Nemetschek snaps up dRofus

Dec 20, 2016 | Hot Topics

Nemetschek, the holding group for the Nemetschek, Graphisoft, Allplan, Solibri and other AEC-focused brands, announced today that it is acquiring dRofus AS, a Norweqian provider of BIM planning, data management and collaboration tools. I am not aware of dRofus, but their website indicates that its product is used to create project rooms (think, job site trailer in the physical world) where all data about a project is made visible to stakeholders. Everyone can see BIM models, data sheets, equipment lists and so on; from architect to contractor to owner; from early stage to handover (and, presumably, operation, though the company doesn’t say so). dRofus is a cloud-based platform with plugins for Revit and ArchiCAD.

Nemetschek says dRofus AS has 28 employees, with regional offices in the US, Australia and Sweden. Per the press release, “For the year 2016, dRofus anticipates revenues amounting to around EUR 4.5 million, an increase of more than 40% compared to the previous year. An operating margin (EBITDA margin) of approximately 25% is expected for 2016. The purchase price for 100% of the shares amounts to about EUR 24.5 million (cash-/debt-free) …The software is offered as a pure rental model with a subscription renewal rate of almost 100 %.” For the math-averse, that’s a revenue multiple of 5.4x — but note that the company is expected to grow 40% year/year for 2016, and the EBITDA is 25%. Note, too, that it’s already all-subscription.

The logic behind the deal? Nemetchek says that dRofus is focused on Europe, the US and Australia, with “a dominant position in the construction of healthcare facilities and airports”. Add to this, “dRofus is a complementary tool to all Nemetschek solutions and can ease the acquisition of new customers for both sides. dRofus already has an established partnership with leading Nemetschek Group companies such as Graphisoft, Vectorworks and Solibri. dRofus will also continue its work with excellent connections to other BIM authoring tools in the market.”

An interesting aside: dRofus, the product, was first developed by Nosyko, Norway’s leading consultant company for hospital planning in Norway since 1970 (leading, according to them).  dRofus AS, the software company, was spun out in 2011. This matters for two reasons: 1. deep domain expertise went into the creation of dRofus. 2. Domain-expert companies continue to realize that in-house software isn’t something they want to spend their resources on; by making it a commercial entity, they spread the cost of R&D and maintenance over the entire customer base. Some of these spin-outs succeed when on their own; others don’t — but the domain expert wins either way. If it succeeds, they keep using what they know better than anyone else; if it doesn’t, they move on to a commercial solution that may have many benefits they hadn’t thought of.

Nemetschek is financing the stock purchase with cash on hand and through its lines of credit. The acquisition is expected to be closed by the beginning of January 2017.

Since I’ve not heard of dRofus: Do you use dRofus? Why? Tell us about it in the comments below!