SAIT bootcamp graduate secures multi-million dollar funding for construction software

Tracecost founders Sunny Vohra, Madhvi Walia and Prabh Paul
The Applied Product Management Bootcamp helped Madhvi Walia fine-tune Tracecost

Think of your favourite season — probably not construction, right?   

For Calgarians and people living in growing cities across Canada, construction season can mean waking up to the sounds of drilling and paving, or longer commute times due to road closures.

Delays in the work lengthen construction season, but what if there was a tool to reduce delays?

Tracecost provides real-time data to construction decision-makers so they receive the most-up-to-date information. No need to go looking for it in someone’s obscure folder either. The documents are centralized in one cloud-based location.

Poor documentation often slows progress, as Madhvi Walia explains. By the time reports make it to senior management, they’ve often aged up to two weeks, affecting the accuracy and relevancy of data, delaying decisions needed to complete projects. 

With a decade of experience as an architect working in construction and real estate industries, Walia saw the same pitfalls affecting different types of development projects, from residential buildings or commercial, like the building of a hotel: a lack of organization in information and the length of time it takes to travel to senior management.

That’s why, with Sunny Vohra’s technology expertise and Prabh Paul’s architecture background, she co-founded Tracecost in 2019 — a cloud-based document-tracking software designed for construction projects. Tracecost is applicable across all types of construction, since a project lifecycle is comparable no matter its nature. Tracecost’s usage is flexible, be it commercial, residential, institutional or industrial.

Three years of development and SAIT’s Applied Product Management Bootcamp later, Tracecost and its tech approach to solving construction problems has received $2.5 million in funding.

Graphic outlining the features of the Tracecost software

Tracecost’s humble beginnings

The software started out as a bootstrapped project. The co-founders put all their savings into the product and received a great response from interested clients, but soon realized they were limited in their technical know-how and experience. 

Walia wanted to pick the brains of people who had done this sort of thing, so she turned to SAIT’s Applied Product Management Bootcamp for help. She completed the program in Fall 2021, which gave her the tools to her fine-tune the software and develop a strategy to expand its reach. SAIT's industry partner Tacit Edge Product Leadership delivers the program’s education and coaching. Co-founders Christa Hill and Renee Matsalla supported Walia’s knowledge by deepening her perspective related to the product and understanding the industry from the eyes of diverse product leadership.

From bootstrapped to bootcamp

Because of Walia’s busy schedule, the 12-week and part-time format (evenings and weekends) of the Applied Product Management Bootcamp was appealing. 

Working full-time with Tracecost, especially with a big part of the team located in a different time zone, I did not have the bandwidth for a long, full-time commitment,” she says.

The program gave her confidence, technical know-how and tools to manage and package a product and reach the right clients. She learned how to define the vision of Tracecost and convert long-term goals into bite-sized milestones. The bootcamp also provided Walia insight on the importance of Tracecost’s customers, which include MainStreet Equity Corp., headquartered in Calgary, construction engineering company JMC Projects, located in India, and a few others in West Africa and the United Arab Emirates.

“It made me realize how closely related to the customer we are, and the value we get in understanding the customer better.”

The instructors were a key part to Walia’s enjoyment of the program.

“They've been really good mentors,” says Walia. “They're not only in touch with you during the bootcamp, but even after.”  Meaning she feels she can continue to reach out to them if she’s looking for insights.

To $2.5 million and beyond…

To date, Tracecost has received $2.5 million in funding from Southeast Asia company Of Business (OFB), a tech-enabled platform backed by SoftBank Group that provides funding to small and medium-sized enterprises.

“Receiving funding validates our commitment to Tracecost and provides an opportunity for us to widen our horizon of growth,” says Walia. “Until we received funding, things were definitely not easy.” 

So, what’s next for Tracecost?

The $2.5 million in funding will help Walia grow the software’s presence in North America. The bootcamp gave Walia the direction she needed to expand Tracecost, because instruction comes from industry experts.

“The bootcamp gave me more confidence because the knowledge is coming from someone who has been there and done that.”

Dig into applied product management

Do you see a real-world problem that needs solving? Add product discovery, vision and strategy to your toolbox with the Applied Product Management Bootcamp. Learn more

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