Construxiv Technologies announced on June 18 that it has acquired Grit Virtual, a construction scheduling and management software that allows for detailed activity planning by general contractors and subcontractors. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Industry tech leaders say what sets Grit apart is its use of a graph-database platform instead of a relational database. And the innovative track record of Construxiv’s co-founders, Mark Klusza and David Little, as well as Klusza’s recent founding of another company using graph databases called graphMetrix, bode well for Grit’s future. The graphMetrix product is an AI-assisted, automatic document-management and data-extraction tool called Trinity, which is licensed by StratusVue and distributed through Sage’s Construction Project Center.

“Up until now, all of the products I am aware of have used relational databases,” says Frank Malangone, senior director for product and industry strategy with Oracle Construction and Engineering. “But what [Klusza] is doing with graph [databases] is connecting one object with another and creating this [unlimited] hierarchy of relationships—parent, child, grandchild [etc.]. When you think of trying to connect a complex schedule with submittals and procurement and all the rest, graph is a natural. It’s very extensible.  That’s why I think it’s important to the industry. It can make those connections.”

Grit was created by Chris Callen, a former concrete contractor in Wichita, Kan., who hired a software developer to address his requirements, spinning out a product in 2017. Klusza says the developer approached the challenge as a data scientist, and used the graph database platform Neo4j, JavaScript and a query language called Cypher—which uses a nearly plain-language syntax—to solve the problem. Callen paused the marketing of Grit in mid-2018 and sought out Klusza’s counsel for marketing and development help, which ultimately led to the sale. Callen will stay on at Construxiv, with the title of Grit Founder.

Grit is licensed on a per-project basis for unlimited users. Its pre-acquisition pricing model, now under review, started at $60 per month for a “core” level to create a schedule or import one from P6 or Microsoft Project, then automatically generate one-, three- and six-week look-aheads, sorted by trade. The $240 level adds a mobile interface for capturing progress. The $450 top level includes a 4D model viewer as well as a new “Floor-D” view that uses 2D plans to show where building trades are scheduled to work at given times, for distribution on mobile devices or as PDFs.

“Grit is the only thing that brings together work packaging, scheduling and 2D, 3D or 4D planning in a single platform,” says Nick Kurth, manager of virtual construction for PCL Construction Enterprises Inc. Kurth says one of PCL’s skilled superintendents will trial Grit this summer to plan a large project, starting from a P6 schedule. “This could replace a lot of Excel spreadsheets,” Kurth says.

Walter Davis, senior manager of strategic alliances at Sage Software, says the Grit acquisition marks a pivotal moment in how contractors can use real-time updates to accurately depict project status, including the cost and time impacts of schedule changes as well as the true earned value to date. “It also provides the platform to finally connect preconstruction teams to the field, [and support] a collaborative information flow between design, preconstruction, ERP and field operations,” he adds.

John Goecke, founder, president and COO at StratusVue, is familiar with graph database technology, having implemented and branded graphMetrix’ Trinity as StratusLink to automatically read construction documents and link the contents within document-management systems. “It’s got some serious wow to it,” Goecke says, and predicts the addition of Grit will be powerful. “The [Grit] platform is great, [and] the opportunity it presents is where it can go. It makes tech that’s typically available only to the biggest construction companies in the world available for everyone.”

“Grit is the nexus,” says Malangone. “Klusza and his team have a deep understanding of the industry, as well as of technology. This can really be a big deal.”