Fondations #1: a new way to manage on-site operations

Foundations, Leonard's brand new podcast, gives a voice to entrepreneurs who are transforming mobility, construction, real estate and energy. Every two weeks, we chat with the movers and shakers who are building the city of tomorrow. In our first episode, we hear from Clément Bénard, CEO and co-founder of Hiboo, a start-up promoting the use of data on construction sites. In this look back over his career, Bénard discusses how his project came about and the obstacles he ran into along the way. Selected excerpts.

Managing machines and equipment raises several questions: what is their location at a given time? Are they in good working order? Are they profitable? By leveraging the power of IoT, the start-up Hiboo answers these questions for industrial companies, while helping them improve the way they manage their construction equipment 


A promising move to the BtoB market  

Hiboo’s entrepreneurial adventure began as a story of friends from various backgrounds. As a business school graduate, Clément Bénard never set out to pursue a career in technology. But one thing led to another and as he met new people and embarked on new collaborations, he wound up knee-deep in the world of software and IoT, where he first met his current business partners: Charles Bénard and François Jacob. Where Charles is heavily oriented towards technology, François, as a CFO, is more of a numbers guy. Together, the ttrio eventually founded their first start-up: Hiboo 

"There's a lot of serendipity when you're set out as an entrepreneur. There is a host of opportunities before us and a story of people working hard. "

Clément Bénard CEO and co-founder of Hiboo

Fate and luck also played a hand in redirecting the trio’s activities. Firm believers in the power of data from the outset, the construction sector was not their first target: instead they tried their hand on the BtoC side, with their first project consisting in monitoring and geolocating motorcycles 

"After presenting our project to the first investors, there was a lot of excitement but we were asked, 'Why are you approaching the BtoC market? There is so much more to monitor in the BtoB market."

Clément Bénard CEO and co-founder of Hiboo

Including trucks, cranes, drills, excavators and more, construction machinery generates vast data volumes, as most manufacturers equip their products with telematics for geolocation and even remote control. However, using this data effectively remains a work in progress, since paper is still firmly ingrained in the management and operating procedures of this equipment 

"When you look at the level of digitalization in construction, you realize there is still a lot to be done."

Clément Bénard CEO and co-founder of Hiboo

For this reason, the choice was easy to turn Hiboo not into a construction startup, but instead a genuine digital solution for optimizing field operations 

tiny company making a lot of noise 

Today, Hiboo offers a connected solution for real-time analysis of all data emitted by site equipment in order to optimize their use: determining which tasks they will benefit the most, their operating frequency, as well as simplifying procedures. No more phone calls or sharing paper notes! This technology reduces management time and optimizes production costs. 

This little revolution in the construction world has fueled the start-up’s success beyond its wildest dreams:  

"We are reaching a point where we are overwhelmed by our own value proposition. We are being asked to do a thousand times more than we are even capable of doing. "

Clément Bénard CEO and co-founder of Hiboo

To meet this intense demand, Hiboo’s small team employs an agile method that has allowed it to maximize its output. Indeed, the start-up follows an almost industrial organization, while at the same time collaborating with its various customers through trusted partnerships.  

"We try to work closely enough with our customers so they know our mindset and how we are moving forward."

Clément Bénard CEO and co-founder of Hiboo

What’s next? The entrepreneur now aims to position his start-up as the top name in optimization among large groups and smaller players in the construction industry. Quite a project!  

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