ETF leads GBP10m for BuildOnLine

BuildOnLine, a provider of web-based software solutions to the property and construction industry, has secured a third round of finance. The group of investors includes BancBoston Capital, Delta Partners, Goldman Sachs, Global Retail Partners, Sal Oppenheim and Viventures. Swiss-based ETF Group, which specialises in helping young companies expand into international markets, led the deal. This funding will be used to develop the company’s software and service capabilities. Brobeck Hale and Dorr acted for BuildOnLine and Nabarro Nathanson advised ETF.

Mark Suster, formerly of Andersen Consulting and now CEO of BuildOnLine, commented on the tough funding raising conditions. However, with this round under its belt the company anticipates that it will achieve profitability next year. Since its establishment in Ireland in 1998 BuildOnLine has received VC backing to the tune of GBP22 million, this is the largest amount received by an Internet software company targeting the construction industry in Europe.

Investors from the first and second round (held in December 1999 and March 2000) have all returned to contribute to the latest financing. The company, which also operates in France and Germany, has received recognition as a “Top B2B” from Time Magazine and the Sunday Telegraph/Jupiter Research.

Concurrent to the announcement of this round of funding is the news that BuildOnLine has concluded two major deals. Balfour Beatty, which has taken a minor equity stake, chose BuildOnLine as its supplier of web-based software solutions to improve operating efficiencies. An alliance has also been agreed with BT to deliver online services to the real estate and construction sector.

ETF identified the property and construction industry, a large (GBP520 billion in Europe) but fragmented sector, as ripe for transformation through the Internet. The group decided that BuildOnLine was the company that would take the lead in Europe. ETF announced another addition to its 60 strong portfolio this month, PLLB Elettronica, an Italian provider of test, monitoring and measurement (TM&M) systems for optical and wireless networks.