Snaptrude, a young startup, is trying to disrupt Autodesk in the building design space, giving customers broader, modern feature sets at a more affordable cost. The New York-based company’s early progress has helped it woo thousands of customers and now, seed funding.
The startup — which raised $6.6 million in seed funding co-led by Accel and Foundamental VC — is taking a similar approach to Figma to tackle an industry that relies on decades-old code where cloud-based collaboration is still elusive.
“The problem is that the industry is very backward in nature. It’s dominated by companies like Autodesk, gigantic companies, software built largely in the 90s. So the software stack is very old,” said Altaf Ganihar, founder and CEO of Snaptrude, in an interview.
Popular Building Information Modeling (BIM) solutions, including Autodesk’s Revit, have fallen behind in many areas. They lack interoperability and require high-end computers. Architects, engineers, construction companies and industry groups have raised these concerns in numerous open letters to Autodesk, worth $40 billion, with little or no success.
Snaptrude isn’t the only one taking on the giants. Startups including Arcol, which started in January 2021 and which we covered in March last year, are also trying to solve the same problem with their models. Ganihar said that Snaptrude offers a full-fledged solution in the market, which is different from Arcol and other startups that can take a few years to release their products.
“There are hardly any players in a full-stack scenario,” he told TechCrunch.
Ganihar, who has a background in computer graphics and computer vision research, came up with the idea to found Snaptrude after he had a terrible experience with legacy software while working on a nationwide project to rebuild the heritage site. UNESCO World Heritage Site Hampi in Karnataka, India.
He initially built plugins to work with existing software. But in 2017, the engineer started prototyping the idea of a cloud-based design tool. He showed off his prototype at TechCrunch Disrupt that year, which gained him some exposure and brought in seed funding of $1.2 million in early 2018.
The seed funding helped build a team to make Snaptrude a reality and add companies like WeWork and Square Yards to its roster of more than 6,000 customers in more than 30 countries around the world.
Unlike Revit and other legacy solutions, Snaptrude runs on a browser and offers collaboration to design 3D buildings as naturally as with Google Docs. It also offers the ability to generate real-time data to inform the impact of changing building size on cost, climate and energy use. Moreover, the platform, available in a freemium model, supports all widely used file formats including DWG, RVT, IFC, SKP, FBX, PDF, and OBJ.
« The AEC [architecture, engineering and construction] the industry is currently being held back by outdated software systems and has not experienced disruption from the modern cloud. This is disconcerting, especially in an industry where collaboration between teams and specialists is necessary. This is where Snaptrude changes the game by enabling true collaboration and access to real-world data in a huge global marketplace. We are optimistic about Snaptrude’s strategy and category leadership ahead,” Prashanth Prakash, Partner at Accel, said in a prepared statement.
The startup has amassed $7.8 million to date. He plans to use the new funds to make improvements to the product and eventually implement and allocate funds for its future growth. The all-stock round also saw participation from Possible Ventures, Clark Valberg (founder, Invision), RFC, CapitalX and Thilo Konzok (co-founder Home).
Snaptrude has 35 employees worldwide, including geometry engineers and mathematicians. It plans to expand the engineering team slightly this year to strengthen its market presence.
“Online collaboration tools have become a necessity for businesses and professionals in today’s landscape and 3D design is no different. Snaptrude’s future-oriented suite of collaborative design tools fulfills this vital need and, in doing so, revolutionizes workflows in the AEC industry across the globe. We are thrilled to partner with Altaf and Snaptrude on their journey to create a more collaborative 3D design world,” said Shubhankar Bhattacharya, General Partner at Foundamental.