Although the pandemic forced Procore to postpone its plans, the company completed its IPO in May and the construction technology provider successfully went public.
Like other companies, the pandemic forced Procore to postpone expectations and focus on the low level of certainty that existed in the industry.
Construction Dive spoke to founder and CEO Tooey Courtemanche (pictured on top of the podium) to learn more about the IPO and Procore’s unique perspective on the construction industry and its challenges.
CONSTRUCTION DIVE: Procore announced an IPO, but then had to postpone it due to the pandemic. How was this process? What has changed since Procore went public?
TOOEY COURTY: We had planned to go in March 2020. The bags were literally packed. I had my suitcase at the top of the stairs. I said, “We’re going to New York, we’re doing the roadshow.” And I got the call that said, “Hey, people really don’t get on planes starting tomorrow.” So we stepped on the brakes and focused all our energy on our employees, our customers and our partners for the next year to make sure everyone is safe.
Like everyone else, Q2 2020 was definitely a challenging quarter just because there was so much uncertainty. But then fast forward to 2021, the industry is definitely on the recovery path. If we look at Procore usage and build volume and everything else, the second quarter of 2020 was the worst, and every quarter after that we saw the industry return. So we thought it was time–Now we have some predictability in the industry–adapt, go public again.
I think we had the first IPO on the New York Stock Exchange that got us out of lockdown. So we had many employees, many customers, and many partners on the New York trading floor. It was a huge celebration, not for Procore, but for the industry. It was really rewarding for us to be on the New York Stock Exchange celebrating an industry that is building the world around us.
Now that Procore is in public, has anything changed for the company on a day-to-day or long-term basis?
Surprisingly no. There are some regulatory things you need to do that are different. Procore has always been a bigger company than us. So no, not really. Of course we now have our quarterly results.
What has really changed is that we now have the resources to accelerate our investment growth and offer more solutions.
Then it helps to have a public company brand around the world. To be able to enter new markets and meet new customers in every corner of the world is simply listed on the New York Stock Exchange. It helps eliminate early questions that customers might have and helps them focus on the solution you are providing.
How much more important has technology become in the last year and a half?
It is evident that connecting everyone is fundamental to the construction process, especially during a pandemic. When you think about building prep in general, there are plenty of people involved for a temporary period of time. You have the estimators, you have the BIM coordination teams, you have everyone managing the bidding phase, and all of that. It used to be in a construction site trailer. When COVID occurred, these people could have been removed, right?
Well, you can’t handle the complexities of building when people live remotely without using some form of technology that allows people to work through the same information virtually. So it was definitely an accelerator for technology adoption in construction.
We often hear that construction is lagging behind in terms of technology acceptance. In a way, that seemed to change out of necessity during the pandemic. Are these changes permanent? Why didn’t these practices exist before?
I’m kind of animated here, but I’m going to tell you that contractors aren’t laggards. I’ve been doing this for over 20 years. I’ll tell you what really happened: Before 2012, I would say the internet really wasn’t on the job site. The iPhone came out in 2007, and I remember when it came out it was like space age technology. The iPad was launched in 2011. So it wasn’t until around 2012 that people started bringing the internet to the construction site. Up until that point, some people were saying to me like, “I can’t believe you’re selling software to this sluggish construction industry.” That is so unfair.
As of 2012, there were actually only outdated client servers on construction sites – really clunky installed CD-ROM junk or solutions people would download from the fledgling app store that would look like a punched list. They just didn’t have the tech they needed to do the job. But the problem is, people get the idea that contractors are latecomers. I’ll tell you what: When I ran into construction site trailers in 2004 or 2005, they weren’t on the internet, but Excel was open. And these people were doing things in Excel that made all investment bankers blush because the contractors had to deal with the complexity in one way, shape or form.