I had the pleasure of talking with Ali El Hariri, the co-founder & CEO of BulldozAIR, a French construction project management software startup. In this podcast episode, Ali shares his insights on how to succeed with digitalization in construction. He also talks about the journey of his company.
Here are some takeaways from the interview:
- Construction projects are unique, but all the problems and many of the defects are mainly the same.
- It’s much easier to digitalize a company already working in an organized and systematized way than a company that expects software to make them organized.
- Construction tools must serve the field workers since that’s where the value creation happens.
- Digitalization enables remote monitoring and control of construction for all the stakeholders.
- BIM visualization is not a priority for clients. First and foremost, they want to use technology for planning.
- It does not make sense to use tools to manage punch lists efficiently. It makes more sense to use technology to avoid problems that end up in the punch lists.
- Engineering firms that use BulldozAIR software have saved between seven and 10 hours per week, per engineer, in reporting tasks.
Graduated from a French engineering school named ESTP Paris (Ecole Spéciale des Travaux Publics, du Bâtiment et de l’Industrie), Ali El Hariri has been immersed in the world of building and public works since his childhood. Indeed, he accompanied his architect father on building sites for a long time when he was young, then he spent more than 6 years in construction project management as an engineer at Bouygues Construction. At that time, he noticed that the multiplication of participants on a site led to obvious collaboration problems and delays that were very costly.
Faced with this observation, strengthened by his years of experience in the field and spurred on by his desire to be an entrepreneur, Ali decided to embark on an entrepreneurial journey by tackling the construction market, with the aim of digitalizing a sector that is still considered too traditional and with a lack of attractiveness.
This is how the french proptech startup BulldozAIR was born in 2013.
BulldozAIR is a French proptech start-up, one of the first to be selected by Y Combinator (Promo 2016), the prestigious San Francisco accelerator that has boosted tech gems such as AirBnb, Stripe and Dropbox.
BulldozAIR offers a collaborative and digital solution linking all the trades involved in a construction project on a web or mobile platform giving access to all the information related to the project.
Today, the start-up has attracted big companies such as Carrefour, Chanel, Total, and Bouygues Immobilier and has proven its worth: a minimum of 25% productivity gains. After having raised €4M last November, BulldozAIR intends to double its workforce and continue its international development, notably by launching itself on the North African market.