Construction productivity tool grows during COVID-19

Alec Thomson said the shift to digital tools in the construction industry had been slow. Then, COVID-19 hit.

The pandemic, he said, has made digital tools essential for keeping projects moving. And it has helped his company, Riskcast — a productivity and forecasting platform — grow, with cash returns 7-10 times larger than the previous year.

Thomson said Riskcast has expanded its offerings from time and materials tracking to a platform that now offers contact tracing and prescreening capabilities to increase crew safety precautions.

Thomson said this system makes logistics easier for contractors in construction.

“Tracking time and material is typically on paper like everything else on a jobsite,” he said. “And then, you’re logging it into Excel and it becomes this enormous Excel exercise to keep up with. Our system allows both the contractor and subcontractor to see what’s happening. These tickets can be used a week later or a month later, and then there’s no question on what did or didn’t happen on site.

“Contract tracing was born into the system. You enter (the employee) name and their day, and suddenly this matrix, this web, visually shows up on your screen. And then, you have data to pull out all the names of people they might have come in contact with.”

Thomson, whose company was part of a cohort at Newark Venture Partners last spring, said NVP’s guidance helped Riskcast grow in employees and volume.

“When we started at NVP, we were at two employees,” he said, “We now have nine full-time employees and plan to hire three more in the next 45-60 days.

“Coming in, we had 40 projects. Now we have roughly 200 at any given time.”

The growth, he said, is easy to quantify.

“We had 200-300 people in the system when we got into NVP,” he said. “Currently, we have 1,800 people and just signed another customer that adds 1,500 to that.”

Thomson credits NVP for “a ton of help on the sales side of things, which really grew our pipeline from where it was almost nothing.” He also said they continue to receive business mentorship.

“NVP has shown us ways to stay business-focused and lean, but also be really effective,” he said.

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