Bentley Systems wants to be the premier ride for infrastructure engineers. The company's computer-aided design (CAD) software is used to design and build large-scale infrastructure projects such as airports, transit and utilities systems, manufacturing plants, and buildings. Available on both a subscription basis (some three-quarters of revenue) and as a perpetual license, Bentley's software lets architects, engineers, builders, and property owners collaborate over the Web to develop and maintain projects. The company also offers content management applications, as well as consulting, integration, and training. It largely serves the architecture, construction, engineering, and utilities industries worldwide.
Bentley offers its products under three basic platforms: MicroStation, (infrastructure design and modeling), ProjectWise (engineering project team collaboration), and, formed in 2010, AssetWise (infrastructure asset information management).
The company earns more than half of its revenue outside the United States. It operates in 50 countries across Africa, the Americas, Asia, Australia, and Europe and sees usage of its products from customers in some 165 countries.
Bentley reported 2012 revenue of about $550 million, up 5% from the prior year and the fourth consecutive year of sales growth. Revenue from its professional services division rose 13% that year, and it saw strong growth of more than 25% in the Middle East and Africa.
Partnerships are key to the company’s growth. In late 2012 it announced collaborations with Siemens (digital factory infrastructure), highway and transportation department association AASHTO (bridge management and inspection), Trimble (infrastructure project site management), and mobile software and hardware provider 3D-P (mining equipment maintenance management).
Mergers and Acquisitions
Bentley also relies on acquisitions to expand its product lines and its customer base, including the 2013 purchase of Brazil’s Char*Pointer Tecnologia, which produces topoGRAPH software for road and rail design. The deal gives Bentley access to the fast-growing country’s ongoing transportation modernization initiatives.
In 2012 the company acquired Pittsburgh-based InspectTech Systems, which provides inspection and asset management software and services for the transportation industry. InspectTech serves customers such as federal agencies, state departments of transportation, cities, counties, and commercial clients. The acquisition allows Bentley to integrate information modeling with inspection processes. Also that year it bought Ivara Corporation, a provider of asset performance management software for industries such as mining, utilities, oil and gas, and petrochemicals. The purchase also helps Bentley serve engineering, procurement, and construction firms.
In 2011 Bentley bought Engineering Dynamics, Inc.'s structural analysis computer system (SACS) product suite. The deal gave the company a boost in the area of structural analysis and design software, which is used in the energy industry for example to design, fabricate, install, and maintain such structures as oil platforms and wind farms. The new SACS tools complement Bentley Systems' existing STAAD, RAM, ProSteel, and Structural Modeler applications.
Bentley Systems was founded in 1984 by the Bentley brothers - Scott, who went on to found underwater camera manufacturer VideoRay, current officers Keith, Barry, and Raymond. A fifth brother, Greg, joined his siblings at the company in 1991 and became CEO in 2000. The Bentley family owns 98% of Bentley Systems' equity.