This woman entrepreneur is using tech innovation to bring order in the construction industry
Seeing a construction project through is a lengthy and tiring process and sometimes the work does not align with the initial plans. Issues of misreporting and theft are also common on the ground.
Deesha Vora understood this when she met a civil engineer friend involved with construction projects who was looking to build a more efficient system.
When Deesha asked him what tentative handover time of his current project would be, he had no answer.
"A construction project has hundreds of people, investment in crores with pressure of high returns, but there is no concrete information on the project completion date," she recalls.
A keen programmer and technologist, Deesha realised tech innovation can resolve the issue. She teamed up with co-founders Ruchik Vora, Smit Sanghavi, and Mitul Mehra, and started SuperWise to control and manage construction projects through its SaaS platform.
Founded in September 2016, the startup is claiming a stake in the construction market of India that is expected to be the third largest in the world by 2022, according to India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF).
The team began by developing a basic application for contractors where they can track the materials used, labour, and petty cash expenses, for a project.
According to Deesha, as a SaaS platform, the startup leverages the internet of things (IoT) and has developed a 2D Construction Scheduling System which can help plan construction projects in a matter of minutes, according to Deesha.
Deesha explains, “Collaboration between the offices and the blue-collar workers at construction sites is a big challenge due to inaccuracy and lack of real-time information. SuperWise ensures that a 360-degree picture of the project is available.”
The major difficulty earlier was the usage of complex project management tools. The workers would not update their schedule on time as existing tools such as MS Project and Oracle Primavera were time-consuming.
On the other hand, Deesha says, they have made schedule creation, changes and progress tracking seamless, without having to incur steep learning curves. In addition, SuperWise makes the construction project schedule available real-time on mobile phones that can be viewed by everyone involved in the project from managers to the foreman.
Targeting contractors, builders, and those running construction companies, the B2B startup is currently operating in Tier I and II cities and the UAE.
Depending on the type of building construction such as hospital, school, playground, or residential area, the users can choose from more than 60 templates available on the software or create one from scratch as well.
After a seven days’ trial period, users can opt for monthly or annual subscriptions for three different offerings. Keeping the target audience in mind, they are packaged as Starter (aimed for general contractors handling smaller projects), Pro (for medium sized contractors and builders), and Enterprise (for real-estate projects and funds).
A team of experienced planners will guide the client companies to design the schedule for their construction projects.
The startup broke even in 2019-2020 after clocking a revenue of Rs 40 lakh. Notably, SuperWise saw 10 times year-on-year growth.
They got their initial customers through word-of-mouth and user references. Recently, SuperWise also secured a partnership with a UAE-based company that will be managing the sales operations and clients in the Middle East.
Becoming an insider
While the founders were determined to facilitate a better system, Deesha says that knowing the pulse of industry and gathering industry-specific perspectives is very important and equally challenging. However, they learnt these over the years with the help of their initial clients and mentors.
The construction industry is now facing the brunt of halt in economic activities due to the lockdown. However, Deesha maintains that “startups operating frugally have been able to sustain." Thus, the entrepreneur says they do not plan to cut costs. At the same time, she expects the economy to be back in shape in less than a year.
Her mantra as an entrepreneur is not to be too hands-on but to delegate tasks and monitor others so that one can focus on the vision of the company.
Edited by Rekha Balakrishnan