Snaptrude investors are doubling down on challenging legacy building design platforms
Image credits: Snaptrod
Snaptrude — a startup aiming to compete against traditional platforms in the architectural, engineering, and construction (AEC) design sector, including Autodesk, Trimble, and Nemetschek — with its modern approach and cloud-based offerings, raised $14 million in a Series A round. 10 months later Just announced its initial funding.
With Foundamental and Accel leading its Series A round, the six-year-old startup has raised $21.8 million, including a $6.6 million seed round led by the same investors in January.
Snaptrude offers a modern, cloud-based software suite aimed at architects, designers, developers and contractors to design and build their buildings in a real-time, collaborative and interoperable environment. This is different from legacy tools, such as Autodesk’s Revit and AutoCAD, where users don’t get dedicated controls and features to collaborate with colleagues or gain interoperability, the startup said.
The platform acts as an operating system for design and construction workflows, similar to how Figma works for designers. Although the problem is known and documented by many designers, architects and other stakeholders in the Building Information Modeling (BIM) field, Snaptrude is a rare new-age startup that offers a complete alternative to traditional solutions.
Whether it’s a file coming from Revit, Rhino, SketchUp, or a simple PDF, Snaptrude can process design drafts from any of the widely used platforms. Likewise, designers can export their designs from Snaptrude to Revit, without losing any data, the startup said.
Founded in 2017, Snaptrude launched its platform out of beta earlier this year – after testing and getting feedback from thousands of users around the world. The startup is now looking to take it to the next level.
“The speed of product development has gotten to the point where we’re starting to see dozens and dozens of companies globally working with us on a very close basis to be able to drive adoption. That’s really made an impact,” Altaf Janihar, founder and CEO of Snaptrude, said in an interview. “On the global vision of what Snaptrude intends to do.”
The New York-headquartered startup said it has increased its user base from more than 6,000 users to more than 20,000 since January. These users belong to more than 30 countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, India, and others.
Like other options in its category, Snaptrude is available on a freemium model. A number of its early users are early enterprise customers who expand their accounts over time and move from the free version to its paid option. Likewise, the startup has expanded its presence to include a few dozen enterprise clients globally, and its client base includes Hines, WeWork, and Square Yards.
To get more customers and achieve strong retention on the platform, Snaptrude introduced a new version of its product called Sketch to BIM. As its name suggests, the update allows users to create 3D BIM models from the initial drawing stage of a construction project, allowing greater control over the design process and delivering an improved data set on top. This will allow users to replace their current design tools and consider Snaptrude as the ultimate solution.
“We’ve already proven with dozens and dozens of global companies that they were able to replace it and work in their ecosystem — not just for test use cases but for actual production use cases where they designed real buildings using the platform,” Ganihar said.
Snaptrude also adds artificial intelligence to help achieve more efficiency. However, since the design and architecture involve copyright, the startup uses existing underlying models, such as LLaMAs and GPTs, as well as legacy know-how of companies to offer them AI integration along with ensuring the privacy of their data.
Janihar explained that ancient knowledge is what companies have used in their current projects. The startup will use artificial intelligence to resurface that knowledge through text prompts to provide access to needed information.
“This is enough data for companies to start making decisions. . . . All of this stuff is pretty standard, and you can start reusing it in your new designs.”
AI integration will help companies raise specific questions, such as cost changes in the last few design iterations, or even broader prompts, such as a request to draft an apartment building in a specific city, and get quick results from the platform.
While the market response to the latest updates is yet to be determined, Snaptrude has generated investor interest twice in less than 12 months, when fundraising has become a challenge even for late-stage projects. The reason the startup is raising fresh capital even after raising a reasonable initial amount during the slowdown is because of its expected product, Janihar said.
“What has been very easy for us is that we know what the journey looks like from here and the foundations we have proven. Now we just need to keep going deeper,” he stressed. “We are not a pioneer at the moment.”
“It’s a very capital-intensive business, and it takes a lot of time to build that IP. Even in the past, it took Autodesk 8 to 10 years to get a version of the product that dominates today. We’re at that point where we can accelerate a lot of these efforts .
With the new funding, Snaptrude is looking to expand its current headcount of 53 people by growing its product and engineering teams. It is also seeking to expand its go-to-market strategy and global reach.
“Snaptrude has emerged as the global leader in creating the next-generation architecture stack for the AEC industry. We are thrilled to double down on our partnership with Altaf and Snaptrude and look forward to seeing how the platform grows to address this pressing challenge,” Shubhankar Bhattacharya, general partner at Foundamental, said in a prepared statement. .
Currently, Snaptrude, which has its office in Bengaluru, India, has its main market in the US, followed by the UK and Europe. It plans to focus more on these markets to expand its business.
“Snaptrude’s innovative conceptual design methodology, coupled with their impressive market momentum, is solidifying their position as a leader in driving transformation within the AEC sector. We embrace their vision wholeheartedly and are thrilled to remain steadfast in our support of their journey from Expansion and innovation.”