Fieldwire is a mobile construction management platform designed for the jobsite. Comprised of a team of construction and computer science experts, Fieldwire provides workers in the field with the collaboration tools they need. To learn about how Fieldwire’s customers save 5 hours a week per person, read more in our Partner Spotlight with Marielle Price, Director of Customer Success at Fieldwire.
What is the story behind the creation of Fieldwire?
In 2008, Co-Founder & CEO Yves Frinault was working on his master’s in construction management at Stanford. He saw that a lot of technology was being developed for the design phase of projects, but nothing was really catering to the workers out in the field each day. Since the 1960s, there hasn’t been much ground gained in terms of productivity in construction, whereas other industries have gotten far more efficient. He knew there was a lot that new technologies could do to improve time on the job site, where 90% of your effort and money is being spent.
Fast forward a few years later, as smartphones and mobile devices were becoming more widespread, Yves met Co-Founder Javed Singha. He had attended MIT and had experience in engineering and manufacturing, and together they were able to develop an app that can easily get information into the hands of guys out there in the field.
How has Fieldwire grown since its inception in 2013?
We started out as a very small, agile team of engineers. Once we attracted a few large clients who found us organically, we began to grow quite rapidly. Since starting out, we have conducted more than a thousand interviews to find the right people for our team, and we now have a very solid group of talented people. In the first year and a half, while building that team, we’ve more than quadrupled the amount of user projects on the platform. We currently support over 50,000 projects, so it’s been a great trajectory of growth for us.
Why was it important to base Fieldwire in San Francisco?
We really needed to hire the top engineering talent, and being in the Bay Area, there are a lot of people who want to be a part of new, creative opportunities. There’s also a lot of funding options in San Francisco. Yves’ Stanford connections had a hand in choosing this city, there’s a great network here as well. San Francisco is also where our co-founders first met. After graduating in 2008, instead of going into the down-turning construction industry, Yves started working for software companies and met Javed.
What are some challenges you see facing the construction and technology industries?
In terms of general construction, you have a minimum of 30 different companies that come together and work on a project, between owners, general contractors, architects, designers, and more. It needs a lot of collaboration and coordination, so finding tools that are accessible to the entire team is critical to keep everyone on the same page. Equally as important is the ability to integrate between the best-in-breed programs – being able to have the best program that you’re using for one phase of a project and integrating it with other programs in other phases.
At this point, with robotics and automation playing a large role in every industry, people are trying to replace human-based jobs, and because the industry has historically been very inefficient, it’s hard to see those jobs being replaced. One of our goals is to make sure those skilled tradesmen that have specific knowledge can get back to work rather than waiting around for information about their crews and schedules to be delivered. We want to make those guys work more efficiently so they can keep their jobs as the industry evolves.
How has being a member of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce helped Fieldwire?
We’ve made great contacts and have been able to work with other partners to stay informed on what’s new in the industry and see what others are working on. We’ve learned a lot about the challenges people are facing in this and other industries from the panel discussions and networking opportunities organized by the Chamber of Commerce.
Fieldwire is committed to providing the construction industry with the latest and most relevant content. Because of that, we like to engage with professionals in the space 1:1 when possible. We participate in events like BUILDSF, conferences like Lean Construction Congress, and even organize our own events like the upcoming Changing Construction: Technology in the Built Space. We want to make sure we foster and engage in conversations that will move the industry forward.
What are some projects that Fieldwire has been a part of here in San Francisco?
Webcor Builders, one of our San Francisco clients, is working on the Moscone Center expansion, which is definitely a very complex project because it’s such a large public space and continues to operate during construction. I was just on-site a couple of weeks ago and they have to shut down two lanes at a time on Mission Street and do full coordination while standing in the tunnel between Moscone North and Moscone South. That’s a project that requires a lot of coordination to make sure they are working with the public and that everyone is safe.
We have quite a few projects in San Francisco working with clients from over 100 different countries. We’ve seen some of those companies come here as part of joint ventures with a local firm, sharing ideas with different companies and working on a project together. It’s a great place to see teams come together and work towards a shared goal to learn as much as they can from one another.