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From Australia to Silicon Valley: Leigh Jasper’s Amazing Journey with Aconex (Part 4)

Posted on Sunday, Nov 4th 2012

Sramana: How long did it take you to get to a critical mass of Australian construction projects transitioned to the Aconex platform?

Leigh Jasper: It took a few years to really build it up. Ultimately we served our clients well. The business has grown phenomenally. In 2001 we raised money and started getting some publicity with clients. We ran into September 11th in the middle of raising capital. We took a long time to do that second round because nobody wanted to invest on the back of September 11th, so we did pull back on the total number of staff. We were able to get through that period and raise $1.8 million in round 2. From that point on, we have been able to grow the business.

In 2002 and 2003 things were pretty slow. From 2004 to 2007 we really saw a huge ramp. In 2004 we started reaching out to international markets like London, Dubai, and Hong Kong. In the Middle East in particular we had phenomenal growth through 2008. We rode the building boom in Dubai and followed that. We also had rapid growth out of Hong Kong. The U.K. was more difficult, but we made progress. The economic downturn of 2008 slowed us. We are now in a phase where projects are picking up again, and our growth is reflecting that.

Sramana: What is a road map of the revenue during that time?

Leigh Jasper: In 2003 we probably brought in about a million dollars. By 2005 we were doing $10 million. By 2007 we were doing over $30 million in revenue. We are now running toward $50 million this year. The business really inflected around 2003. That is when people started using the product. Our biggest challenge was keeping up with sales. We were selling more than we could service. A lot of the reason we kept raising new rounds of capital was to keep up with sales.

Sramana: Can you talk to me about the competitive landscape of the construction management software space?

Leigh Jasper: When we started in the early days, we were primarily competing against spreadsheets and email. We are now competing with people who use internal systems to manage information. Those are systems like SharePoint. Our clients work to understand how we differentiate from internal documentation systems.

We argue that if you are running a project, then you are sending information outside of your business so you need an independent, neutral, web-based system to manage your information. There are some competitors in our market who do what we do but they are smaller than us. Our real competition is people using their own processes and internal documentation software systems to manage their projects.

Sramana: I know Autodesk has made forays into this business. Who else is there?

Leigh Jasper: Autodesk has been a direct competitor. In many ways our challenge has been that we do not have enough direct competitors. We have had to get people to realize that the way they manage their projects is not efficient. Our biggest challenge is to convince people they need a way to manage the sharing of information.

This segment is part 4 in the series : From Australia to Silicon Valley: Leigh Jasper's Amazing Journey with Aconex
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