From on-site frustrations to success: Nomad Fleet’s blueprint for transforming the construction industry

September 27, 2023
Nomad Suite Accelerator Startmate Will Smith

Imagine a billion-dollar idea that completely shakes up an industry. Typically, you might picture fancy new inventions or super complex tech stuff, right? But sometimes, the next big thing is just a clever and straightforward solution that revolutionises the way things work. That's exactly what Nomad Fleet is all about. 

Will Smith, a civil engineer, and Mourad Kessas, a computer scientist, teamed up to create Nomad with one goal in mind: to be the iOS for the construction industry.

“Construction, industrial, and civil engineering companies have large assets like bulldozers, often fleets of them, that are worth millions of dollars and that they need to maintain. Over 60% of the industry still uses paper forms as a part of their fleet management process, losing valuable data. What our product Nomad Fleet does, is provides a digital system that enables real time visibility by connecting the jobsite to the office, all the way through to the workshop. Because Nomad Fleet automates the entire end-to-end process with a simple system, fleet owners minimise asset breakdowns with accurate data, stay compliant and move from reactive to proactive fleet management saving thousands”, Will summarised 

Will at a construction site pre-Nomad Fleet

Laying the foundation

Will's journey towards creating Nomad started with his own on-site experiences. He began as a labourer and worked his way up to becoming a project engineer. Throughout this journey, he encountered the frustrations of relying on paper forms to manage construction assets. Moreover, he observed companies attempting to tackle this issue by building custom software solutions, often with unsustainable outcomes. These experiences left a profound impact on him, and it was during an MBA entrepreneurship class that the initial idea for Nomad Fleet emerged. 

“I was in an MBA class and we were supposed to come up with a business idea. My whole class was coming up with these crazy ideas for innovative technologies.” 

“One class, I just started reflecting back on my industry, and came up with a concept - Uber for construction plant hire. From there I was obsessed and 16 months later I was the only person to leave my MBA class continuing working on a startup idea” Will shared. 

Using low-code and a single team member, Will worked on launching a marketplace, which earned over $1.2M gross revenue in 9 months. However, the initial pains Will had faced around fleet management became more apparent when hiring out machines, and so he decided to pivot and validate with low code again, then search for a technical co-founder.

Constructing a partnership

Will’s search for a co-founder led him to Y combinator’s co-founder matching site where he met Mourad. 

Sharing what he was looking for in a potential co-founder, Mourad said “I was looking for several attributes. First, that the idea was realistic. I’ve met a lot of co-founders out there looking to change the world without an idea of how to get there. Second, I was very confident in my ability to put together technology, so I needed my counterpart to be able to sell it so that we could get somewhere. Finally was personality and an ability to get along. When I met Will, he checked all the boxes and it was an easy pick for me.” 

By the time Mourad met Will, Will had already made progress on Nomad with his low-code build solution, allowing Mourad to join and help take the progress and vision further. 

“When Mourad and I first got on a call, both of us just clicked. We were talking fast, getting excited, and had really similar energy.” 

Within a couple of weeks of working together, Will and Mourad discovered greater alignment in their vision and values. The rest, as they say, is history. 

Will and Mourad together

Breaking ground and building fast

Six months into the pivot and since the launch of their MVP in March, Nomad Fleet has just cracked their first $100k in their annual recurring revenue. Additionally, in lightning time, they’ve raised capital, secured early customers, made their first hire, secured an office, and are now looking to roll-out their solution nationally. 

Video showcasing Nomad Fleet

With such phenomenal progress, Will and Mourad started exploring how they could 10x their growth, expand internationally, and surround themselves with a network of people who have done this before. Enter Startmate’s Accelerator program. 

“A vital next step for us was to surround ourselves with people who have scaled B2B SaaS. Startmate provided us with the stepping stone we needed to get to the next stage, and we’ve got a great network of mentors and leads which has helped us”, Will said. 

Recalling a stand-out moment from the program, Mourad shared “The speed-dating programs we did allowed me to come out of my bubble and meet a whole bunch of people, who were all experts in their fields. All of them had great feedback on how to proceed forward and we still continue to work with them.” 

Reaching new heights 

While their track record demonstrates incredible ingenuity and resilience, perhaps the most important indicators of their future success are their passion and curiosity. 

“My biggest regret is not being a founder sooner”, Mourad said. “The direct correlation between the amount of work you put in and the output that you get is amazing. This is a fun journey and the potential is unlimited”, he continued. 

Commenting on what surprised him on his journey as a first-time founder Will said, “One of the biggest things that keeps happening to me in this journey is thinking ‘I know what I need to know’ and then having the rug pulled out from under me. As a founder you have to keep adapting based on new data and your intuition. This process of learning has been so exciting for me and it is why I’m driven to continue this journey for years to come with Nomad. 

Will and Mourad have a big vision for Nomad Fleet: to become Australia’s next construction-tech unicorn. 

They are laser focused on achieving this by continuing to provide their clients with a solution that is easy to use and saves millions of dollars in efficiency. With a seed round planned for early next year, they are working towards their next goal:to be in the US before 2026. 

PSA: Summer24 Accelerator applications are OPEN.

Apply here.

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