Building of housing stock is an act of wealth generation. The respective roles of the building industry, producers of building materials, and the informal sector lead to creation of wealth and income through housing activity.
But construction is a complex process involving many decisions. Non-standardised processes combine with information opacity to render operations difficult besides generating inefficiency at multiple levels. This leads to bad decisions and dissatisfaction. Lack of transparency itself brews distrust, leaving most people to despair over their dream construction.
Resolving these issues can help significantly cut costs for end-customers as well as service providers. And here is where BuildNext, a one-year-old start-up based in Thiruvananthapuram, promises help.
Its mission is to simplify construction. “The BuildNext platform helps customers make the right choices even while removing inefficiencies in the system,” says Gopikrishnan V, founder-director, and Finaz Naha, co-founder director.
They belong to the 2012 batch of IIM-Bangalore. Gopikrishnan is a gold-medallist architect from IIT-Kharagpur, while Naha is a computer science engineer from NIT-Kozhikode. The Kerala-born youngsters have also a team of professionals from IIT and IIM with experience in technology, procurement management and logistics.
The duo realised they could create a solution using web technology. The idea was to build tools to enable easy discovery, decision-making and supply of materials. The BuildNext platform seeks to link stakeholders to a common platform with the help of technology, point out Gopikrishnan and Naha. “Customers may order materials from anywhere, and we shall deliver them at their sites,” says Gopikrishnan, who has designed and planned over six million sq ft of residential and commercial development across various metros. As for Naha, he led the analytics and performance management teams for Amazon’s India and US transportation network. BuildNext is supported by the Kerala Startup Mission and funded by Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC). The start-up has been angel-funded by entities including KSIDC. It is looking to raise further capital to speed up improve technology, grow the business and strengthen marketing.
BuildNext uses internet to bring best offers in building materials and products from across the country. An assisted buying service that fetches the services of reputed professionals helps customers to zero in on the right choices.
It offers full material contracts to help customers build better and save on money. Value-added services include visualisation, material selector, and access to BuildNext forums. It helps one identify the right service provider — an architect, an interior designer, a contractor, a consultant or a civil engineer.
Tie-up with logistics firms
BuildNext has tied up with logistics service providers to source material from manufacturers and wholesalers and aims to create a hassle-free procurement experience for customers. It uses a combination of hyper-local and pan-geography logistics model to provide the best possible pricing based on its procurement solution. More than 100 partnered sellers and above 50 brands of products are available on the platform. BuildNext aims to be a single-window solution for all construction needs. It would be a value-added marketplace of goods and services with dedicated tools for different types of customers. It plans to develop virtual reality and augmented reality technologies to aid customers with their procurement experience.