Blanchardstown software firm tells builders in real time if they are losing money

LiveCosts previously ran a construction company and were frustrated with the lack of technology available to assess costs

(l-r) Niall Brennan, chief operating officer at LiveCosts, Ciaran Brennan, chief executive and Diarmuid Quinn, chief technology officer: the cloud-based system collects data through a mobile app, such as details on materials purchased or labour hours logged. Picture: Maura Hickey

LiveCosts is a Blanchardstown, Co Dublin-based business with a simple goal. It tells construction companies if they are making money or not in real time. As is often the case, simple doesn’t mean easy.

“We collect data and apply it back to the main dashboard. We were scratching our own itch. We had our own construction company and we got pretty frustrated with the lack of technology available to us and decided to solve that by building it ourselves,” Ciarán Brennan, co-founder of LiveCosts told the Business Post.

Brennan started the business in 2017 alongside his brother Niall and Diarmuid Quinn. Livecosts now has 15 staff.

“The process involved talking to lots of companies in the same position as us. We had built a system that worked specifically for us, and it worked quite well, and we decided that maybe other people had the same problems. We explored that and found that construction technology was severely under served so we decided to have a go at it and form the company,” Brennan said.

“We got backing from Enterprise Ireland and the NDRC, a tech accelerator, pretty early which gave us the breathing space to do some proper research and development.”

The cloud-based system collects data through a mobile app, such as details on materials purchased or labour hours logged. Wherever the cost is incurred it is logged and fed back into the main dashboard.

“Having a cloud system sounds normal, but in construction there’s still a lot of legacy desktop software that we have to come in and replace. Our customers often have multiple projects running across Europe and we are providing them a way to see every touchpoint on every project in real time,” Brennan said.

To date the business has raised €1 million through Pi Labs, a venture capital firm in London, Enterprise Ireland, and angel investors.

The business has been through the New Frontiers programme in Enterprise Ireland and is part of the high potential start-up unit (HPSU).

“They’ve been extraordinarily good with us. New Frontiers gave us time to make a decision on whether we wanted to progress and dedicate the next 10 years of our lives to this. We then progressed straight through to HPSU and we’re still supported by EI now, I couldn’t speak highly enough of them,” Brennan said.

With consistent month on month growth of 10 per cent, Brennan is bullish about the company’s future.

“We have a lot of inbound activity. We are creating a lot of content around construction, it’s an area we know well, so we’ve put a podcast together and it generates a lot of interest. We’ve had consistent growth in Ireland, Britain, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa,” he said.

“The next partnerships we announce should be a springboard to the next level, leading to growth in customers as well as our expansion in Britain.”

This Making it Work article is produced in partnership with Enterprise Ireland