Australia’s IFM takes majority stake in global construction technology business Render

IFM Investments
Photo by Dan Freeman on Unsplash

IFM Investors’ private equity Growth Fund has acquired a majority stake in Render Networks, a global provider of construction management Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions for builders and operators of telecommunications, energy and utility networks.

Dividends Returns that are generated through investments like these go to IFM’s investors – which are largely superannuation funds – and through them, into the pockets of the millions of working people they represent.

Headquartered in Melbourne and with operations in the United States and the United Kingdom, Render uses a proprietary geospatial construction platform to build networks more efficiently.

Disrupting the decades-old, traditional approach to network construction, Render’s platform leverages advanced algorithms and machine learning capabilities to optimally design, plan and track construction delivery across the project lifecycle.

Among Render’s clients are fibre network utility operators such as Strata Networks, SpringNet, and First Electric Co-operative in the US, and Wessex Internet in the UK. They also service construction contractors and turn-key project managers, such as Irby Utilities and The Broadband Group in the US; and have a successful record with tier 1 delivery partners across Australia’s NBN rollout.

Render’s technology has a track record of facilitating networks to be built up to 30% faster and with up to 50% less material waste and rework compared with traditional construction practices, which Render estimates could drive cost savings for customers of around 15%.

The efficiency benefits gained by Render’s customers also create sustainability outcomes by helping the sector avoid more than 12,000 tC02e,1 largely by reducing transport emissions in the value chain and emissions associated with input materials. This emissions avoidance potential is expected to increase as the business continues to scale.

With its strong customer value proposition, Render is a growing and profitable business, and IFM sees further growth opportunities through expanding its product offering and footprint into new regions and markets.

The company was co-founded in 2013 by Dan Flemming, former head of construction at NBN Australia, and Joe Forbes of Biarri, a commercial mathematics incubator of B2B SaaS solutions.

The investment is the second deal for IFM’s Growth Fund, which invests on behalf of institutional investors and targets investments in proven, high-growth companies, across the Australian technology, business services and healthcare sectors and supports them to scale rapidly.

The fund also includes Payapps, a Melbourne-based, global SaaS provider in the construction and building management sector with operations in Australia, New Zealand, North America and Europe.

The transaction reflects IFM’s Private Equity approach of investing in businesses that support emissions reduction through their products. It is also aligned with IFM’s firmwide commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across its asset classes targeting net zero by 2050.

The investment of approximately A$40m, including growth capital, was led by Adrian Kerley and Bora Han from IFM Investors. Mr Kerley and IFM’s Head of Private Equity Stuart Wardman-Browne will join the Render Network Board as Non-Executive Directors.