Congratulations to Fieldwire on Their $300M Acquisition by the Hilti Group!
Fieldwire Becomes the Third Largest Acquisition in Construction Startups
Today we congratulate Fieldwire on their acquisition by global construction leader, the Hilti Group. With this $300 million acquisition, Fieldwire becomes the third largest construction startup to be acquired following the acquisitions of PlanGrid and Level Set.
In September 2019, we led the Series C investment in Fieldwire, a vertical SaaS platform dedicated to managing construction job sites. Fieldwire was growing rapidly, having established “beachhead” with a field management platform that customers loved. Given the construction industry’s reputation for resisting technology, this was no small feat. But construction is a massive multi-trillion-dollar industry. A business bringing the right product to the market, built specifically to meet the needs of the industry, can find enormous upside. We estimated the TAM for Fieldwire’s initial wedge selling into construction workers in the field or onsite to be more than $1 billion in the U.S. alone.
Given the size of the opportunity in front of them, their strong founding team, and incredible product, we were excited to back Fieldwire.
Strong founding team:
Fieldwire was founded by two former engineers, CEO Yves Frinault and COO Javed Singha, who previously worked together at French gaming company Ubisoft. They complemented each other well. From the beginning, we liked Yves’ strong product and founder DNA. Having studied mechanical engineering and computer science at Ecole Polytechnique (a top university in France), he then earned a Master’s degree in Construction Engineering Management at Stanford. Javed, on the other hand, earned an MBA from Cornell and had a strong instinct for operations. They’ve proven to be a powerful one-two punch and have in turn recruited a great product and go-to-market team around them.
Strong Product-Market fit:
We spoke to a number of Fieldwire customers as we considered our initial investment, and their feedback was off the charts. Thanks to Fieldwire, they say, their everyday work experience and productivity are transformed. Across the board, customers praise Fieldwire over its competitors, citing better performance, simple onboarding, and ease of use. Fieldwire allows workers to be more efficient from the field, shaving off more than an hour of work per user every day. The product is simple enough for first-timers to use and powerful enough to meet the complex needs of the largest construction projects in the world. Once on board, customers stick. Their positive net retention numbers (over 120% per year) indicate that the Fieldwire platform creates real value that grows as adoption and support grow inside an organization.
Importantly, Yves and Javed were also smart to capitalize on Fieldwire’s stickiness and network effects. They implemented a unique GTM strategy that drove mobile app downloads among individuals or smaller groups within larger construction enterprises, allowing them to expand on existing deals over time. To date, the company has served more than 1,000,000 projects globally.
Alignment with Hilti
Before pursuing an acquisition of Fieldwire, the Hilti Group was both an investor (Series B round) and a strategic partner of Fieldwire. Fieldwire’s mission to be the world’s most trusted software platform for the construction industry will serve the global customers of the Hilti Group well. The acquisition brings together Fieldwire’s best-in-class product and Hilti’s market reach to drive productivity among contractors and at construction sites.
A Great Fit for Menlo
As a firm, we’ve made a number of investments in vertical SaaS. Fieldwire embodies the three characteristics Menlo believes predict success in SaaS. We refer to these companies as “trifecta” companies, businesses that are (1) digitizing and automating antiquated workflows; (2) generating proprietary data that position them to become systems of record in their space and leveraging that data to serve other players in the market; and (3) with benefits that serve multiple stakeholders and create network effects. As a trifecta company, Fieldwire was part of an impressive roster of Menlo-backed category leaders that include trifecta companies Benchling, Carta, Qualia, Indio, and Enable.
Around four years ago, we initiated a thesis “deep dive” into the construction industry. Fieldwire was our second investment in the category and really helped us get on the map. As with any successful thesis area, we now have a cluster of great construction-focused portfolio companies including Canvas, Hover, OpenSpace, and a Series A that is soon to be announced. And we are far from done.
Congratulations to Yves, Javed, and the team at Fieldwire. We are excited about your potential to drive innovation around the globe through this acquisition.