SymTerra, a communications platform for the construction project supply chain, has closed its first seed round at $1.7m, with a global investor base led by Samaipata, with participation from Nemetschek, Pi Labs and Accel.
The ‘Slack for construction’ platform is designed to eliminate construction uncertainty through its communication, collaboration and visibility tool. Over 30% of construction costs are directly related to re-work and delays, as a result of miscommunication on site – this contributes to the sector’s $280bn re-work issue.
Co-founder Sarah Crawley comments: “We are seeking to eliminate one of the industry’s most costly issues – in construction, what you don’t know really can hurt you. We’re improving site communication where it matters most – at source and across multiple stakeholders in the project supply chain. Construction is one of the last industries to shake off analogue methods, and today, if you asked 100 random people on a site, they would all give you a different status report. Information that is incomplete, incorrect, outdated and often just absent, contributes to delays and cost impact aside, is a major cause of stress for those on site. We’ve been there.
“This funding, with the clear support of a great investor base, allows us to grow our team, launch our freemium subscription and expand the platform. Our vision is to become the industry standard for construction site communication.”
Establishing and streamlining the flow of data from site teams needs to be easy, instant and intuitive, and built for workers. SymTerra’s co-founders are Sarah Crawley and John Ryan, a ‘wife and husband’ duo with 25 years of site management and engineering experience in construction, across both major infrastructure projects and high-spec medical projects. Sarah first developed the platform in 2019, having completed a series of intensive care ward refurbishments for Mace, and soon brought on husband John to help grow the business.
Jose del Barrio, General Partner at Samaipata comments: “We are thrilled to be leading SymTerra’s Seed round on their mission to become the site communication pipeline for construction with real-time information sharing. We believe Sarah and John, with their wealth of experience in construction project management, have the perfect combination of drive, skills and experience to tackle this huge industry.”
Tanja Kufner, Head of Startups & Venture Investments at the Nemetschek Group said: “We are very happy to have participated in this investment round. It aligns perfectly with our strategy of driving innovation and digitalization throughout the entire value chain of construction. The global reach of Nemetschek can also support SymTerra to bring their solution to a large number of customers, making the industry more efficient and productive.”
Hugo Silva, Senior Investment Manager at Pi Labs, said: “We have watched SymTerra go from strength to strength since we first met them and on our Growth Programme, demonstrating their ability to win high profile clients and become a technology leader in a sector historically slow to digitalise. Sarah, John and the team are addressing the very real issue of miscommunication and uncertainty on construction sites; SymTerra’s innovative platform will bring tangible improvements to construction projects in terms of duration, cost and ease. We look forward to seeing what the future holds for SymTerra as it further expands with this funding milestone.”
Rika Christanto, Accel Starter investor comments: “Optimizing the massive and traditional construction industry requires data, but to get that data, you need to build a product that workers are willing to use. With their deep industry experience, the team at SymTerra has overcome this core challenge by building a mobile-first platform with built-in virality. SymTerra has the potential to streamline site operations, automate data analytics and processes, and ultimately help construction companies make better decisions everyday and communicate much more efficiently at scale.”
Since launch in March 2021, SymTerra has built a client portfolio that currently includes £5bn worth of construction and infrastructure projects for industry-leading organisations Thames Water, MTR, Kier, Cambridge University, Balfour Beatty and Transport for London.
In the first 6 months it was shortlisted on a Kier project by New Civil Engineer for the best smart data collection Responding to significant demand from current clients as well as exploring opportunities in new regions, SymTerra will be seeking to grow its team to 25 people by the end of the year, tripling current headcount.
This year, SymTerra formed part of Pi Lab’s 2022 Growth Programme, and Sarah was recently recognised by the Mayor of London’s 2020 TechInvest as one of London’s top ten leading female innovators.