Technology

Start-up lowdown: Frontline

Shot of Frontline trender screen on a computer

Had it up to here with developing and revising project schedules? Is project planning giving you a headache? Perhaps Frontline has the answer.

Frontline has developed AI-powered products that international giants like Ferrovial and Kajima are using for project planning. A few weeks on from exhibiting at Digital Construction Week, Frontline co-founder and chief executive Luis Martinez gives BIMplus the lowdown.

BIMplus: How does your technology help those in the built environment?

Luis Martinez: Project planners face numerous challenges when developing project schedules. Planning teams must identify the best path to follow, meet deadlines, protect the budget, and use all available resources efficiently. After that, they need to share their chosen solution with different stakeholders, and when construction starts, monitor potential risks and mitigate delays if necessary.

These processes tend to be tiresome and time-consuming for planners due to the manual nature of existing scheduling software solutions. Our AI-powered products help users boost their productivity throughout the project planning cycle: from getting lessons and insights from past projects to simulating thousands of alternatives if needed, monitoring potential constraints, and generating alternatives to mitigate risks – all in a cloud-based secure solution.

What was the genesis of your technology?

Luis Martinez of Frontline

“Our AI-powered products help users boost their productivity throughout the project planning cycle: from getting lessons and insights from past projects to simulating thousands of alternatives if needed.”

Luis Martinez

I worked in companies including Shell and Repsol for several years, responsible for the planning and execution of projects. In 2021, I joined the accelerator Entrepreneurs First in Singapore with the idea that improving planning processes using new technologies was crucial. But I didn’t have a good idea about how to achieve this.

In Singapore I met my co-founder, Ruiqi Ding. I shared with him the complexity of the construction planning process and the need for a solution, an ally for planners to make their work easier so they could focus on the big picture, and ensure better solutions. He found this very challenging and took it on as a project.

We needed to create a simple way for planners to upload their schedules, and find solutions seamlessly. We thought it would be great if a planner could simply upload their schedules and ask our AI which options were the best to execute the project. Planners constantly ask themselves how to optimise the scope of work to be completed with the resources in hand. That is how Frontline became our AI project.

In just two weeks, we proved that it could be done and that there was a market to reach. We developed a prototype and four companies were ready to test it on their projects.

Think of Frontline as a smart entity that learns from planners. Users upload their schedule and ask Frontline what they need. They can even request to take into account specific constraints. Frontline will deliver all potential solutions, so users can deep-dive into them, define which ones are the best, and share them with needed stakeholders. Frontline’s AI can even learn from the past. By uploading past projects, users can get insights that will help them develop benchmarks for the future. 

The focus of this technology, from the beginning, was that manual planning processes could be reduced while increasing success for the whole team.

The Frontline team
Frontline’s co-founders: Ruiqi Ding (left) and Luis Martinez

Who is your senior management team and what’s their background?

Our management team comprises Ruiqi, co-founder and CTO, and myself.

Ruiqi is based in Singapore and leads the engineering and product team. He was a researcher at the Centre of Quantum Technologies of the National University of Singapore and Max Planck Institute in Germany. He’s an incredible mathematician, who studied physics thanks to a government scholarship available only for top students.

I am the chief executive, based in Spain, leading the operations and client-facing teams. Our company is growing and while most of the work goes into engineering and product development, we already have a marketing and creative team supporting us to reach more companies.

Which businesses have tested it or are currently using it?

We are lucky to have leading companies in their sectors trusting us, like Ferrovial, Acciona, Kajima, MDC, and more. Our AI is being used in projects around the world, from the US to UK, and from Spain to the Philippines. Construction projects like railroads, highways, and clean energy plants have experienced the value of AI technology. They’ve saved more than 90% of time in evaluation delays and mitigation, saving hundreds of thousands of US dollars on schedule optimisation and resource costs.

Are you looking for more funding?

Yes. After our latest seed, we were able to grow our business and revenue by more than 10 times, expand the reach of our solution in different markets, and increase our portfolio. For us to speed up the launch of new features and optimisation while increasing our brand recognition and product positioning, we understand the importance of continuing to invest in growing our team and supporting our customers, to make the best of the continuous growth AI is bringing to the industry.

What are your plans for the next two years?

We plan to continue enhancing our suite of products, tailor-made to the AI-era planner to continue empowering their work, and carry on expanding our market presence, focusing on the UK and Europe. Our vision is to become the number one AI solution for construction planning and scheduling. 

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