Autodesk snaps up S.F. construction planning software company in $875 million deal

Autodesk construction planning software

Autodesk snaps up S.F. construction planning software company in $875 million deal

Autodesk snaps up S.F. construction planning software company in $875 million deal

Autodesk is snapping up San Francisco-based construction software company PlanGrid in a $875 million cash deal. The move is intended to bolster Autodesk's cloud-based construction platform.

San Rafael-based Autodesk, which makes software used in architecture and manufacturing, will be integrating PlanGrid’s software with its Autodesk Revit software and Autodesk BIM 360 construction management platform.

PlanGrid’s software is designed to offer real-time collaboration between various parties, such as general contractors, sub-contractors and building owners. Many contractors still use paper blueprints.

“There’s a massive labor shortage, there’s more work and construction schedules are compressed,” Tracy Young, CEO of PlanGrid, told the Business Times in October. “The only way to help with that is to use tools to be more productive and software is a big piece of that.”

The construction industry has taken so long to digitize, Young said, because it's only since about 2010 that construction workers started to use mobile devices on construction sites. Construction companies used desktop software before that, but it wasn't integrated into the actual build site.

Autodesk snaps up S.F. construction planning software company in $875 million deal

The deal is expected to close by Jan. 31.

“As designing and making converge, Autodesk is connecting project data from design through construction and putting predictive insights into the hands of contractors,” Andrew Anagnost, Autodesk CEO, said in a statement. “There is a huge opportunity to streamline all aspects of construction through digitization and automation. The acquisition of PlanGrid will accelerate our efforts to improve construction workflows for every stakeholder in the construction process.”

San Francisco-based PlanGrid is seven years old and has approximately 400 workers across various locations. There are no current plans to relocate any of its employees, according to an Autodesk spokeswoman.

PlanGrid raised a total of $61.1 million in venture funding from Sequoia Capital and Tenaya Capital. And according to PlanGrid's website, former Autodesk CEO Carol Bartz served as an outside company board member.

After founding the company in 2011, PlanGrid captured the title of the No. 1 mobile construction app five years later, according to its founder and CEO Tracy Young, in a previous interview with the San Francisco Business Times. She noted that the company, a multi-million dollar business, was the largest repository in the world for digital blueprints, with over 50 million blueprint sheets in PlanGrid's cloud.

“At PlanGrid, we have a relentless focus on empowering construction workers to build as productively as possible,” Young said in a statement, following the merger announcement. “One of the first steps to improving construction productivity is the adoption of digital workflows with centralized data. PlanGrid has excelled at building beautiful, simple field collaboration software, while Autodesk has focused on connecting design to construction. Together, we can drive greater productivity and predictability on the jobsite.”

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