EquipShare is a secured marketplace where suppliers and other professionals can rent out unused or idle equipment to other contractors and professionals.
At a glance
Founder: Chitransh Agnihotri
Founded in: 2016
Based out of: Mumbai
Services: Peer-to-peer construction marketplace
Funding raised: Undisclosed
Investor: Swan Angel Network
It is one of the oldest industries in the world, and despite that, the construction equipment business is plagued with problems such as delayed projects, unorganised vendors, false commitments, low productivity of machines and equipment, and no immediate alternatives in case of breakdowns.
Mumbai-based EquipShare, back in 2016, decided to take on this sector and attempt to change its dynamics with solutions to the common problems.
EquipShareis a secured marketplace where suppliers and other professionals can rent out unused or idle equipment to other contractors and professionals. Founded in 2016 in Mumbai, EquipShare recently bagged an angel funding round from Swan Angel Network.
EquipShare is a peer-to-peer construction equipment marketplace for companies looking to borrow affordable equipment, at the same time allowing other companies to rent out unutilised equipment.
“Construction companies incur huge costs on equipment – be it rental or in buying, operating, maintenance or depreciation. Smaller construction companies often cannot afford to invest in (buying) the equipment, which anyway may not be required all the time in all projects. When this equipment lies idle, they incur a sunk cost. Sharing such equipment and machines, like concrete pumps, man lifts, loaders, concrete mixers, etc with Equipshare results into optimisation of cost and time,” says founder 28-year-old Chitransh Agnihotri.
The startup has over 5000 construction equipment listed and connects more than 100 contractors and 500 equipment suppliers across India. The portal lists all the 25 categories of equipment, including earthmoving equipment like - backhoe (JCB), excavators, and road equipment such as road rollers, tippers, pavers, motor graders and dozers.
Vendors or suppliers can list their idle equipment on the portal. EquipShare then proceeds to verifying the documents regarding the equipment and draws up inspection sheets and contracts. A vendor needs to understand and sign the documents and then share the inventory with EquipShare. Once verified, the vendor can start taking orders placed by clients on EquipShare’s website or mobile application.
“Once we get an order, we search for the equipment that matches the requirement. Upon confirmation of the order, we share the details of the driver, and the site address, after getting an advance through online payment. Then, the machine is transported,” he says, adding that it generally takes two to three hours to confirm an order, while the transportation time depends upon the distance.
Onboarding both vendors and clients was a challenge. “During my corporate job with ACC Ltd earlier, I learnt that doing business in India meant that half of your success relied on dealing with complexity and driving business from the ground up every day. I was fortunate to have worked under CXOs and CEOs of various divisions at ACC and learnt a lot,” says Chitransh, who is an alumnus of National Institute of Industrial Engineering, Mumbai.
Initially, the EquipShareteam started with identification of equipment owners and rental firms through field visits and talking to them about how they did business, rented equipment, and the terms and conditions.
To onboard clients, the company created a database of construction companies and visited each of them explaining about the concept of the company.
“I think a major hurdle for businesses in the equipment industry is a wrong attitude. People will always look for ways to cheat you when it comes to payments,” says Chitransh.
So who pays the damages? “Predominantly it is paid by supplier if there is an issue of machine breakdown. And if there is an issue related with the construction site on which machine is required, it is paid by the borrower,” he explains.
The team at EquipShare also started working on creating algorithms to identify and verify particular vendors or clients and developed a ranking system. “We are now working on integrating technology to track good customers and timely payments,” he says adding “We do have a service level agreement signed with both the parties which must be followed strictly. Secondly, we have a clause for payment terms and security. Operations and maintenance is also a major issue faced by both the parties so that’s another clause that we included apart from a clause about site safety.”
Competition and market
EquipShare is not a new concept because there is a plethora of startups bridging the gap of equipment sharing. In India, there’s Infrabazaar, Equiphunt, Shared Machines, and Gizmotab to name a few. Globally,dozr.com,equipmentshare.com,yardclub.com are a few big names.
“The market is ready, and there are advantages of a competitive market, it pushes you to come up with distinct features. We have a structured process with end-to-end transactional tracking. We have competitive pricing, along with a system that monitors productivity and operations. Our core strength is our platform’s flexibility in taking orders having timelines of hours to yearly leases,” shares Chitransh. The typical renting periods for equipment are between three to six months but “Our focus is on flexibility so it may vary from a few hours to a whole year,” he adds.
According to a BusinessWire report, the used, rental and leasing analytical instruments market generated $1,649.3 million in 2017, growing at a rate of 6.8 percent. India’s construction equipment revenues are estimated to reach
Startups are looking to bring in technology into the Indian construction market. Einsite, that combines construction project management with IoT, while QwikSpec aggregates data from all stakeholders on a construction project site, and provides insights.
Growth and funding
EquipShare began with being bootstrapped with a growth rate of 40 percent month-on-month in transactions.The startup has a transaction revenue model, where it charges a convenience fee per transaction. “Typically we do have 5 percent transactional fees but it varies according to rental period of an equipment,” informs Chitransh.
Since the beginning, the startup was able to clock in revenues of 2-10 percent.
In September 2017, Swan Angel Network, which is based in Indore, invested Seed-A funding for technology and team expansion.
“We are using the funds predominantly for technology development, marketing and business growth as well to setup more infrastructure. Our services are present in all the Tier-I cities including Ahmadabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, Pune, Gwalior, and we wish to cover Tier-II and Tier-III cities in the next few months,” shares Chitransh.
EquipSharehas a team of 10 full-time members, along with a group of interns from premier institutes. “We want to be recognised as the most construction professional-centric company through smart and connected technology in order to enable them for utilising their full potential,” adds Chitransh.