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Agave Integration Platform Positioned for Growth by Ryvit Acquisition

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In its coverage of unfolding events and future trends, IronPros is focusing heavily on construction software interoperability, and as technology giant Trimble acquires integration platform as a service (iPaaS) vendor Ryvit, startup Agave is well-positioned as an independent partner to software vendors and customers intent on uniting disparate systems used in their business.

The iPaaS product category is not focused on transactional software, but rather is a connective tissue layer, formerly called middleware to facilitate cross-platform transactions intra- or inter-company processes. Agave and other iPaaS vendors will steer clear of one-off integrations, but rather create integrations to their own central API that can then broad, standard integrations across a network of member products.

San Francisco-based Agave, founded in 2021, delivers this modern cloud platform to help software vendors and construction contractors get the disparate applications running in a contracting business or across a multi-company project team to hand off transactions and processes using a single application programming interface (API). By leveraging this API, Agave Sync enables contractors to connect data from any two systems using a no-code application. Agave Analytics in the meantime lashes data points from these applications into easily consumed views to help manage real-time processes including safety incidents, change orders, RFIs and financial transactions against a budget.

While many entities focusing on interoperability solutions for construction have focused on creating integrations with legacy solutions developed before the cloud and open APIs, Agave has specialized on integrations between multi-tenant software-as-a-service (SaaS) products. This means Agave is aligned more directly with the future of construction software than it is with mitigating the obsolete technologies of the past. Current construction-specific integrations offered by Agave include:

Project Management

  •  Aconex
  • Autodesk Build
  • BIM 360
  • BIM 360 Field
  • BIM Track
  • Fieldwire
  • InEight
  • PlanGrid
  • Procore

Construction ERP

  • CMiC
  • Jonas Premier
  • Quickbooks Online
  • Sage Intacct
  • Trimble Viewpoint Jobpac
  • Trimble Viewpoint Spectrum
  • Trimble Viewpoint Vista

Field Service Management

  •  CompanyCam
  • Housecall Pro
  • ServiceTitan

Other integrations include Primavera Cloud, Microsoft Power BI, HubSpot, Salesforce and cloud storage tools including box, Dropbox, Egnyte, Google Drive, OneDrive and SharePoint online. Pending integrations include:

  • Trimble e-Builder
  • eSub
  • HCSS HeavyJob
  • Newforma
  • PMWeb
  • ProjectSight
  •  Trimble MEP
  • Trimble Viewpoint Team
  • Acumatica
  • Cheops
  • Deltek
  • Foundation
  • Oracle JDEdwards
  • Microsoft Dynamics
  • Quickbooks Desktop
  • Sage 100 Contractor
  • Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate
  • SAP S/4 HANA
  • Textura
  • Xero
  • Pipedrive
  • topBuilder
  • Unanet

Expanding beyond cloud-native construction software

During our May 2022 IronPros discovery process, Agave Co-founder Tom Reno said the company was working to ramp up their development team so they could create more integrations with more of the solutions on their list faster than they can at their current staffing level. Agave at that time consisted of the firm’s four founders and two software developers. The team of principles were splitters from Amazon, which they had joined in 2017 after the retail giant acquired their company, Graphiq, Inc., to shore up their Alexa virtual assistant. Reno started out handling sales and other co-founders were involved in demos.

“At first, we didn’t have a customer success function—we were about eight months into building Agave when we started,” Reno said. “We didn’t know that was a thing. Now, Co-Founder Samantha Zhang is handling this and has created a robust process so we can get customers to go live faster. We put them through an initial 45-minute orientation to onboard them onto the API and do some design consultation and code reviews.”

At the time of our talk, Agave was less focused on adding new customers than recruiting new developers as the demand for the standard integrations the company produces will outstrip capacity.

“Our major bottleneck is software developers—we have been selling ahead of what we can deliver,” Reno said. “We don’t have enough developers, so we have actually scaled back sales for now. But the plan is for us to grow that development team by 80% to 100% in the next 12 months.”

According to Reno, growth of the development team will enable Agave to expand beyond the modern multi-tenant SaaS applications they have been focusing on and get involved with legacy applications, developed initially for use on-premise. An application housed on-premise will require an integration to burrow past a firewall and may not be designed to easily authenticate connections from external systems. These software products also typically lack the underlying API structure of a more modern application and often require more labor-intensive integration methods. These integrations also need to minimize the loss transparency and functionality associated with database-level integrations.

A more modern cloud-first application will typically have APIs designed to support integrations, and these APIs may even be RESTful—short for representational state transfer. RESTful APIs, like other APIS, expose the underlying data set for integration, but also include information on how each exposed data point can be used by other applications, enabling more robust integrations without adding complexity.

“Now, we cover 100% cloud-based systems,” Reno said. “We are building a way to connect with on-premise systems—for a system that lives within a firewall—to handle payments and other transactions. Next quarter, we are launching an ODBC (open database connector). So, if I am a general and my software system is on premise, I can handle that database-level integration. But one important thing we do is to give our customers front end components they can reuse inside their application. Today, we need to build that file picker or viewer from scratch. We are moving towards creating interfaces for interacting with data using low/no code methods like a product like Zapier does.”

Agave tech stack

The Agave product set is a stand-alone, vendor-neutral iPaaS for construction provisioned on Amazon Web Services (AWS).

“We are comfortable with AWS because our principles worked at Amazon on the Alexa product,” Reno said. “WE do not persist data over time—but rather use AWS data. Our customers are integrating with our API code and also benefit from API documentation that describe the structure of what server calls included and what they do. We provide a tool to select integrations to authorize sharing data between products.”

The Agave tool set is built on the Laravel PHP framework, which is a very solid and performant choice for multi-tenant software-as-a-service (SaaS). The front end is built in REACT. Product is shipped at least once a day, enable rapid iteration, bug fixes and security patching.

“The most common situation is Agave talking to a SaaS application, to retain data a customer needs to integrate with Procore, Google Drive or Sage,” Reno said. “A trade contractor may say they need an integration with CMiC and Primavera P6 to secure a project with a given general. With Agave, they can connect not just to the products they need to integrate with today, but others too.”

Agave is Soc2 compliant and guarantees uptime with discounts for any outages. Reno said the product’s operation has not been impacted by AWS outages thanks to cross-regional redundancy and built-in failover capabilities.

Agave Pricing and market

As an iPaaS, Agave has two sets of customers—software companies that need to deliver interoperability with other products to close business and contractors who need to integrate their own tech stack and facilitate cross-organizational transactions with project partners.

While very large contractors may facilitate their own integrations with internal resources, the cost and complexity of this arrangement will still make iPaaS attractive. Custom integrations need to be uplifted each time a constituent software product is updated, and the contractor is responsible for maintaining the integration.

Technology-forward contractors may gravitate towards software that removes the application management, database administration and other non-value-added work from the equation, which makes Agave a likely tool for those with modern tech stacks. The former Ryvit organization and integrators like HH2 may continue in the meantime to focus on more legacy applications that are at once harder to integrate and more likely to be replaced or substantially re-imagined in the intermediate future.

Agave sells to contractors on a monthly subscription in three tiers. The first tier, which at the time of our debriefing was in the several hundreds of dollars per month, gives a company the ability to read data into your application. A second tier, at about four times the subscription cost, enables writing of data back to a system of record, in up to six applications.

Custom pricing is available to facilitate very large assortments of applications or situations where the data synchronization needs to happen faster than usual. As customers deploy several integrations, per-product cost goes down.

Ultimately, Reno said the company wins on technology and its interface.

“We have a really clean and easy to use API—and our developer quality is high,” Reno said. “We do really well in sales calls when the person actually responsible for doing the integration is on the call because Agave makes their lives easier and enables them to deliver and go live on their technology faster.”

BOTTOM LINE: Software interoperability is one of the most significant priorities for the construction industry. Contractors need the disparate products they run in their own company to pass business transactions and processes back and forth seamlessly. They also need to facilitate transactions and processing with external project partners. As a significant competitor is acquired, Agave becomes more attractive due to its independence from the software companies it facilitates integrations between. Post-acquisition, software companies seeking to plug their products into a broad iPaaS network will probably have to get in line between the various constituent products in the Trimble Construction One product line, while Agave’s only constraint may be their ability to hire developers to meet demand.

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