Sablono uses big data to help construction companies solve project management problems and deliver buildings on time. The German startup developed a software solution called BIMtime, a collaborative scheduling tool that assists organizations with the set up of complex construction projects.
The startup was founded in 2013 as a spin-off from the Technical University of Berlin. It is now a member of the SAP Startup Focus program and is seed-funded by Hasso Plattner Ventures. Sablono is also one of the 50 CODE_n finalists and in today’s interview we talk to the CEO and co-founder, Felix Enge.
When thinking of big data, the construction industry wouldn’t normally instantly come to mind. How can this technology benefit the construction sector?
The construction sector is one of the most analog, or non-digital industries in the world and keeping track of complex building projects is a very challenging task for the people involved. Often, the full complexity of a project is not completely considered in the planning phase and the initial schedules and cost estimates don’t reflect all relevant details. New technology can have a huge impact in this respect by connecting a variety of key data sources from the beginning and by enabling the people to systematically analyze past and recent projects. If this information can be made accessible in real time, project managers can better plan, decide or reschedule – based on the very latest developments and past experience. This will help to significantly increase the certainty of construction projects and will make estimates and schedules more reliable and accurate.
How does BIMtime work?
Sablono BIMtime is the first software tool to create reliable project schedules based on a virtual 3D building model. The components of the model are associated with Sablono-certified building processes, which contain all relevant information on the manufacturing process of every single component. The result is a significantly more reliable schedule with a thousand-fold increase in the level of detail. Throughout all construction phases, the schedule remains connected to the 3D building model and is automatically updated if a change or delay occurs.
Sablono’s goal is to provide an online platform for managing and analyzing multiple projects in parallel. On the construction site, a detailed monitoring system will update the schedule at high frequency. Also, information on the actual construction process will be gathered, analyzed and integrated in real time.
What are the main challenges a startup like Sablono faces?
The main challenge for a startup like ours is to find the right timing, strategy and access to the market. Because this all stems from a research project, a professional mapping exercise had to be done to work out whether or not the requirements and expectations of the market can be met. Also, finding the right way to finance your company is quite challenging. Especially in Germany, access to venture capital can be difficult and can take much longer than you would expect in the first place.
What are your expectations for CODE_n and the future of Sablono?
In recent years, CODE_n has proven to be one of the most important entrepreneur and innovation contests and we are delighted to be among the 2014 finalists. It’s a great opportunity for us to present our startup at such a prestigious event like CeBIT and we are looking forward to a fantastic booth in Hall 16. Also, we’re looking forward to meeting lots of other interesting new startups, as well as their products and innovations, and we hope we’ll draw plenty of attention to Sablono BIMtime.