into why those things have to happen. But AimBrain was a lot about reducing fraud. And when you think about the construction space and increasing visibility and collaboration, all of it, I wouldn’t say there’s a lot of fraud, but there’s definitely sometimes a lot of adversarial behaviour. Yeah, yeah. So, it could be fraud, or it could be that in some scenarios, there’s an element of fraud. Not for me to decide, right? But the way I think about it, FinTech is actually a big part of our roadmap, even with Simple Construction Software. But fundamentally, you could even say, in a way, it’s just a continuation of the same thesis and the same experience and background being applied to a slightly different space.
Cool. So, on Simple Construction Software then, how has the journey been so far? So, you founded it in which year? Last year, it’s a less than one-year-old company. So, okay. Wow. So, you’ve come quite a long way since, you give off the impression that you’ve been around for a while. That’s the question. Thank you. Which is obviously a great thing. So, what kind of pain points are you solving? Yeah. So, maybe, you know, just before that, let me describe who we are. The way we think about this is that we are a web platform for simple and compliant contract orchestration between all stakeholders. And the way to think about this is that today, we’re not a project or contract management platform. You already have tools like that, such as Seymour in the UK or Procore in the US. What we do is that we focus on saving costs, increasing visibility, and increasing collaboration. And the way we do that is by automating the boring manual tasks, all the emails, calls, messages, and all the business contract logic, internally and externally between all the stakeholders on our platform.
In terms of the problem we are solving, it’s actually very interesting. So, before a project starts, you have to have a contract that outlines the scope, the budget, and the schedule for the future work to be done.
Now, the reality is that as soon as the project starts, all of these things change because it’s just impossible to predict them and they change hundreds of times. And it’s really impossible to avoid all these changes, right? Because you could say, well, if I have extremely good scheduling software, right, I will not have any changes. But I would argue that you cannot predict clients changing their minds, architects or engineers spotting errors, regulators or governments changing requirements as the project is being built. You cannot predict weather or ground conditions, to a certain degree COVID and classic supply chain shortages. That’s what we observe. There is no software today to effectively orchestrate these changes in construction projects. I’d be very happy to dive deeper into that if you’re interested in this topic. Yeah, go for it. I’d be interested to see how you do that. So, like a contractor and client, there’s a contract between those two. So, how does that collaboration become automated through your platform?
Let me cover how it’s done today, and then we’ll cover how we change all that. The current approach is not viable, and fundamentally, when I say the current approach is with all the tools like the existing ones, the reason why is because they were simply not created for today’s large supply chains or complex stakeholder relationships. Projects are bigger than ever. The problems that current approaches have is that they never give you a consistent view of the project. We heard that there are often multiple instances of the same software being run on a project, leading to information needing to be manually copied between them. The second thing is that there are a lot of contractual ambiguities. We heard again from our customers that very often compensation claims don’t include full information, and then you go into a cycle with project managers having to chase for details every single time.
The third thing we heard is that project managers, you know, quantity surveyors, commercial managers are forced to micromanage tasks, right? But what it means is that we’ve seen that workflows today in construction space are no more than just checklists that project managers are forced to manually track and often outside of a tool. And customers showing us a spreadsheet with hundreds of lines about events, what’s the stage, what’s the status, what’s the next step, and they’re still using all this project management software. And the last thing is that none of the procedures are actually enforced. So we heard crazy things like it’s not unusual to have 50% of all claims to reject them just because either contractor or someone else did not follow their contractual procedures. For example, not raising an early warning notice before the claimant. And naturally, all this leads to very, very costly disputes and delays. And there was a statistic that they found from HKA, which is a leading global consultant in the risk mitigation, is that on average, a dispute delays the project by 71% over the planned schedule. That’s just absolutely insane. But so clearly there has to be a better way. And hopefully, we are a better way. We’ve been building that and improving that. So I would say there are three key things, how we deliver that, or how we improve that, and what’s unique about it. So first of all, we have clear action owners and prescribed processes, and we call that pipelines. And the key idea behind that is that the platform knows exactly what state the event is at, what’s the remaining contractual time, who needs to respond to what, how, and who the next action owner is.
And the way we position is that pipelines is what automates. That workflows should really have been. And on a single platform, a very, very important thing is we support multiple projects, all the project stakeholders, and different types of working relationships all on the same web app by design, and by our pricing approach. And we can even automate your own internal processes if you want to. The second thing that’s unique about this is that we automate business logic, event submission to approval, contractual events and structured data rather than just files. And the key thing behind this is that this allows project managers to make informed decisions by having all the relevant data in a single place at the time of submission. And this is where we’ll also start using our backgrounds from our previous companies, so simple constructions as well. Our CTO is the same as my previous CTO. Right now, we’re super early stages, so we’re just collecting the data. But the real exciting things will happen when we start using the data, machine learning for real-time data-driven insights. And the last thing about us that’s unique about us is that we act as an immutable truth ledger between all stakeholders, almost like a trusted third party. And the idea behind that is that we have a full audit trail, a story of what happened in a single place with just a button click. So I have thrown a lot of information at you right now, but to summarise, if you had to just have one takeaway of what we do, I would propose that you think about this way, is that currently popular tools are absolutely great for sharing files and sharing information. What we are doing, we’re building a tool that enables you to work on those files and on that information. Are you using any blockchain technology? Because the way you speak, I feel like there’s some blockchain stuff behind it. Buzzwords right there. Yeah. So, on absolute honesty, it’s a buzzword. Now we are not using blockchain right now, but it is something I’m personally very excited about. I was involved with crypto, blockchain, Bitcoin from super early days and it’s definitely part of our roadmap to look into it. Interesting. I was going to say, ask you about the idea, but I think you explained that in one of the first questions we asked. So based on what you’ve done so far and your journey, are there any key insights that you’ve explored that led you to think about an area that we could probably tackle?
Well, so there are multiple ways to approach that question, right? So there are related areas we can tackle, right? So going back to the collection of structured data set, we can start leveraging the data set in helping to underwrite lending, where we can give cash advances to contractors, right? Because we will fundamentally understand if you have a compensation claim, how likely that compensation claim is to be accepted. So that’s kind of adjacent markets, in a sense. But in terms of what we are doing now, in terms of insights, it’s very anecdotal. So there wouldn’t be any kind of report or statistic I could point to you. But talking to a lot of people in the space, what I observed is this interesting inflection point that happens at around a £50 million revenue point for a construction company. And the inflection point is very interesting because you can see the company’s revenue after the £50 million point, but their margin starts actually going down. And we started to really look into why that happens. It could happen much earlier. Well, it could happen much earlier? Yeah, absolutely. But again, very anecdotal, as I keep talking to people, I might adjust that figure. Probably to what you said, Martin, to the lower side. But the key point is that what we think happens is that up to the £50 million point, you can run a lot of projects with very manual processes and everything can fit in a single project manager’s head. Beyond that point, you either start working on big projects, complex projects that you just cannot manage as a single person anymore, or you have a pipeline of so many projects that it becomes, again, unrealistic to be managed by a single project manager, which means that at around that point, all the existing processes, all the manual internal procedures start breaking down. And that’s what we think is around the point where companies have to reinvent themselves, actively reinvent themselves if they want to continue growing and hitting their next milestone. So it sounds like they become too big and become not efficient to the size of… But that’s a good problem to have. I wish we had £50 million in revenue. And you know, we would be discussing how our processes are breaking down. Okay, I wanted to touch on one thing, which is the Founder Handbook. What is in there? And why did you decide to participate in this book? Yes. So the book is co-authored actually with Siobhan Clarke, and she was my sales mentor at AIMGrain, and she now runs operations. She’s now an operating partner at BP Launchpad.
By the way, the book itself is available freely online as a PDF download, also on Amazon Kindle and Paperback. But to answer your question, why write the book, why we did that, and why I think this book matters? It’s because I believe that there are no set rules on how to succeed in building and scaling a start-up. Now, the key point is that we do believe there are universal lessons that every successful founder has to learn. And this wisdom is usually accumulated the hard way, definitely in my case. So doing something, failing at it, hopefully learning from it, and then repeating the whole cycle. And in this book, exactly, I share these experiences reflected with Aimbrain, how can you get started? What has worked? What didn’t? Why do you think that was the case? And you know that, in my opinion, this book is humble because I think the first, literally first opening sentences are, “We still don’t know how to make a successful business. If you’re into that, this book is not for you”, you know? But here are a lot of mistakes and errors we made. So maybe it will be useful for you in your journey. It’s probably helpful to read about other people’s mistakes and lessons they teach you. But the best lesson is always like just go and get burned and learn the hard way. Make mistakes. Just don’t get killed. And look, I agree with you. That’s my approach. Now, ideally, I would be able to learn from others’ mistakes by reading their experiences, you know, but also, this book is kind of you can think about as almost like a manual just reflecting back on what we did. You know, just like key points summarised, to not just do it again myself, almost. Yeah, it’s good. Like reflecting on your introspective work whilst also giving back to the ecosystem. How do you get all the time to do all this stuff? And I also heard we discussed your backdrop at the beginning, but the amount of hardware engineering you also do as well whilst writing books and running successful companies, selling companies. Like, where’s the magic trick? I think it sounds… It sounds… better than it really is, you know, when you put it this way, it’s very humbling. I appreciate that. But honestly, the way I think about time is that everyone gets the same 24 hours in a day, right? And at the end of the day, it’s about what really matters to you. I don’t think there’s any right or wrong answer. For me, at that time in my career, writing a book, getting my brand out was important. So I just spent time on that. And, and, you know, not going to lie. Other things probably suffered because of that, you know, like personal relationships, fitness schedules, stuff like that.
So you mentioned that you co-authored the Founder’s Handbook with your sales coach or mentor. How important do you think having a mentor is, and did you have mentors for particular parts of the business like sales, operations, etc.? In my opinion, for me, it’s extremely important to have mentors, and there are multiple reasons for that, but fundamentally, I think it comes down to having a second perspective on things. Regarding how new founders should be looking for a mentor and what qualities they should be looking for, for me, it’s absolutely important to have a mentor. The reason for that is that when you’re involved in business day-to-day, very often, you don’t see obvious things just in front of you, right? The shortcuts you could take, the better decisions you could make, stuff like that. So it’s essential to have someone who pulls you out and helps you see the bigger picture. What I really like, and this goes into your second question about qualities, is when mentors actually challenge you. I really dislike when people always agree with you because that does not help anyone to improve. Tough love, exactly.
But when a mentor says, you know, you did this wrong, here’s a potentially better approach, you consider that and you go, “Wow, that actually really was a better approach.” Thanks for pointing that out. In terms of skills for mentors, there are a lot of “mentors” for start-ups. The key thing I look for in a mentor is someone who has done it themselves before. I think in start-ups, it’s extremely important to have someone who has gone through the struggles, battle scars, all of that, that you’re going through right now. No amount of books, podcasts, webinars, training, or schools can replace actual experience. That’s my opinion.
Now, something I’m very interested in, and I guess it’s more to do with your background but also some feedback we have from other founders and maybe even some investors, is that the founding group with a strong construction background usually struggles in the construction industry. Correct me if I’m wrong, but you’re obviously coming from a FinTech background along with the same CTO, which means that you don’t have, or you lack that, at a founder level, the relevant background in construction.
So have you experienced anything so far that caught you out, or is there a specific way that you’re getting over that? Well, stepping back, even if we look at the transition from FinTech to Construction Tech, I think what it fundamentally comes down to is having skills and being eager to learn. If you have those fundamentals in place, which I think my engineering background helps me a lot with, I personally think you can go into any space, find problems, and as long as you’re excited about them, you can solve them.
Now, in terms of FinTech and Construction Tech, it’s interesting because I initially thought they had no similar backgrounds. But actually, through the journey, I found out that there are more similarities than differences in both spaces. To give you a couple of examples, people or companies deciding to build tech in-house versus outsourcing it, or FinTech’s open banking context and data interoperability topics – they’re very similar. Also, industry stages – when we started in FinTech, all the financial institutions were just collecting data into data lakes, which is exactly happening right now in construction.
I would argue that FinTech is slightly more advanced in terms of IT and technology adoption. So the next immediate step post data lakes is asking, “Okay, we have all this data, what do we do with it?” Because plotting data and creating nice graphs is one thing, but it’s tough to get actionable insights. So, you’ll see a huge number of companies in the construction space trying to leverage all the data collected by data lakes. There are even more similarities between what happened in FinTech and what’s happening now in Construction Tech.
I would probably even say it’s an advantage that we come not from the construction space because we have a completely fresh perspective. We’ve seen similar behaviours in different industries and can apply that playbook already. I really like this answer because I think there’s huge information arbitrage that can be done in construction as the industry is full of people who are slightly older than us, and they are only talking technicals – which are only technical construction, architecture, engineering stuff – without the market insights in this area. So I completely agree with that.
And in FinTech, it’s kind of a slightly smarter industry, I would say. I don’t know, Martin, if I would fully agree with that, it’s a slightly different industry. I wouldn’t necessarily say a lot less smart since you left, and there is… Sorry, I meant smart from this point of view, not talking about IQ or EQ. Well, I think it’s actually very interesting; I don’t think it’s because of the industry. I think it’s because there’s a lot of funding available in the FinTech industry that attracts a lot of smart people.
It’s actually another insight that I’ve seen in the construction space. I think right now, it’s an extremely exciting time to be building something in the construction space for multiple reasons. Martin, what you said is spot on – we are having this once-in-a-lifetime generational change happening. Experienced people are leaving, new people are coming in with fresh ideas and fresh approaches.
What’s also very interesting is that all the exited founders in the construction space are only now starting to invest in new companies as angels. So I think now it’s also a historical moment where we’re closing that loop for the first time in the construction space. After this, I think it’s just exponential growth, in my opinion.
I agree with you, and also the amount of investment in construction tech over the last few years has grown significantly. It’s definitely an exciting and interesting place. I wonder if there will be more people coming from other industries over to construction tech to embrace this opportunity. I absolutely hope so. There’s so much work to be done; we need more founders and a bigger, better ecosystem. It’s insane how much work there is to be done.
So, you mentioned that you did a startup in FinTech, mentioned crypto earlier, and now you’re innovating in construction. What technology excites you the most in terms of the future? Where are your thoughts, apart from the stuff that you’re involved in?
Well, I like what you mentioned about crypto. I think there are two broad directions that are really exciting. First of all, is blockchain, obviously. And how can we apply that blockchain in relation to audit trails and digital contracts? The second area that I think will be absolutely revolutionary is using technology from different industries.
So what I mean by that is, for example, using battery technology for extremely light rail infrastructure, rapid charging, stuff like that. I think there’s a lot to be done and reused and lessons learned. That’s interesting. No, I hadn’t thought of that one. We always expect people, or personally, I expect people to say artificial intelligence or something like that, but coming from a hardware background, it’s a different answer. Thanks for that.
Absolutely. And look, we can dive deep into artificial intelligence, and in my honest opinion, what it is and what it’s not. Well, I would love to hear what you think artificial intelligence is or machine learning. How do you understand this and can you give us some information?
Well, look, fundamentally there is machine learning, there is artificial intelligence, there is deep learning, and above that, there is general artificial intelligence. All of these stages are very different. So when people say artificial intelligence, you very often need to understand – do they mean general artificial intelligence? Or do they mean a very specialised algorithm that was trained on huge amounts of data, but it’s only applicable to one narrow task or use case process? A lot of times, people mix those two.
So my personal opinion is that I don’t think we’ll see general artificial intelligence anytime soon. Now, there’s a big disagreement between me and my co-founder. My co-founder dropped out of his PhD in machine learning from the University of Edinburgh to do our first company. His view is that we will first see software-based general artificial intelligence. My view is that we will first see, or we will first be able to grow what is called “wetware”, like bioware, growing this kind of artificial group of neurons that represent, you could argue, it’s a kind of intelligence and human brain emulation.
So that’s exactly what I’m saying. I’m saying that as a society, we should first be able to grow a brain in a lab setting as a stepping stone. My co-founder is saying no, software eats the world, and we will first see emulated brain. The jury is out; it hasn’t been decided yet.
It sounds like you’re talking along the lines of the book “Superintelligence”. Have you read it? I’ve heard of that book, but I haven’t read it. I probably should read it. It sounds like there’s a big section in there. And this book is way above my paygrade. I will just caveat that because it is very technical. But the bit I’m on at the moment is talking a lot about human brain emulation, and that’s what piqued my interest.
So, do’s and don’ts in terms of someone wanting to start a startup, whether it’s in different industries. What is your advice? What people should do? I expected this question, so I have a short list of ideas.
I came prepared for a podcast. So I probably would start with, you should definitely not suggest that what people are currently doing is wrong. Most likely, you’re missing some of the context or the full context. Let me explain that because that’s something completely new to me. To explain it, to deep dive into it, be mindful of how you position your product or solution. Don’t suggest that the current approach is bad, but that your product or solution could offer some additional improvements.
To give you an example, we have spoken to a customer who requires 16 signatures to approve any project change. Your immediate response is, “That is ridiculous.” That’s my immediate response as well. That would be any person’s frankly immediate response. It’s just ridiculous. Like nothing, how anything gets done. But when you really start talking to them, it’s like, okay, why do you have 16? And you start learning that while it sounds hugely inefficient, it’s because of their past experience in a court dispute, ruling that they did not have a certain required number of approvals. And it suddenly, okay, that’s like, it’s actually a very logical reason why it’s 16.
Now, you could argue, and that’s exactly the positioning, right? The process is not wrong. They’re collecting all the required approvals based on their past experience, but you could argue if you look at it with fresh eyes, maybe there are certain shortcuts, good shortcuts you can take, maybe different paths depending on the type of approval required and stuff like that. And again, you can increase efficiency.
I won’t comment, but that is a very, very clear illustration of the construction industry. That insight alone. I could tell you so many anecdotes. So for example, another anecdote I can tell you is that one of the contractors I spoke to, they literally told me a story of how they had to ship half of a standard shipping container filled with copies of a paper contract because the client wanted the signatures. And they literally told me they put a shipping container with a crane and they had to have multiple copies, everything printed out. It’s just like, you know, insane.
Wow. But that’s actually what goes back into, you know, why now all the improvements are happening because you had the COVID pandemic, and all of these processes that were heavily manual or required actual physical presence, they just broke down. So fundamentally, you were faced with a choice. You either adopt technology and continue your business or you just continue asking for wet signatures and eventually just run out of people who will be willing to give you wet signatures. And that’s a huge boom in technology adoption.
It’s actually interesting if you look, I believe in McKinsey’s report, the construction tech space or in the construction industry.
The construction industry had the biggest rate of growth in innovation funding or pounds spent out of all the sectors, all the industries. So FinTech actually contracted innovation spending, health and care significantly contracted as well, right? Construction Tech was top one. Absolutely. Yeah.
More to do? Yeah, so more to do. And again, very happy to deep dive into it. But one thing to do is try not to overuse buzzwords, especially buzzwords like BIM. At a high level, it’s very vague or it’s too vague and it has some heavy baggage in the industry. Another buzzword everyone is used to right now is digital twin. That seems to come up all the time. BIM stands for Building Information Modelling, focusing on building design and construction. Digital twin models how you interact with the built environment and is more focused on the operational side of things.
One more to-do is to find your business unit sponsor first. Innovation teams are great, but if you have additional internal support as well, that will make the whole process much, much easier for everyone. Another idea is that you have to deliver transformative change in incremental steps. Bring your customer on a journey, start small, show real benefit, and then try to scale from there, land and expand. But don’t come in like guns blazing, saying you’re going to revolutionise how they do things.
The last one, purely from a commercial angle, is that absolutely everything you do, try to tailor it to show how you create more revenue. Efficiency, on its own, doesn’t have much real-life clout in the construction space. The margin is often seen as it is and calculated post-project, rather than monitored proactively, and there are just too many moving parts and silos. So again, show how you make more revenue.
Somehow find a way to do that. Thank you very much for that. Yeah, that was brilliant. Sounds like the beginning of another new book. How to show revenue. Ten easy steps to improving revenue. That sounds great. Cool. So apart from work and everything else that you do, do you have any other hobbies? Maybe we could link that to you making any hardware at the moment with the tools you have? Nothing exactly at the moment, and besides all the electronic projects like drones, wedding gifts, fixing stuff around the household, I love protecting consumer rights. Primarily, it’s around IT security, GDPR regulation, and I think it probably comes from my main brain days. But just helping friends deal with unreasonable landlord requests, dealing with companies not willing to follow consumer warranty rights.
I find it surprisingly engineering-like. When you have a problem, dispute or disagreement, first of all, you have to understand the problem from all sides, understand the legal, time, and budget constraints specifically in that context. Then you take that, evaluate all the available paths and potential outcomes, and then you finally find a logical and preferably legal path to your goal.
Does that benefit anything with Simple Construction Software or your entrepreneurial endeavours? Learning loads about consumer rights. At least you won’t get sued for breaching anything in the consumer rights. I didn’t say don’t breach, but what they claim and what really happens are often two different things. Simple Construction is all about automating the contract process, increasing visibility and collaboration. So while I didn’t select this hobby specifically, I think it helps me understand how contracts look, drawing experience from different areas and industries, and how those contracts can be exploited, and apply that same kind of logic and thinking back in day-to-day business.
Absolutely. Understanding what can go wrong helps you prevent it from happening. No one goes into a relationship expecting it will break down and end in divorce. But when it does, you have to look into the contract you originally signed.
Where can people find out more about you and Simple Construction Software? LinkedIn, just ping me on there, and then we can take it from there. Thanks so much for tuning in to this episode of the Bricks and Bites podcast. If you’re enjoying the show, please feel free to rate, subscribe and leave a review wherever you listen to your podcasts. We really appreciate it, and we’ll catch you in the next episode.