While completing a Bachelor of Construction Management & Property in UNSW’s Faculty of Built Environment, Patrick Connolly was also establishing Procure Build as the company’s CEO.
Procure Build is construction software that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to manage the risk and performance of different contractors within the built environment. Using an analytic engine that leverages data to predict problems in a construction project, businesses are able to identify risks in a project well before they step foot on a building site.
The information captured is summarised into an interactive dashboard that allows teams to drill down into key areas of a contractor’s health and performance, providing complete transparency and control over a business’s supply chain.
Mr Connolly believes Procure Build will bring much-needed accountability back into the industry.
“After working in construction for close to a decade, the horror stories of poor workmanship and negligent contractors entering the market were becoming more prevalent.
“Unfortunately, there was just no way for businesses and consumers alike to understand the risks these contractors were posing to their business until it was too late,” Mr Connolly says.
“Unlike other businesses, our software [Procure Build] is not restricted to financial data, and therefore we analyse a business in its entirety.”
Last year, Mr Connolly undertook UNSW’s flagship accelerator program, Founders 10x, which is tailored for high potential and established start-up students looking to strengthen their entrepreneurship skills. It involved extensive 10-week modular programs, and mentoring and networking opportunities to help build traction and launch a business.
“The depth of knowledge, connections and opportunities UNSW can provide is second to none,” Mr Connolly says.
“The Founders 10x Program connects you with both mentors and experienced personnel that will help you accelerate the growth of your business.”
Mr Connolly recently went to Silicon Valley to sound out venture capitalists and high-profile players in the industry.
“I met with prominent people in the construction market and began forging relationships, which was invaluable as we look to flip up into the US market within the next 18 months.
“The trip validated that the problem is relevant in the US. It is probably even more severe than here in Australia, which is saying something about the global construction industry as a whole,” he says.
“I connected with a number of investors who showed genuine interest and offered to help Procure Build enter the US market once we are ready.”
Mr Connolly will look to establish the company in the Australian market over the next 12 months before expanding globally in 2020.
For him, working in property and construction is a childhood dream come true.
“Like most kids, I had dreamed of owning my own construction business, but it wasn’t until I entered the workforce that I truly understood the opportunity the construction industry can offer.
“In this day and age, it is becoming more important to have a qualification in the field of your expertise – it opens so many doors and can accelerate your professional career significantly.”
For students thinking about start-up prospects, Mr Connolly says “take the leap now and believe in your vision”.
“We are coming into a time of great innovation and technology, with the Australian ecosystem stronger now than ever before.
“You don’t want to sit back in 10 years’ time and say, ‘what if?’.”