Innovyze

Autodesk acquires water modelling firm, Innovyze for $1B

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Autodesk buys Portland-based Innovyze for $1 Billion, to enter smart water infrastructure modelling market 


In its first acquisition of the year, Autodesk has spent $1 billion cash on Portland OR based developer Innovyze. The 35 year-old software company is a specialist in smart water infrastructure modelling, simulation, and predictive analyses technologies. 

According to Autodesk this acquisition helps it “to provide end-to-end solutions for design, construction, and now, operations of water infrastructure, enabling them to accelerate sustainable outcomes and help communities build resilience for the future.”

Innovyze’s modelling, simulation, and predictive analyses solutions enable cost-effective and sustainable water distribution networks, water collection systems, water and wastewater treatment plants, and flood protection systems. Further, Innovyze’s solutions centralise infrastructure asset visibility to optimise capital and operational expenses.

Autodesk stated that “combining Innovyze’s portfolio with its own design and analysis solutions, including Autodesk Civil 3D, Autodesk InfraWorks, and the Autodesk Construction Cloud, offers civil engineers, water utility companies and water experts the ability to better respond to issues and to improve planning.”

Executive comments

“We can achieve a more sustainable planet, but we can’t do it without responsibly managing our use of water and securing its future,” said Andrew Anagnost, Autodesk president and CEO. “An estimated $1.9 trillion is required to address global water infrastructure needs by 2030, and by fundamentally changing the way systems are designed, constructed, and operated, we are best positioned to overcome this challenge and realize the better world we’ve imagined.”

“Nearly nine trillion gallons of water are lost each year worldwide due to prolonged leaks and pipe breaks, but we cannot manage or fix what we cannot see,” said Amy Bunszel, executive vice president, AEC Design Solutions at Autodesk. “Innovyze’s portfolio of operational analytics, distribution modelling, and asset management solutions provides the insight needed to identify this and other potential problems before they become a crisis.”

“For thirty-five years Innovyze has been a hidden part of the daily lives of millions of people around the world, helping to deliver fresh, clean water, managing sewage and flooding in our communities, and turning wastewater into safe water,” said Colby Manwaring, CEO of Innovyze.

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“Similarly, if you look at the built world around us, Autodesk’s design DNA is found in just about every structure you see above ground and below, so it makes strategic sense to bring together our complementary organizations critical to much of the world’s population. We look forward to completing the acquisition and getting to work, together.”

AEC Magazine thoughts on Innovyze acquisition

By any measurement, this is the biggest deal so far under CEO Andrew Anagnost. Since 2017 Autodesk had already spent $2.4 billion acquiring firms and technologies predominantly for its construction cloud play. Innovyze appears to be a much more strategic purchase, with regards to entering deeper into the Civils space, targeting specifically water. 

In Autodesk’s justification slide deck, it states that Innovyze’s lets it better address $1.7B total addressable market. Mainly due to the fact that Innovyze is the largest pure-play global water infrastructure software provider with regulatory stamp of approval. The company has 240 employees and is conveniently located in Portland Oregon, which is also the home of Autodesk’s mechanical CAD division.

To date, Autodesk’s presence in infrastructure and plant, has tended to less than market dominating. Autodesk feels it has the building space, but has tough competition in transport roads, plant, rail and water, against players such as Hexagon, Trimble and Bentley Systems.

Autodesk’s intentions now go beyond competing in the design offering space, as it looks to build a compelling, cloud-based, digital twin business. This acquisition of Innovyze takes the companies relevance from design and construction all the way through to operation and decommission. While Autodesk has the potential to democratise digital twins in the building space, it’s lack of dominance in the infrastructure market is an issue.

Autodesk’s digital twin technologies are also still embryonic, with Autodesk Tandem, now in public beta, and yet to be released. Clearly Autodesk is not going to stop at building digital twins of above-ground installations, but wants to also document what goes on under our feet. However, to do this it has a fight on its hands with the incumbent competition to win market share.

While Autodesk has now spent $3.4 billion acquiring firms in the last three years, we are not sure how this news will be received by Revit customers who have been complaining of lack of development and increased cost of ownership. While Autodesk has promised to re-double its efforts on delivering a broader three-year roadmap for Revit, it seems to prefer to spend much more money on acquiring firms for its construction cloud and now digital twin/ civil engineering play.

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