Builk to spread overseas with SCG injection
Builk One Group Co, a construction technology startup, received funding from AddVenture, a corporate venture capital subsidiary of Siam Cement Group (SCG), to strengthen its overseas expansion.
It plans to improve the service with artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain technology before expanding the business from five to 10 Asean countries.
"Having SCG as a new strategic investor will help us speed up our business expansion in Southeast Asia," said Patai Padungtin, chief executive of Builk One Group Co.
The investment amount was not disclosed, but Mr Patai said AddVenture holds less than 10% of Builk and does not have a seat on the board.
SCG has a strong business network that allows Builk access to potential customers and save on operation costs by using SCG's Asean operations network.
Builk has served over 25,000 small and medium-sized contractors in five countries including Thailand, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia.
Mr Patai said the company has a complete product portfolio covering developers, contractors, subcontractor suppliers and manufacturers.
Builk's business models include Pojjaman2, a cloud-based enterprise resource planning system for large-sized contractors; Builk.com, an online cost control system that is free of charge for small and medium enterprise contractors; and Yello Smart Purchase, an online system for contractors to purchase construction materials.
"Yello expects to have sales transactions worth 1 billion baht this year from 300 million baht in 2017," he said.
For construction material shops, Builk also has a separate sales management and customer relation system called Jubili.
The company recently launched Kwanjai, a chatbot for property developers to communicate with residents about maintenance and repair services.
Mr Patai said Builk aims to become a fintech firm for construction by offering credit rating and lending services to every player in the entire construction supply chain.
Builk has a partnership with Chulalongkorn University and Sirindhorn International Institute of Technology for R&D in applying AI to analyse data for credit scoring and to implement smart contracts with blockchain for increased trust in security data.
By the end of this year, the company plans for every product to be profitable and in 2019 all products will be integrated into procurement systems for construction, including e-bidding.
Joshua Pas, managing director of AddVentures, said the contractor and construction materials business has continuously grown in Thailand and Asean. In 2017, the total market value of construction materials among Thai contractors was estimated to be worth more than 68 billion baht. Over 75% of the value was generated by small-to-medium-sized contractors who still run their business with an inefficient procurement and cost management system.
He said Builk's technology can help solve these pain points and enhance the efficiency of procurement and cost management systems for an estimated 80,000 contractors in Thailand alone.