At the end of 2008, Canvis™ was poised to take its Blue Fingerprint™ software to the top of the construction market. Developers were using it on 42 projects, representing more than 6,000 homes from Florida to Washington State.
Then the economy tanked. Construction projects and the demand for planning software – no matter how inventive – dried up with it. Canvis and its founder, David Gion, looked at the upside of the downturn and got to work improving the product, developing a second application and building the infrastructure to help the company emerge strong when the economy rebounded.
“Construction is the last one into a recession and the last one out of a recession, so we knew that 2009 and 2010 would be difficult at best,” Gion says. “And there’s an 18-month sales cycle so we really had to put a plan in place to weather that storm.
“When the recession hit the construction industry, The Weitz Company, the original developers of the software, began to strategically prepare for revenue reduction and, since software was not one of their core competencies, it was decided to spin it off. It was also a good time for Canvis to get everything in order, improve the product and to establish our own identity.”
One of Canvis’ main goals for 2010 is to proactively market Blue Fingerprint for the first time. Until now, Canvis relied almost entirely on word-of-mouth advertising to sell the software product that helps manage options and upgrades during construction of senior living communities and condominium projects.
The second goal is to create the next version of the product, based on user feedback, and begin work on the first production version of the company’s second product, Punch It™. Punch It is a software application that lets users identify, document and communicate the defects that need to be repaired on a construction project before it’s certified complete.
“We’re using the downturn to get ourselves up to speed so, when construction activity starts picking up, we’ll be out there ready to go,” Gion explains. “If things were going well, we’d probably be struggling to find the time to improve the product, build the infrastructure we need and get our marketing message out there. Now we can prepare to be proactive in our sales and marketing.”
While Canvis believes the construction industry may begin to come back in 2011, it’s not a sure thing. “Part of our strategy is that we’re going to execute these things while the market is thrashing, but we don’t control the market so it can come back slower,” Gion says. “In the last nine months, we’ve raised 83% of our capital needs and we’re working now to secure the last 17% of funding.”
We’re all about accelerating construction via simple software solutions, but we can’t do anything to speed up the recovery, so we’re working hard to be ready when it happens.”