Lincoln Easton has been an active member of the construction industry for over fifteen years and has worked at top tier banking and accounting firms around the world, including ANZ, JP Morgan, Bear Stearns and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
While large corporates were a great place to learn, he always knew he wanted to start his own business one day.
Anthill caught up with Easton to have a chat about his revolutionary fintech company Progressclaim.com and all things construction in Australia.
What exactly is Progressclaim.com?
The company was designed to enable contract parties to administer payment claims collaboratively online.
The current claims process is very manual with differing systems that don’t talk to each other. Easton also often found himself on the receiving end of subcontractor fury as the payment process was held up.
He decided to do something about it and thanks to his start-up, for the first time, players in the building industry can submit and approve conforming claims online in just seconds.
Progressclaim.com is fully equity funded and has raised over $6 million to date, most recently at an implied Enterprise Value of over $50 million.
What did the beginning hold?
Easton says that his first step in this process was to join his brother in the construction industry, commencing as the CFO of Easton Builders.
“It was a real shock to see that even the most basic technology processes that had been used for decades in consulting and finance were nowhere to be seen in the multibillion dollar construction industry,” he lets known.
“I knew there had to be a better way, especially when it came to processing progress claim payments; a major gripe in the industry. So, armed with years of experience and entrepreneurial enthusiasm.
“I set out to pull construction contract administration out of the dark ages of endless manual excel spreadsheets, reconciliations and email exchanges and created Progressclaim.com.”
Why is tech key to the construction industry success?
It’s no secret that innovation can improve processes and boost productivity. Yet the construction industry consistently ranks in the bottom three innovative industries in the country.
Recent ABS data reveals that only a third of construction businesses could be classed as ‘innovation-active’ compared with more than half of businesses in the warehousing, media and telecommunications and retail sectors.
Easton explains, “From my experience there’s a huge gap in the adoption of technology, from the design phase, at which BIM (Building Information Modelling) technology is becoming mandatory, to the procurement and delivery phases, where contractors still rely on largely pen and paper processes for simple things like marking up defects and issuing and paying invoices.
“The problem with relying on pen and paper is obvious – it is highly inefficient and increases the chance of mistakes being made, which can lead to needless disputes between employees and contractors, and the consequent legal and financial risk.”
Progressclaim.com is tailor made for the construction industry and streamlines the claim process by offering complete transparency, allowing claims to be processed collaboratively while minimising the risk of disputes and speeding up submittals and approvals.
The software diminishes the downtime typically associated with a build, while working seamlessly with existing accounting and administrative operating systems, ensuring progress claims are lodged smarter, faster, and more economically.
How is Progressclaim.com doing so far?
Progressclaim.com is doing exceptionally well, seeing as it is now used by an increasing number of the Top 100 commercial contractors in Australia together with their subcontractor supply chain on projects ranging from $5 million to $500 million.
Leading Australian contractors and developers, including Built, Mirvac, Icon, Grocon, Lendlease and 2Construct have adopted Progressclaim.com’s communication platform to eliminate the administration nightmare, reduce processing costs and avoid needless disputes.
“We’re currently looking to expand the business in new markets in Asia and have just launched an office in the UK – not surprisingly, progress claims are a major issue on construction sites across the globe, not just in Australia,” highlights Easton.