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A European PropTech View, with Felipe Ávila da Costa, Infraspeak

30.4.21

Felipe Ávila da Costa, Infraspeak
Welcome back to ‘A European PropTech View, by Dilan Omari-Clark’ our Q&A focused on European PropTech’s.

Our Q&A series is an opportunity for our European team, headed up by Dilan Omari-Clark to discuss all things PropTech, Start-ups, and Career with different founders from across the continent. Each week we will ask PropTech innovators burning questions and quiz them about their product, we hope you find it insightful and enjoy getting to know the founders as much as we have.

 

This week we have been in touch with Felipe Ávila da Costa co-founder & CEO at Infraspeak.

Infraspeak is a global tech company transforming the world of facilities management with a pioneer intelligent maintenance management platform. The company empower facilities and maintenance management teams with the technology they need to overcome their own, unique challenges. Infraspeak understand the importance of intelligence, flexibility and connectivity when trying to stay on top of the game in an increasingly complex and demanding world. The company was founded in 2015 and is based in Porto.

At what point did you realise there was a gap in the market, and you had the product for it?

The need for maintenance solutions was already clear to many different industries before Infraspeak came along. Sectors with complex infrastructure like transportation, energy or medical, were heavily reliant on making sure their operations were running and complying with norms and legal regulations. However, as maintenance requirements for commercial facilities grew, existing solutions were too complex and unable to match their operational challenges. On top of that, the first software solutions for maintenance management were developed at a time where neither internet nor mobile technologies was readily available, making them no more than repositories of information that distributed tasks in paper.

 

That said, as soon as we started talking with the market (back in 2015), we clearly identified the need for a more flexible, intelligent, scalable solution that was capable of matching the requirements of different types of facilities, customers expectations and legal regulations. Maintenance operations are all unique, made of different people, different routines, different challenges; so it doesn’t make sense to use a one-size-fits-all kind of solution. Managers need to be able to perfectly adapt their software solutions to the needs of their operation – and that was always our ultimate goal. Luis, one of our co-founders, is a Civil Engineer by education and has a solid experience working in Facility Management, so we never work based on guessing. On top of that, since day one, we’ve been speaking to as many industry professionals as we could in order to understand their pains and what could be done to improve their lives. This resulted in a clear validation that the market was being underserved and in a clear path for us to follow. There was a lack of solutions that could be flexible and customizable; that were accessible at any time, from anywhere; that could be intuitive and easy to use; that could effectively collect all data and put it all together in one place;  that could provide intelligent insights and automate tasks.

 

That’s why today Infraspeak gives managers the flexibility to build their own Infraspeak using the Infraspeak Hub™ inside of our Intelligent Maintenance Management Platform (IMMP), perfectly answering their unique operational challenges and giving them visibility over their entire operation. Through our platform, they can also optimise communication between teams, customers, and external providers, reduce costs through a much more efficient resource allocation, and transform collected data into intelligence and actionable plans. Facility managers can cut out all guesswork and provide a quick answer to unexpected maintenance requests while being fully compliant with safety and legal requirements. This is a global need, as we approached other markets in Europe, Africa and America the same way; and we got the same feedback. In just 6 years, we opened offices in the United Kingdom, Brazil, Portugal and Spain, we hired around 100 people, and we now have customers and partners in more than 17 countries, making Infraspeak a global tech company.

 

What are your long-term plans for your business?

Innovation and intelligence have always been part of Infraspeak’s DNA, and we are, undoubtedly, revolutionizing the work of operational teams around the world. But one of the things that is most important to us is that we’re doing it in line with our most important mission: being a source of good life for everyone around us. We want to make sure that we have a very positive impact in the lives of our customers, our community, our employees, our investors, and also society as a whole.

 

On top of that, we want to keep enforcing our already strong culture of continuous improvement. Infraspeak is already an unique Intelligent Maintenance Management Platform (IMMP), in many ways different and better then other maintenance management solutions in the market… and we’re only 1% done. In a nutshell, we want to keep growing to become the global leader in the Facility Management software industry.

Future of PropTech, what do you think is going to be important this year?

By now, it is clear for everyone that Proptech is undergoing explosive growth, and the Covid-19 pandemic only contributed to it. Technology is often the answer to keep people safe while constructing, buying, selling, maintaining – you name it – but along with the increased focus on safety and security, I also have no doubt that people will be looking for technology that can do way more than that. I’m talking about AI and automation, for example. The time when software was just a repository of information, in which teams would simply register larger amounts of information, is over. With increasing complexity, customer demands and regulations, Facility Managers are looking for technological innovations that can effectively help them increase operational efficiency, have more visibility over the entire operation, and, finally, meet the needs of users and customers, by answering the unique challenges of their operations.

 

With that said, considering maintenance management processes specifically, the trend is very clear: evolve from basic systems of records – such as the traditional CMMS – to systems of intelligence. These systems of intelligence are solutions that, on top of allowing managers to plan tasks, insert data and get standard operational reports; will also put all the data together, learn with it, and intelligently offer valuable real-time insights and smart alerts and suggestions.

 

In order for this to happen, teams need to be able to connect everything –– assets, other software, IoT devices, sensors, etc –– and transform all of this data into real actions. However, connecting everything is hard (systems are not compatible, it takes a lot of time and technical knowledge, it’s expensive…);  so that’s why it will be absolutely crucial to have a single powerful tool to connect every part of the operation seamlessly, such as a flexible, integrated platform.

 

It is also mandatory that these systems are simple and easy to use by any stakeholder. Usually, these technical systems are complex, since usability and user experience are commonly not a priority. However, this creates great challenges for both management and operational teams. Each user should have its own customizable interface (Desktop and Mobile), available all the time (even when there’s no network connection), with the exact information they need.  And let’s not forget scalability. If our customer’s operations are growing, systems need to evolve with them over time. If managers need to add more buildings, more customers, more suppliers, that should be done quickly and easily. Proptech solutions need to be able to help teams today and in the future: no matter what the future holds.

LMRE are specialist PropTech recruiters, if you need help growing your business or making any key hires please get in touch via the form below!

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