5 reflections on 5 years of Spacemaker

Spacemaker Team
Spacemaker Team September 13, 2021 5 min read

Spacemaker turned five this month! It’s incredible to think that an ambitious idea we had five years ago to fundamentally change the way design, engineering and project teams worked has come so far. Frustrated with the inefficiencies of the planning process, especially in the early stages, we saw an opportunity to find a better way to design our cities. Did something like this already exist, or if it didn’t, would it be possible to build? We set out to find a way to realize our ambition and, in the process, create something that would have a global impact. Bringing Spacemaker to life has been both a joy and an epic undertaking – not to mention the challenge to change an entire industry that has remained largely unchanged in decades. But whereas five years ago it was just the three of us, we now have the support from an incredible team of over 110 people in 9 countries, each of whom has put in a phenomenal effort to advance the platform to what it is today. Turning five is a milestone in startup years, so we wanted to take a moment to reflect on the journey so far, and share some of our experiences with you.

Carl Christensen, Håvard Haukeland and Anders Kvåle

Our biggest challenge so far has been that we needed to invent everything from scratch. As we’re tackling a problem that existing technology hasn’t addressed before, we can’t utilize pre-built solutions; we’re building algorithms from the bottom up and a type of user interaction nobody has seen before. We’ve had to invent – and still are – a go-to market model from scratch, plus build a company in a completely new way bringing together people from both the construction and tech industries. Looking ahead, it can be challenging to anticipate the next stage of the journey because that doesn’t exist yet either. It puts us in a relatively unique position as there are few product journeys like this. On the flip side, this challenge of pioneering a new path brings us the opportunity to chart our own course. So that we can find truly better ways of working to make that fundamental change we envisioned.

What we’ve enjoyed most about the journey so far, and still do,
 is starting and building a shared momentum with our incredible team. Nothing has given us more motivation than seeing Spacemaker’s fantastic talents internalizing our mission and driving it forward faster than we could have ourselves. Creating that momentum has been the single biggest privilege we’ve experienced in our careers. It has been a wonderful joy to be a part of and to see what our team comes up with every day in terms of facing challenges and solving problems.

Spacemaker goes live in 2016!

The most important lesson we’ve learned is that building a successful and sustainable business is extremely hard work and that it takes more time than you think. And secondly, that it’s difficult to change an industry. Even though we have a fantastic idea and team, and great momentum, it’s sometimes an uphill battle as there are so many unknown unknowns that you didn’t foresee in the beginning that need to be solved. You could multiply every ambitious timeline we’ve had by pi! It feels like a construction project, which always ends up taking twice as long. Especially when you do something that changes the game, people on the user side need to change how they work which also takes time. Educating users and changing an industry – especially such an established one – takes time. And trying to balance building a company with a hectic family life has had its fair share of ups and downs! But in the end, building this company gives us so much energy because we truly love what we do – it has been the ride of our lives.

Carl Christensen and Håvard Haukeland on day 3 of Spacemaker in 2016

Would we have done anything differently?
 In short, no. It’s been a continuous journey of experimenting, failing, retrying and improving. We’re learning every day. We’re still iterating the product, we’re still searching, we’re still throwing away ideas we thought were good six months ago. It’s all part of the journey. Could we have done anything better? The list of mistakes we’ve made is endless – but we would’ve done it with the same attitude, focus and priorities all over again. Everything we’ve done is something that has taken us a significant step further. If you don’t experiment and don’t allow yourself to be put in a position to make mistakes, then you won’t be able to make the changes to move fast enough. We took a lot of ambitious risk throughout the journey, but it’s been more than worth it.

If we were to look ahead to the next 5 years, we’re super excited to start the next stage of Spacemaker’s journey; there has never been a greater chance for creating global impact than now. We believe even more that there is a better way to design our cities. Our ambition is still the same and we’re closer than ever to realizing it. We now have the support from a world-class team and an ecosystem to drive the growth that will give us the impact we need to change the industry. The Autodesk acquisition was a very proud moment for us as it shows a larger potential for the idea to outlive us, as founders, on a much bigger scale than we would have expected when we started Spacemaker in 2016. We are extremely excited about the opportunity to increase the adoption of Spacemaker globally, at a faster pace than we could have ever done ourselves.

Lastly, we hope that many of the young talents especially will see Spacemaker as a growth opportunity, almost like a talent incubator. It would be so incredible if they looked back in 10-15 years from now and saw Spacemaker as a time in their lives when they learnt a ton and that gave them the foundation to build their own companies. That would make us incredibly proud. In any case, we hope it’s an adventure that they will never forget.  

With that we want to say a huge thank you to every single member of our team. Thank you for coming on this journey with us over the past five years. We can’t wait to see what the next five years will bring. Bring it on!

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Spacemaker Team