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The ConTech Bulletin with Alastair Blenkin, ProcurePro


Welcome to ‘The ConTech Bulletin’ with Jon Ballantyne, a Q&A focused on Construction Technology in the Built Environment.

This Q&A series is an opportunity for our Recruitment Consultant Jon Ballantyne to discuss all things construction technology with some of the lead players in the space. Each week we will ask burning questions, providing a platform to share insight around innovation, sustainability, and advice for aspiring entrepreneurs looking to enter the ConTech industry. 

This week we have been in touch with Alastair Blenkin, CEO & Founder at ProcurePro.

ProcurePro is a specialised procurement software for Head Contractors in construction. We are setting a new standard of innovation for construction technology. Procurement is a mission-critical process at the start of every construction project that has a major impact on project profitability. Current procurement methods are manual, antiquated and disconnected – 15+ different Word, Excel & Email templates cobbled together. There’s enormous inefficiencies, risk of human error and delays. 

ProcurePro consolidates these fragmented processes of traditional procurement into an end-to-end procurement platform, improving visibility, efficiencies, quality & consistency. They’re on a mission to save 1 BILLION hours of construction administration, and have already saved over 200,000 hours – equivalent to 100+ years of people’s work lives. 

How did you find yourself working in the Construction Technology sector?  

I worked as a commercial real estate lawyer in top-tier law firm MinterEllison, doing high volume enterprise contracting. As a young lawyer working in a business model built on sweat labour, I realised there’s got to be a better way of doing things. In 2017 I quit my job and founded my first company, Hyra iQ, which set out to solve enterprise contracting for commercial landlords by building a specialised contract management platform for the Commercial Real Estate industry. We built a great product but still faced all the regular challenges of starting a business and many lessons learned, especially in 2020 when Commercial Real Estate took a huge hit. The Commercial Construction industry had already been identified as an adjacent industry to ours, and COVID was the catalyst that allowed us to pivot. 

We brought in a long time friend, Tim Rogers, who had 10+ years of Commercial Construction experience and ProcurePro was born. We identified procurement as such a massive challenge for builders, the process really hasn’t changed since the 1980’s, but it’s so imperative that it’s done right, as it can really set projects up for success.


What does your role entail at ProcurePro?  

I’m the Founder and CEO. I’ve done absolutely every job in the business over the course of the years, everything but writing code (helps having two great technical Co-Founders). Typical of a startup founder, my role is very hands on commercially, but lately the majority of my focus is on capital raising. I moved to the UK last year with Tim, one of our Co-Founders, to spearhead ProcurePro’s entry into the British market and expand our operations outside of Australia and New Zealand.

Can you share some insights into the specific technological innovations that your company has brought to the construction industry?

ProcurePro is a unique software in the global construction industry, providing an end-to-end procurement solution for commercial builders. Our innovation is how we’ve consolidated what is normally 15+ fragmented processes into a single platform with unparalleled visibility. Other companies have tried to touch on one or two aspects of what we do, but we’re dealing with it as a holistic process, and that’s our niche.

Builders have been crying out for a tool that automates procurement. Our software has connected Procurement Schedules, Vendor Management, Scopes, Tenders, Comparisons, Approvals, Contracts and eSignatures into one platform. Every single piece of information needed flows into the next stage automatically, reducing double handling and enabling project teams to work faster and smarter, which allows them to deliver quality projects on time and on budget.

We used automated scope and contract creation tools, automated approval workflows and live procurement schedules that update as work is completed to reduce the manual labour required.

“The old way of procuring was like riding a horse, compared to now,  it’s like driving a Tesla”
Jeremy Brown, Contracts Manager – Kapitol Group

One of the biggest challenges in construction is cost predictability and projects running over budget. Long term, we see an enormous opportunity to take the really rich construction and purchasing data that we have flowing through the platform and turn it into a live online construction rates library.  This would help the industry by giving everyone a real time view of what things cost, not just to builders but to subcontractors and clients. 


With sustainability becoming increasingly important, how does your company address environmental concerns in the construction industry?

The Built Environment contributes to 40% of global emissions, bigger than any other industry. We need innovations right across the value chain to create a sustainable industry. We are proud to be part of it.

Digitising contracts means that paper use and the requirement of physical storage space are reduced, thus alleviating environmental impact. Only 10% of customers use eSignature for subcontracts before ProcurePro. More than 95% use eSignature & eliminate paper with ProcurePro.

Our customers are seeing this impact as well:

We used to have someone in admin, and 50% of their time was dedicated to tracking, issuing and chasing agreements, which is inefficient. The system allows us to see the journey of any contract. We’re also cutting down fewer trees, saving paper and costs.”
Duncan McPherson, Owner & Managing Director – 2Construct

Globally, women fill approximately 10% of operational roles in the construction industry. Does this figure align with the representation in your region, and what positive steps are being taken to drive diversity in ConTech?

As of 2022, about 11% of Australia’s operational roles in construction are filled by women  (Source), and 29% of our tech workforce are women (Source). At the intersection of two male-dominated industries, there’s a huge amount of opportunity to drive diversity.

We’re really proud of the fact that we have strong representation of women in our leadership team, and in our business as a whole. 

We’re seeing commercial builders emphasising their focus on recruiting women, and there are some incredible individuals leading the way such as Alison Mirams, Executive Chair at Roberts Co, as well as organisations such as The National Association of Women in Construction.

I think there are some really positive steps being taken toward making both construction and technology attractive career pathways for women. There’s so much value that women can add to both industries, and they’re both set to benefit massively from a much more diverse range of people.

Beyond gender equality we’re also really proud to represent a diverse range of people. We employ Asian, South East Asian, European, Scandinavian, Mexican, New Zealand and Australian nationals.


What unique challenges and opportunities do you see in APAC compared to other regions

Specifically speaking to Australia and New Zealand, geographical distance to major manufacturing hubs means there’s even greater supply chain risk when it comes to materials. Builders get caught out when their procurement isn’t up to scratch, they miss lead times and delay projects massively. The opportunity here is to get on top of procurement, get it done faster and at a higher quality so that supply chain risk is mitigated.

Issues such as cost escalation have been rampant over the past few years. Better, more efficient procurement solves supply chain issues because it shortens the time between head and sub contract execution, reducing costs and exposure.


What does the coming year hold for your company? What are your expansion plans?

International expansion is front and centre for us in 2024, and is already well underway. Since my move to London late last year, we have already onboarded our first UK customers and have been met with keen interest within the market, including the attention of global construction firms. Our UK team has also grown significantly, and will continue to expand throughout the year to provide customers with implementation assistance and ongoing support. We are also now well established in New Zealand. 

Outside of that, we’re product-led by nature so continuing to develop our product, expand its capabilities and make it better for our customers will always be a focus of ours. The growth of our product will naturally provide us with opportunities to expand in a number of ways.

Finally, what advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs looking to enter the ConTech industry?

My #1 piece of advice is to go read The Lean Start-Up by Eric Reiss, and do it in a week.  Send me a message on LinkedIn when you’re done and let me know what you thought of it. If people are serious, they will read a book in a week.

I get about a 90% fail rate. It’s a small test I like to do to understand whether someone is wholly committed, and it’s a bit of a challenge.

Getting started is the most important thing, and the easiest way to learn is to go read a book containing a huge chunk of important information about startups and tech companies. 

For construction specifically, it’s a great industry to get stuck into. People are really friendly and we love the fact that most people answer their phones because they’re always using them. They’re on them all day to run their projects, and it’s great for cold calling people and having a chat to see if they’re open to your idea or product. It beats waiting for emails! 

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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