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Crazy for ConTech with Bassem Hamdy, briq


Welcome to ‘Crazy for ConTech’ with Romey Oulton, a Q&A focused on the Construction Technology Industry. 

This Q&A series is an opportunity for our Head of ConTech, Romey Oulton, to discuss all things construction technology with key players who are championing innovation and digitalisation in the construction space. 

This week we have been in touch with Bassem Hamdy, CEO of briq.

Briq is an AI based financial automation platform that enables construction companies to be more efficient and profitable. Briq automates financial workflows by connecting the people, processes, and systems that contractors use to run their business. By empowering contractors to make better business decisions, hundreds of companies rely on Briq to manage their budget, forecast, and spend.

What led you to Construction Tech? 

I actually started out in banking, but I knew I absolutely wanted to be in tech. When I got my first job in that sector it happened to be in the construction industry. As a lot of my colleagues know, once you get into this industry you never want to leave. I loved it and still do, I’ve been here ever since.


What was the mission of Briq when you created it? And what is unique about your business VS competitors? 

Briq’s mission has always been to create peace and harmony in construction. I’ve said many times that this is a lofty goal, but I believe that the team at Briq is in a unique position to accomplish it. Often I feel that Briq has no competitors, because what we do is incredibly unique to us, but if I had to mention what makes us stand out, it’s our overwhelming experience in the construction space. I’ve been in this industry for over 30 years and I’ve made it my mission to hire some of the greatest talent in construction. We just get it. We understand our clients needs, and as we grow we predict their needs. That’s what makes us different.


How do you plan to address the potential resistance or skepticism from construction industry professionals who may be reluctant to adopt new technology or those with varying levels of technological experience? Can you provide strategies for gaining their trust and buy-in & explain how you ensure that your technology remains user friendly and accessible? 

In any industry or circumstance, the best way to resist skepticism is education. There are so many brilliant people in the industry who just need the chance to learn about these advancements. We’re lucky that so many fantastic organizations hold conferences and showcases so that our colleagues can continue to learn about new tech. People can’t see you as a trusted advisor to their business if they don’t understand what you’re advising them on. That’s why the first step is always to educate. Put the power in their hands, because the people in this industry are smart enough to do the rest, and ultimately to make the best choices for their businesses. Now, when we talk about building trust, like I said before, Briq is in a unique position to anticipate the needs of our clients because of our specific experience in the construction space. We take care of our own. Though I think we already do a great job, every day we work hard to make our systems more accessible. One of the main ways we do this is by creating a platform that looks and feels like what our users are already accustomed to- then we make it smarter by adjusting to their unique needs as a company. 


What will be the biggest trend in the ConTech space in 2023? What will be the biggest challenge?

AI, in all its forms, whether it be generative AI, machine learning, robotics, etc. will be the biggest ConTech trend. AI will take us into the next great construction revolution. The biggest challenge, though, will be folks’ willingness to accept these changes and use them to their advantage. We are a very old-fashioned industry, and there are so many amazing things to be said for that. But, it has long been a joke in construction that we’re quite a slow-moving industry when it comes to digital transformation. 


Growth plans for Briq: 1 year, 3 years, 5 years (i.e: geographies, products, verticals, headcount, funding)

I would say in the short term our goal is to be a truly viable and profitable business. In the medium term we really want to continue and make it known that we own that AI automation space in construction. It’s what we do, it’s what we’re good at, but we want to be known for it. And of course, our long term goal is always going to be the IPO. 


Tell us about your approach to talent acquisition and culture? Has it changed over the past few years? If so, how?

Well everything changed when Covid happened and we had to quickly adapt to this remote-first world where you’re meeting people on Zoom. It provides a challenge when hiring anyone you haven’t met physically and it’s still a challenge. I think we’re finding our way by using technology and staying true to our values.


What does Diversity, Equity and Inclusion mean to you? What value does it bring to you and your team?

I’m really proud that Briq is such a diverse team. Our organization spans 3 countries (US, Canada, and India) with incredible diversity in every aspect. We have so many talented young people, and so many people with years of industry experience, and we’re all learning from each other on a daily basis. We want the Briq family to look like the world that we live in, so inclusion is of the utmost importance to all of us. I can proudly say that any type of person, any race, any gender identity, any sexual orientation, would feel comfortable coming to work with us because that’s the kind of atmosphere we’ve created. The value in this is immeasurable. We value creativity at Briq just as much as any other skill or talent, and you can’t find creative solutions to problems if everyone looks the same and thinks the same. If you want to be on the forefront, on the cutting edge of something, you must diversify. 


How do you approach innovation within your organization? What strategies or processes do you have in place to foster a culture of continuous improvement and creativity?

At Briq, we have certain values that we live by, that we remind ourselves of as much as we can, and our Briqsters truly live them day in and day out. Myself, as well as everyone at Briq, leads by example in their own unique way, and we are constantly moving with intention to be the best people, not just employees or colleagues, but best people we can be. Our teams are constantly meeting up in person, organizing trivia rounds, and just genuinely wanting to get to know each other and support each other. We work hard and play hard, and we always do it together. That’s a lot of what helps us stay creative and keep the will to improve.


What’s been your high and low points as an entrepreneur? 

High points happen every day. Sure, there are low points in any business, but seeing what we’ve been able to accomplish with our people and our clients is astounding. I try not to focus on the lows because there are so many highs. When you really see people getting value out of the platform, or people on our team saying how great their lives have become after starting work here, those are the high points for me, and that’s what we focus on.


In your experience, how highly do you value VC funding and support for a start-up to be successful? 

It’s an interesting VC market now. I will say that without VC backing, acceleration isn’t possible. We grew faster than most companies ever grow, and when you look at others who don’t use or have the opportunity to use VC funding, it may take them 15 years to really get started. They may be profitable, but it can take that long. VC funding has historically been growth over profit, and recently that has changed. It’s really now a balance of both. Regardless though, VC funding helps put fuel on the fire and it drives innovation forward.


What is your guilty pleasure? And favorite song? 

Reality TV, I could go on for hours about probably any reality TV show. Don’t get me started on 90 Day Fiance. And my favorite song… my favorite song of the moment is probably Fall Out Boy’s remix of We Didn’t Start the Fire. It’s very timely.

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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