• Varicon expands in Australia following $2.25M funding led by Black Nova VC.
  • Innovative software platform set to save construction firms billions through cloud-native cost management and real-time analytics.
  • Notable investors include Aconex founder Leigh Jasper, Galileo Ventures, Artesian Ventures, construction tech investor Andrew Sypkes and notable leaders from the infrastructure investment, quantity surveying and civil construction industries.

Varicon's Founders

HOBART, 14 February 2022: Showing it’s hit a true need within the Australian civil construction sector, technology startup Varicon has just closed a $2.25 million funding round to scale its new civil construction cost management software solution.

Varicon’s innovative platform has been designed to utilise modern smartphone and cloud technologies to reduce financial risk and simplify on-site cost management. The magnitude of this problem is attracting investment from serious construction technology investors, including Black Nova Venture Capital, Leigh Jasper, Andrew Sypkes, Galileo Ventures and Artesian Ventures, in addition to strategic industry players Slattery Construction Advisory Chairman Josh Slattery, infrastructure investment veteran and Tidal Ventures co-founder Murray Bleach, and the founders of BlackCap Construction Group.

With this latest round of funding, Varicon is expanding nationally to serve medium-to-large construction firms across sectors, including civil contractors, public infrastructure developers, property developers, roads and transport, and demolition contractors.

Varicon addressing serious cost blowouts across industry

While Australia’s civil construction industry is worth $82 billion, it’s plagued each year by billions in annual losses due to ineffective and outdated cost management practises. Varicon has been developed as a new, technology-driven solution to fight this issue – saving organisations money through greater visibility and real-time cost control.

Varicon CEO and co-founder James Baker comes from the industry himself, a seasoned project manager of many years. He said the frustrating experience of working with ineffective cost management tools in his past roles led him on the journey that would become Varicon.

“Complex projects are being managed by using emails and Excel spreadsheets, exposing civil contractors to major financial risk – and providing very little visibility over project budgets,” he said.

“The civil construction industry has a dismal record with financial management, highlighted by a series of recent high-profile insolvencies.”

Without cost management tools that are well-suited, by design, to the modern needs of the industry, civil contractors often go out of business. This could be due to misquoting projects (potentially undercutting themselves, or over-budgeting and losing out to cheaper competitors) or mismanaging spending so that companies bleed out during construction.

Varicon is designed to address four of these major loss areas:

  1. Track costs in real time: By tracking actual costs versus budget in real time, civil contractors can identify and address cost overruns on the day they happen – not eight weeks later.
  2. Collect siloed data into one place: Siloed data is difficult to use, if it even can be used. Connecting multiple sources of cost data (from project planning through to execution and completion) into a single source of ‘truth’ ensures users can maximise the value they get from their analytics.
  3. Simple field user experience: Intuitive mobile functionality designed for field-based users allows data to be captured quickly and effectively on-site. This enables cost information to flow freely and eliminates double-entry of data. Plus, the simplicity of the user experience can help improve adoption rates among field workers.
  4. Improve tender estimates: Improving the accuracy of budget estimates can seriously reduce financial risk to the business. Utilising a feedback loop allows estimators to evaluate how their projects actually went compared with their estimates in order to improve future tenders. 

Matt Browne, Managing Partner at Black Nova VC added that the construction industry runs on tight margins, and has been slow to adopt platforms that can’t show an immediate cost-benefit. 

“Varicon fundamentally supports construction businesses to improve their margins through sophisticated cost management and does so by automating industry best practises,” he said.

“We believe the time is right for this product, and initial industry feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. The team are industry insiders and set up to build a category-defining business.”

Business benefits of utilising Varicon

  • Gain real-time insight into cost data captured on site utilising a cloud-based platform.
  • Gain project visibility over even large portfolios of projects, or drill into detailed assessments of individual works, through a smart performance dashboard.
  • Continually improve accuracy of tender estimates with feedback loop to estimators showcasing actual projected costs.
  • Reduce the time and cost involved in capturing data while improving its quality.
  • Simplify and standardise cost management on site for ease of use by field-based workers.

 About Varicon

  • Co-founded in Hobart, 2019 by seasoned project manager James Baker, former Aconex strategic partnerships lead Ofer Assor, and tech entrepreneur Siddhant Shrestha.
  • Varicon is an end-to-end connected cost management solution for civil construction contractors.
  • Varicon provides a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform to reduce financial risks in delivering civil construction projects.

For further information, visit www.varicon.com.au

For imagery and interview requests, please contact James Baker, 0480 092 167, [email protected]

About Black Nova Venture Capital

  • Early-stage venture capital fund founded by Matt Browne and Darcy Naunton.
  • Focuses on investing in B2B technology companies across Australia, with a founder-first mentality and approach.

For more information visit https://blacknova.vc

Author: Tenzing Shalden

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