By Dominic Sévigny, President & COO, SmartUse Solutions
SmartUse is a cloud collaborative construction app for marking-up and sharing blueprints in real-time. It ensures that all project’s team members work with the most up-to-date version of the drawings. The AECOO industry is still at the beginning of the digitalization transformation and it is especially true for small businesses that still print drawings. SmartUse can help construction companies increase productivity by going paperless, while mitigating risks like costly rework.
Construction companies who leverage technology subscribe to platforms like SmartUse, since construction projects always start with drawings. The SmartUse app shows construction professionals that their phones and tablets are not only good for personal needs but also for their day to day business needs. SmartUse helps project team members move away from the current print/marking-up/scan workflow by using a simple mobile device to collaborate remotely between the office and the field.
SmartUse is collecting PDF drawings in different languages, with different types of symbols from different countries. There are many challenges with this,such as doing Optical Characters Recognition, or OCR, on different types of drawings, managing backup hardware for an additional 1TB of data each month, and encrypting everything to keep all of the data safe. By far, the most important aspect is the customer’s data location. With many different countries’ laws, it is very important for us to prove to our customers that we stored their data in their country and also that it will not travel to a different country. We measure our success by having no security breach since the beginning and by maintaining a performant software.
The SmartUse per-user subscription business model is the same model since SmartUse was founded. In 2021, we are adding an “unlimited reviewers” option for companies that subscribe to 20 users or more. This new business model is a way for our customers to collaborate easily with their subcontractors or external users for free. This model increases our user ecosystem and our Annual Recurrent Revenues, or ARR, which helps future financing. Our 2020 ARR fast growth forced us to put in place a SaaS billing software with a complete synchronization between our CRM and accounting systems. The SaaS business model is now understood by some traditional banks so it was easier in 2020 to get a new line of credit based on SaaS metrics like the MRR (Monthly Recurrent Revenues), LTV (Life Time Value) and Churn rate. With the 2020 COVID-19 situation, all software companies that saw their ARR increase have been categorized as “COVID-19 proof”. This categorization is desirable to potential investors when going for a VC venture, which is what SmartUse is planning in 2021.