Dr. Jan Alberti – Managing Partner of bmp Ventures about COMAN Software – Why did we invest?
Since the end of this year’s Q2, we invest in COMAN Software GmbH through funds managed by us. The fast-growing startup from Stendal in Saxony-Anhalt develops and sells pioneering software for visual project management in plant construction, initially with a focus on the automotive industry. As part of our commitment, the company will receive over one million euros in venture capital. COMAN Software GmbH is a spin-off of inpro Innovationsgesellschaft für fortgeschrittene Produktionssysteme in der Fahrzeugindustrie mbH [inpro innovation corporation for advanced production systems in the automotive industry], a joint venture of Daimler, Sabic, Siemens, thyssenkrupp, and Volkswagen.
Our investment decision was inspired by the following key elements:
The founding/management team at COMAN possesses all necessary and beneficial qualities. Even before founding the company, Sven Kägebein and Timur Ripke had shown that they can develop complex software to market maturity and sell it to a large number of large customers. The combination of software development and sales affinity convinced us that the management team is ready to take the next steps in the rapid expansion of the company. Their customer list and sales pipeline reads like the "who's who" of the automotive industry, including Volkswagen and Daimler. The software is already in use at several locations worldwide and shows strong advantages in efficiency when it comes to plant construction projects under time constraints. Companies from other sectors such as mechanical engineering or power plant construction have also shown interest in the use of the visual project management tool, and actively approach the company.
Product / Technology
With its eponymously named software “COMAN”, COMAN Software GmbH assists in the planning and execution of large-scale projects in plant construction. COMAN's innovative power lies in the transparent, efficient, and integrated digital planning, monitoring, and control of complex plant construction projects in a single software suite, with interfaces to the software tools previously used by customers. COMAN for the first time automatically connects the digital layout of construction planning (2D/3D CAD drawings) with detailed scheduling of individual objects and project participants. In this way, attributes and dependencies are digitally assigned to each object on the construction site, which can be monitored and clearly displayed in real time using intelligent algorithms. With the help of COMANApps, current changes in the construction progress are recorded on-site using mobile devices in an exceptionally simple manner. This way, the project overview is continuously updated. Smart evaluations and functions make it possible to control the project from across the globe with early detection of, and proactive support on, process malfunctions.
Market / USP
The market for plant construction realisation tools in which COMAN currently operates can be described as a niche market. However, the visualisation of project and schedule planning in construction projects of all kinds is in turn a high-volume market. COMAN differentiates itself from the competition as an open solution with interfaces to process-related software tools and the associated formats. The unique selling points lie in the recording of construction progress directly on-site, the visualisation of schedule planning and time delays through a plant construction plan, and the standardisation of communication between company management, construction management, suppliers, and technicians. COMAN offers integrated, model-oriented digital planning, monitoring, and control of complex plant construction projects. In addition to the complete offline capability – an absolute must-have on many construction sites – COMAN offers a unique synchronisation function for the data exchange between contractor and suppliers. Through it, only mutually released information can be exchanged. The development of COMAN into a market-leading software provider in plant and mechanical engineering holds very high potential. The number of new plants and sizeable conversions of existing plants ensures a steady increase in demand. The generic model approach pursued by COMAN foresees an expansion from the field of mechanical engineering into other industries.
As bmp Ventures, we assist our portfolio companies as they set up and finance their businesses. With COMAN, we proactively supported the structuring of the spin-off and the necessary licensing; in the future, we will offer our support in strategic and operational issues.