Interview: In Dialogue with the Benetics Founders

In July 2022, Ferdinand, Johan and Aaron joined forces to create Benetics, a software startup with a bold vision: to revolutionize the construction industry through digitization. Back then, none of them could have predicted the direction that user-focused software for the construction sector would take. Now, Benetics, with its headquarters in Zurich, boasts a team of about 15 and a diverse customer base from various construction trades. This interview delves into what Benetics represents today and explores the founders’ aspirations for the future.


From left to right: Johan Tibell (CTO; focus on Concept and Delivery), Ferdinand Metzler (CEO), Aaron Shon (CSO; focus on Concept and AI)

Benetics recently celebrated its second anniversary. How did you mark the festive season?

Ferdinand: We celebrated as a team, a truly fantastic team. At our first Christmas dinner in 2022, there were just four of us. This year, we were a group of 14. So it was more expensive than the last Christmas dinner, but our excitement about the team increased even more.

Johan: Besides enjoying the meal, the Secret Santa was much more enjoyable with the larger group.

Aaron: And remarkably, we barely discussed work that evening, which is quite rare for us.

This brings us to our main topic: work. The market is flooded with construction software and digitalization is a buzzword. What sets Benetics apart?

Ferdinand: Indeed, there has been a significant rise in construction industry software in recent years. New solutions are popping up like mushrooms. This is a positive change, given the industry's slow pace in embracing digitalization. However, we've noticed a significant gap between what's promised and what actually gets delivered on the construction site.

Could you elaborate on that?

Ferdinand: Most software targets management and streamlines administrative tasks in the office. However, what often gets overlooked in digital transformation is the actual construction workers on the ground and the communication between the office and the workers getting the job done in the field. They form the majority of the construction workforce. For every project manager in a mid-sized company, there are up to five construction workers per site. This is where the biggest opportunity for efficiency improvements exists. If each worker can perform their tasks faster, better and more accurately, the entire project benefits. This untapped potential is where our software focuses, putting construction workers and their daily tasks at the forefront, which distinguishes us from many competitors.

What unique challenges do you see in the construction industry and how does Benetics address them?

Johan: The construction sector is a complex maze, burdened with time constraints and cost pressures. It involves intensive planning and labor, with numerous stakeholders having varied needs. Safety and liability are also key concerns. Our goal is to untangle this complex web by using technology to enable more efficient work for everyone involved.

Aaron: Labor productivity in construction has only seen marginal increases over the past 25 years and has even stagnated in some areas. Given current challenges like rising costs, economic uncertainty, material shortages and sustainability concerns, this status quo is unacceptable. The industry must improve. Our platform plays a crucial role in this, embedded within the broader ecosystem of the construction site.

Ferdinand: Additionally, demographic shifts and a shortage of skilled labor pose significant challenges. It's increasingly difficult to train and recruit qualified workers. Companies using our software gain a competitive edge in attracting and retaining skilled labor. We make the work more efficient and appealing to the younger workforce.


How can technology specifically enhance efficiency on construction sites?

Johan: Think of our platform as the construction site's nervous system, seamlessly linking knowledge, tasks and communication. At the start of a project, Benetics enables the centralization of all crucial information, accessible from anywhere and scalable as the project progresses. This benefits individual workers, their trades and the entire site. We're not just facilitating work; we're enhancing and adding a human touch to collaboration.

Aaron: Imagine taking photos or videos on-site and instantly generating progress reports and identifying pending tasks. Consider a system that knows the perfect moment to engage a construction worker without disrupting their current task. Artificial intelligence helps us analyze a plethora of data points, identifying patterns that lead to improvements. This includes streamlined material ordering and automated logistics.

What features does Benetics currently offer?

Johan: The features we offer today are the result of in-depth conversations with our clients. Popular tools include digital plan viewing and distribution, task creation and tracking and real-time updates on unforeseen issues. Creating reports and logs directly from smartphones is also increasingly valued, as it saves considerable time. It's essential for us that our software is intuitive, allowing users to navigate it easily from day one without needing extensive training. We're always eager to demonstrate the full capabilities of our platform in a demo >>.

In the complex environment of a construction site, how do you cater to the varying needs of different trades?

Ferdinand: We treat every discussion about needs analysis as if it's the most crucial, whether we're talking to a CEO or an apprentice on site. We listen and observe through our customers' perspectives before contributing our insights. Understanding the true essence of a challenge is our starting point for developing solutions. This approach often leads us to innovative paths that quickly become apparent as significant improvements.

Johan: Our method is straightforward: continuous feedback. Whenever a customer brings up a new concern specific to their trade, we maintain regular dialogue with them. We've established development partnerships where we engage in weekly feedback cycles, a process known in the software industry as sprints.

From construction workers to foremen, project managers and executives – How does Benetics ensure it meets the expectations of all levels in the hierarchy?

Ferdinand: Understanding the "pain points" of construction workers, foremen and team leaders is key to our product development. For instance, considering the diverse languages spoken on construction sites, we've integrated automatic translations into our chat function to minimize misunderstandings. Another example is facilitating communication between workers and management: workers can record voice messages that are converted into text by our app, bypassing the need for typing. Core functionalities also include giving workers a comprehensive view of their tasks and enabling team leaders to monitor progress and make real-time adjustments.

Aaron: Our medium-term goal is to significantly simplify complexity through automated data analysis, benefiting everyone in the construction industry. For example, the software will eventually be able to autonomously understand plans and suggest tasks, assign them to appropriate trades or workers and automate material ordering. This will save time, reduce costs and minimize errors.

What strategies do you employ to build long-term customer relationships?

Ferdinand: We believe in a direct, uncomplicated and partnership-based approach. Staying close to our customers is vital. Reliability and consistency are values we uphold. Long-term relationships are built on trust and earning that trust is what we strive for every day.

Aaron: In terms of developing groundbreaking functionalities, we're significantly advancing the state of the art. Artificial intelligence will revolutionize construction sites and the industry at a scale we can hardly imagine today. Our team has deep experience in AI and we're committed to leading our customers and the industry towards a brighter future.

Looking ahead, what are your long-term visions and goals?

Ferdinand: We're at the forefront of a revolution where productivity, efficiency and sustainability go hand in hand. There's immense potential, but change doesn't happen overnight. Rome wasn't built in a day. We position ourselves as keen observers and strategic drivers. We're geared up for a long and exciting journey alongside our partners, navigating the ever-evolving landscape of the construction industry.

Elevate Your Knowledge:
The Benetics Blog.

Check out our latest posts and news here! We've handpicked engaging, useful and important content just for you.

Benetics in the NZZ: Enjoy the Read

One of Switzerland's foremost media publications, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ), has released an article on artificial intelligence, with a significant emphasis on Benetics. Read about how we enable faster, more efficient and safer work on construction sites.

Skilled Labor Shortage in Construction: Challenges and Solutions

The construction industry faces a pressing challenge: a significant shortage of skilled labor. What can be done to address this issue?

Interview: In Dialogue with the Benetics Founders

In July 2022, Ferdinand, Johan and Aaron joined forces to create Benetics, a software startup with a bold vision: to revolutionize the construction industry through digitizing. Join us in an engaging conversation with these trailblazers to uncover the essence of Benetics today – and catch a glimpse of its promising path ahead.