I-Construct's 'priceless' mentorship, helping software company Dokkit to grow

Published 28th June 2021 by Charlotte Porter
Michelle Coates, the founder of Dokkit, explains how I-Construct mentors are helping her grow her new software business supporting the construction sector.
Michelle Coates - Dokkit
Michelle Coates - Dokkit

Computer software company Dokkit was launched by the entrepreneurial Michelle Coates in early 2018 and recently released its flagship product for creating and managing handover documents. Dokkit helps companies in the built environment sector to create Operations and Maintenance manuals (O&Ms) and handover documents more quickly and easily.

As part of her I-Construct membership Michelle has had 1:1 mentoring with four of our expert mentors, who have been sharing their in-depth knowledge about her target market. 

Q: I-Construct. You have worked at a wide range of companies in the past. What attracted you to the construction supply chain?

A: Michelle Coates, Dokkit.

“I come from a technology background. I have an Information Systems Management degree, and I've worked in FinTech, Startups and agencies. But I didn't have any experience in the construction industry at all and then I fell into it by accident. You start noticing where there are some small improvements that can be made.”

Q: I-Construct. What is Dokkit and how does it help construction companies

to become more efficient?

A: Michelle Coates, Dokkit.

“My product helps people at the end of the project life cycle with their handover files, that will then be included in the legally required health and safety documents. It helps people to generate them a bit quicker because in construction there's a lot of large files and a lot of attachments that have to be pulled together really quickly. Dokkit helps people facilitate that process a bit faster.
“Dokkit is software as a service (SaaS), and it’s basically plug and play, you can sign up and start using it straight away. We also have a version of the product that integrates with simPRO [construction project management software]. So rather than you inputting everything, it pulls it from that system and then compiles it. They’re essentially the same product, but one’s an integrated version.
“Some companies charge thousands to create the documents. My lowest tier is £45 for five projects a month.”

Q: I-Construct. You have been receiving free 1:1 mentoring from several of I-Construct industry experts. How is this process helping you to achieve your aspirations?

A: Michelle Coates, Dokkit.

“I think the mentorship is priceless really. To have access to people who know the industry and have that much expertise is just so valuable. I have had other mentors and I am on an accelerator in Brighton at the moment. So, I have great mentors in the digital SaaS space, but I've never had the opportunity to talk to anyone, as in-depth as I am, about construction. The mentors know the construction business, they understand what I'm doing, and they can validate whether I'm on the right track or I need to change direction. It's been really positive.”

Q: I-Construct. We know you have already recommended I-Construct to some like-minded companies, which is brilliant. How do you describe the I-Construct program to other SMEs?

A: Michelle Coates, Dokkit.

“I-Construct is for people working in the construction supply chain. There are lots of different types of companies that can benefit from something like this, and it's a nice ecosystem to be a part of.”

Q: I-Construct. Where do you think the construction sector is heading?

A: Michelle Coates, Dokkit.

“There's huge scope for digital technology in the construction sector. Obviously, there's a lot of resistance to change. There's an old-fashioned mentality in that ‘If it works, why change it?’. But COVID has pushed people along a bit, to where they might have been in a few years’ time. People realise they've got to be connected, they've got to be able to work from other places, not just the office. So, there's lots of opportunities there.”

Q: I-Construct. So, where is Dokkit going next?

A: Michelle Coates, Dokkit.

“The more I network, the more I find out about what things people would like to have. In the discussions I've had already with people, I've really expanded my feature set. I'm working on new things and trying to incorporate some kind of BIM into my product for the future. Affordable BIM I like to call it because most BIM isn't.”

If you work for an SME in or supplying the construction industry and would like to join the I-Construct Member Network and have some free 1:1 mentoring, complete our form.