Sramana: What percentage of your business is in the U.S. today?
Leigh Jasper: On a bookings basis it is around 15% and growing fast. Within a couple of years, I think it will be the biggest part of our business. The U.S. market is just very large. We have 35 offices globally with 400 people. We go where the projects are. I was in South America last week working on some mining projects.
Sramana: There is a big construction boom in China. The U.S. has been a bad market for construction because of the financial crisis.
Leigh Jasper: The U.S. is still a very large market. The Chinese market is one of the fastest growing, and we have been there for close to 8 years. We are servicing that market, but there are adoption issues. In the U.S. we see a market that, while depressed, is still very large. The willingness to adopt solutions is also much stronger in the U.S. In China there are parts of the market that are not ready to adopt cloud-based solutions.
We are in India, which is a huge opportunity as well. I was there a month ago where we have an office in Bangalore. India has been a great market for us. They are more willing to adopt that China.
Sramana: You’re right, they are a tech-savvy market that has a lot of construction going on.
Leigh Jasper: We have been there for 7 years, and we extended our presence there recently. We have always seen ourselves as a global business, and we will service projects wherever they are. We are investing in other markets as well. There are strong markets in Asia.
Sramana: What kind of bolt-on software would be of interest to Aconex?
Leigh Jasper: We are looking for systems dealing with mobility. We are also looking at anything that helps us manage lots of data. We have vast amounts of data we have collected over the years that tells us how the construction industry works. Anybody who can help us understand that data and provide value back to our clients is going to be someone we want to talk to. The third area we are looking at is technologies around 3-D design. That is changing the way our industry works. We are looking for project related tools that can work on our platform.
We made our first acquisition earlier in the year. They took information from Aconex and handed it back to a project owner to deliver all the information that they would need to operate the facility. We partnered with a company that provided the operation and maintenance documents to the new facility owners. We ended up acquiring that technology a few months ago.
We are a software as a service company, and ideally anything we look at should be web based and focused on our industry.
Sramana: This is an interesting story. Thank you for sharing, and I love stories where innovations come from outside of Silicon Valley. Congratulations on your success.