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C-Suite Corner: Procore founders cite focus as key to success

C-Suite Corner: Procore founders cite focus as key to success

by ROB McKINNEY, aka ConAppGuru, LEED AP, BD+C | June 2, 2015

Last month, I had the honor of delivering the keynote presentation for the inaugural Groundbreak Procore Users’ Conference. While at Procore’s headquarters in Carpinteria, CA, I had the opportunity to sit down with CEO Tooey Courtemanche, and President Steve Zahm to learn a bit about the history of the company, and where they believe it is headed.

CAG: How did you get the idea for creating Procore’s construction software?

Courtemanche: More than a decade ago, I founded Procore upon the realization that the current state of construction project management techniques were not effectively leveraging the power of the Internet. After beginning my professional life as a builder, I transitioned into the technology industry in the San Francisco Bay Area, where I owned and operated a successful web applications firm. I learned from this experience of managing these software developers that the process of software development requires constant practice—it’s a craft. The best part of my job is creatively working with great employees and clients to create superior software designed for the customer.

CEO Tooey Courtemanche.

CEO Tooey Courtemanche.

In 2003, I met Steve Zahm. Together, we wrote the business plan for Procore and began working on the first prototype. I sat in jobsite trailers and watched how field workflows were actually completed. From there, we started building the Procore application, adding one feature at a time. We then secured a few local home builders as our early clients.

President Steve Zahm.

President Steve Zahm.

Having this dual experience in construction and technology, I began the development of the web-based software that is now Procore. Hundreds of thousands of construction professionals worldwide actively now manage their projects with our cloud-based construction project management software.

CAG: What is different about the Procore solution?

Courtemanche: One word - Focus. We are focused on delivering the best solutions for our customers. The best example of this is our focus on construction project management instead of trying to be all things to all people. For example, we integrate with accounting platforms such as Sage 300 CRE, rather than try to offer a general ledger accounting system. By connecting Procore to industry-leading solutions, we are able to eliminate silos of unconnected data, enable our customers to stick with best-in-class solutions that aren’t our speciality, and invest our resources in building the best possible construction project management tools.

We also concentrate our development efforts on maintaining our position as the best app for managing construction projects on mobile devices. Unlike other solutions that offer multiple apps to manage different aspects of project management, Procore offers a single powerful app for either iOS or Android. The Procore app allows our clients to manage their projects from any location, whether or not they’re connected to the Internet. We’re effectively untethering our users from both their computers and the need to be connected online. That means they can be on the job site with their phone or tablet and get work done, whether or not they’re online or down in the sub-basement with no connectivity at all.

Procore’s mobile apps put real-time project data within reach of the entire project team. Team members can diagnose problems as they arise, make decisions on the fly, and collaborate to resolve issues quickly to reduce rework and escalate productivity.

CAG: What’s next for the platform?

Zahm: Procore’s app is going to continue to get easier to use, and we’re going to continue to extend our lead as the most powerful mobile app for construction. For example, just our innovations in drawing management include improvements in speed, functionality, and sophisticated tools such as optical character recognition (OCR) for automated drawing uploads and titling.

But Procore is a full suite of 18 different tools for everything from document management to field tools to project controls and contract management. We are offering the industry a platform instead of a single-point solution, so that a single app can be used for the entire construction project process from bidding to budgeting through the course of construction to close-out and the delivery of real-time as-built digital plans to the facility owner.

The author is a prolific tech blogger, speaker, consultant, and founder of ConAppGuru, a website on a mission to educate the AEC community about real and potential uses for tech in construction. By day, he is a construction risk engineer in Atlanta for XL Catlin of Dublin, Ireland .

A member of AGC-IT Forum's national steering committee, McKinney can be reached via email at constructionappguru@gmail.com

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