Bootstrapped Hexpressions builds eco-friendly, affordable homes using paper techApurva P
The Jaipur-based company will provide ready-to-assemble green homes using new-age building material, which comprises composite paper-honey comb.
At a Glance
Founders: Abhimanyu Singh and Shilpi Dua
Year it was founded: 2018
Where is it based: Jaipur
The problem it solves: Provides sustainable and eco-friendly homes
Funding raised: Bootstrapped
The name Hexpressions signifies the expression of ideas through honeycombs, which are essentially hexagonal in shape. Jaipur-based Abhimanyu Singh and Shilpi Dua named their startup Hexpressions for a reason. The venture provides ready-to-assemble green homes using a new-age building material, which comprises composite paper-honey comb.
Composite paper honeycomb, which is a semi-permanent material, is made up of paper honeycomb sandwiched between two concrete face panels.
Hexpressions deploys a complete panel - where it designs a home, comes with the package, and assembles it in two weeks - be it on a terrace or a farmland. This technique saves time and reduces carbon footprint.
“Our USP includes saving time and sustainability material which is 100 percent eco-friendly as well. The houses can be built in a matter of weeks as against the traditional housing methods, which takes three-to-six months,” explains Abhimanyu.
Hexpressions sources the material and sandwiches the panels according to specifications. After receiving the order, the team then builds on it.
Abhimanyu and Shilpi, both in their 30s, are architects and designers, who have over 10 years’ experience in the field. They did their Bachelor’s degree in Architecture together, and graduated in 2008.
After completing their Masters, they set up a studio in Jaipur. Later, they pursued their second masters’ degree in Milan in product service system design. Currently, this Jaipur- based startup has interns and an adviser, apart from the founders.
Abhimanyu and Shilpi had previously worked with honeycomb and were experimenting it with furniture, lamps etc, but they were not sure if they could use it as a building material. The idea materialised after they used the technique to construct a 30 ft high and 106 ft long building in Hosur road, Bengaluru.
Hexpressions is incubated by the Rajasthan government’s initiative iStart and Abhimanyu says it was very supportive.
“Our experience with iStart has been very good. We have been provided with a well-equipped co-working space, and have dedicated mentors who follow up every week. We also have a dedicated portal to see our progress and there are three different teams - KPMG, EY and APPLYFI - to help us in various activities. We have had several sessions with external mentors from the industry. So far, it has been very encouraging,” says Abhimanyu.
Keeping it slow
Hexpressions is currently in the MVP (minimum viable product) stage, and is planning to enter the market by September-end after getting its certificates, tests, and patents ready.
The startup will provide end-to end solutions, where it will provide panels in collaboration with its client business organisations, and will supply a team of four to six people to assemble.
Currently, it is focusing on the B2B model, where they sell the idea, and send the team to organisations who are working with the model of housing and re-housing projects. Hexpressions targets those who cannot afford a home, and can get subsidies under the Pradhan Manthri Awaz Yojana.
In the next phase, they will build the B2C segment targeting people who own lands, and want to build a house or any kind of shelter on it quickly.
Hexpressions claims it has been getting a lot of enquiries over the past three months. The Rajasthan government recently requested them to make self-sufficient, portable toilets under the Swachh Bharat mission. The team is working on these smart toilets, which are expected to be installed with solar panels.
Hexpressions has also been approached by a private developer to build 200 cottages for a wedding resort in Bengaluru, which is expected to be completed in six months. Rajasthan’s Pollution Control Board, looking to promote alternative material, has also approached the team.
Abhimanyu says the biggest challenge they faced is to convince people about the material. “Once you know there is paper inside, you start doubting it. We are working with our clients to do different kinds of demonstrations so that people can see it and have confidence to go ahead with its material.”
An MVP model of a 36-sq-mtr house with one bedroom, drawing, dining, toilet and a kitchen - for a family of four- can be assembled in a week costing Rs 6 lakh (excluding taxes and logistics).
Hexpressions is yet to generate revenues as it has not officially signed any contracts. “We have the projects ready, but we won’t be selling at the moment. By the end of September, we will start getting revenues officially, though we are preparing for it now,” says Abhimanyu.
The startup is working on a three-step revenue model, which includes B2B and B2C models. It also plans to rent these homes in the future.
Currently bootstrapped, Hexpressions relies on the award money and grants that it received in the past one year in various startup events, and is looking for investors. The founders invested around Rs 12 lakh initially in the startup.
According to Abhimanyu, India has a huge demand for housing, but there is no supply to match it. He sees a huge scope for Hexpressions in this market. With the Pradhan Manthri Awaz Yojana, the company plans to provide housing for all by 2022, which is nearly impossible with traditional housing methods. It aims to capture 2.5 percent of the households, which equals to around four lakh housing units by 2022 in the Indian market.
(This startup stood in first place at the Startup Fest Pitches held at Bikaner Digifest, where YourStory was part of the jury.)