Javed Singha, MBA ’09, Fieldwire
by Dick Anderson
For all the construction design tools that look like something out of “The Jetsons,” the building process itself still resembles “The Flintstones.”
“There’s all this phenomenal software that’s happened in the design process, then the execution goes back to paper and pencil,” says Javed Singha. Seeing opportunity, Singha welded the tools he had developed in the social gaming industry with his Johnson MBA and MIT engineering degree. Together with his partner, Yves Frinault, he created Fieldwire, a mobile and web platform designed to track every detail of every job, recording each update with an electronic timestamp for colleagues and clients.
Singha and Frinault had worked together for more than a year at Ubisoft, the video game publisher behind Assassin’s Creed. During a subsequent stint as a project manager at a health-care transparency company, Singha spent “a good nine months and weekends” developing Fieldwire’s product and pitch materials. The startup raised $1.1 million in seed money in July 2013 and another $5.5 million in fresh funding last fall, and Fieldwire now boasts more than 1,000 companies managing some 35,000 projects.
At its Geary Street offices north of Union Square in San Francisco, Fieldwire keeps an atypically normal 9-to-6 workday. “We do not ask for nights or weekends ever,” Singha says. Whereas a lot of Silicon Valley startups cater to their employees with great foods and on-demand massages, “We’re a little counterculture in being fans of core hours and having everyone work together in a collaborative fashion.”
If anything has surprised Singha in getting Fieldwire off the ground, it’s that scaling the company culture and distribution can be harder to master than creating the product. “Many tech founders rely on an ‘If you build it, they will come’ mentality,” he says, “but in our experience, it takes a lot more time and energy.”