Meet This Duo of New-age Construction Innovators
Aaditya Sharda and Ankush Sengupta, Co-founders at Infra.Market believe that the multi-billion dollar Indian construction industry is ready for change
What Does The Platform Do?
Ankush Sengupta (ASG) – We are a business-to-business (B2B) marketplace, launched in 2016, to bring the technology, design and supply chain innovations to the real estate and construction sector. Currently we aggregate demand to offer economies of scale to individual customers and projects based on material pricing not previously available to individual customers and projects. We are catering to a variety of materials including cement,steel, sand, kitchen fittings etc.
How Have You Positioned Infra.Market? Who are Your Main Competitors?
Aaditya Sharda (AS) – The construction material market is estimated to be a $150-billion industry. We truly don’t believe we need to worry about the competition. There are some market players who are in a similar space like us but most of them are at a net loss and are surviving purely on venture funds. But we shouldn’t really treat them as competition, only a small portion of the current market is online. Most of it is offline. If anything all the new market entrants will only help in bringing majority of the market online.
How Do You Create A Seamless Experience For Buyer?
AS - We have a dedicated procurement manager for each of our clients, who cater to all of their needs. The manager functions as the client’s personal purchase officer. This is ideally helpful for small and medium enterprises that don’t have an inhouse purchase team. We realize that unlike most e-commerce players, our clients require more help and information before finalizing an order due the size and volume of a single order and a dedicated procurement manager who understands their business solves this need. The procurement manager is assisted by purchase team, who negotiates the best rates with vendors and keeps them updated for upcoming orders. Our marketing team, on the other hand, handles the selling and collection for all our vendors; and also our logistics team ensures just in time delivery.
How the Growth Has Been for Infra.Market Since its Launch in 2016?
AS - Infra. Market started making revenue from the first day of operation. We achieved revenue of approximately INR 12.5 crore in FY17. We are expected to hit INR 30-crore mark in FY18. Our gross margin is around eight percent and net margin is two – three per cent of revenue. We started out with a handful of customers in our first couple of months and we are now serving over 30 customers on a daily basis. We have also built up a strong vendor base of 70-80 national level vendors on our platform.
Where Do You See the Company’s Growth Ahead?
Any Funding Plans for the future? ASG - We are a self-funded startup and till now we haven’t felt the need to go for funding as we have been bottom-line positive from day one and achieving double digit growths has never been a problem. However, we see a great growth potential in this space as this is one of the highest contributors to India’s GDP growth and the least disrupted by the startup ecosystem. While we may consider funding in the near future, our main aim continues to be to remain bottom-line positive and grow organically.
(This article was first published in the March issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)