Alexandre. Brochot e1632145788144

French startup battles construction’s productivity gap

Construction’s long battle with stagnating productivity growth was the driving force behind startup Saqara’s recent $10.6m Series A fundraise.

Saqara aims to make procurement more efficient by digitising the entire process with one bit of software.

Saqara in a nutshell

What it does | Facilitates the tendering process for projects in the building and construction industry, from their initiation to the signing of contractual documents

Aim | Drive efficiencies in construction by replacing traditional methods with digital tools

Why? | Saqara cites a McKinsey study from 2017 showing that globally construction has recorded 1% productivity growth annually for two decades, compared to manufacturing’s 3.4%; this is particularly important – as investor A/O PropTech argues – in the context of inflationary pressures and material shortages

Target market | Project managers, contracting authorities, general contractors and construction companies

How it works | Saqara acts as a hub to connect construction industry professionals: users can issue, track and sign invitations to tender; manage budgets and schedules and communicate with partners. Different stakeholders can use the platform to collaborate and store data and documents related to the project. Contractors can also search for projects based on their criteria.

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Led by A/O PropTech, Saqara’s fundraise was the largest French Series A yet for a startup in construction tech.

The company, launched in 2018, has had a hand in 4,500 projects totalling €18bn in the French construction market. With 120 employees and 500 clients, Saqara said its success was due to its role in digitising bid management, minimising admin and reducing costs for its users.

Saqara plans to accelerate its international growth by expanding to four countries a year. Investment from the Series A fundraise will help fuel its expansion into Germany, Netherlands, the UK and southern Europe alongside further product development.

Alexandre Brochot, president of Saqara, said: “This financing round will be indispensable to our goal to continuously innovate and develop our products and to offer our current and future clients an unrivalled quality of service and user experience that will fully meet their expectations.

“In the long term, we want to play a key role in the digitalisation of the sector to ensure that the everyday activities of professionals in the construction industry are made easier while leaving a positive mark on the world.”

Othmane Zrikem, chief data officer of A/O PropTech, added: “In the context of inflationary pressure and material shortages, there has never been a more important time for property developers and construction firms to digitise their processes and drive efficiencies. Saqara’s platform makes that possible.”

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