Homergize Technologies: Simplifying Construction through Single Window e-Procurement
We are living in exciting times, in what undeniably is the golden age of consumerism. The world has become one giant market-place, and organized commerce permeates every aspect of our lives. The concept of a market-place is not new. Markets have existed since times immemorial, serving as a value-multiplier on the one hand and a balancing influence between scarcity and excess on the other. The advances made by humankind have increased the sheer count and spread of the products and services we use, thereby increasing the importance and effectiveness of the market concept. The market itself has transformed itself over the course of time, primarily due to the strides made by humankind in transportation and communication technologies. These two pivotal developments have led to the creation of Global Markets, that is not limited by distances or information asymmetries. An important offshoot of the traditional market concept is the B2B and one-stop-solution platforms. In the early 20th century the introduction of supermarkets led to the creation of the One Stop Shop concept. And the commercialization and development of landline telephones in the 1940s gave rise to the B2B marketing industry. One-stop solutions platforms came as a relief to consumers as it obviated different points of purchase for consumer needs, thus saving time, money and hassle. As it was with the telephone then, it is with the internet now More specifically, the emergence of social media in the early 21st century has become a major disruptor in the marketing industry. According to a research report by e-commerce consultant firm Ecumen, the B2B e-commerce segment is set to grow by 2.5 times to touch the figure of ₹ 45 lakh crore by 2020, and the global B2B industry is expected to reach 6.7 trillion USD, almost four times of its current size.
Homergize is an enterprise that bases itself on a traditional, Single Window Marketplace Concept, but differentiates it with the use of information technology to enhance value for both buyer and seller. The enterprise attempts to disrupt the conventional Construction Inputs Marketplace by promoting choice, transparency, and value through a scalable and efficient eco-system linking buyers and sellers.
Homergize is a Construction Ecosystem and a B2B e-market source that offers single window procurement for the complete range of construction inputs.
The idea and inspiration for Homergize occurred to Vinod Kaushik (Founder), an MBA in Finance and Strategy from the University of Maryland when he faced a situation while executing his own home renovation project. His first-hand experience of the obstacles faced during planning the renovation/construction, locating skill-providers, and addressing material procurement and coordination led to the Business Research that conceptualized the enterprise. Vinod envisioned his enterprise as a natural value-add to the SME Builders, Independent Contractors, and Developers market, enabling them to compete on price and quality with their larger, more established counterparts.
In a developing nation like India, the entrepreneurial ecosystem dwells mainly at the middle and bottom of the pyramid. Vinod felt that he could maximize category impact and value by targeting SME’s and Start-ups who grapple with inefficiencies resulting from product measure, quality, price, and other supply chain seepages.
The firm’s unique platform eases Sourcing, through an autonomous, app-based link between credible vendors and verified buyers. For a buyer who lacks an elaborate Purchase function, it permits a single click and tap to address all his construction material needs. The Homergize team, in effect, serves as a technology-based purchase department to the client.
Homergize is differentiated by its Tech Platform and its onward adaptability to a larger construction-sector presence, from Design to BOQ creation, to an Autonomous generation of Material Requirement Schedules and subsequent Reverse Bidding. Conceptually, this can promote significant gains through precise demand projection, just-in-time material delivery and lower capital deployment at every project stage.
The firm is headed and directed by seasoned professionals with decades of experience and a searing track record in Start-up space. It is well funded and works with a disciplined, rational approach to capital-allocation and funds-usage.
Our editorial team spoke to Vinod Kaushik about the organization, industry and himself. Here are the edited excerpts.
Inside the Organization
Solutions and the Uniqueness
Homergize addresses the Independent Contractor’s purchase related complexities of material choice, price, quality, quantity, logistics, and billing, and aims to make construction easier through single-window procurement. Our demand aggregation and reverse bidding process assure highly competitive prices and value, alongside no-hassle doorstep delivery. Our App first approach permits autonomous and seamless vendor and client coordination by leveraging technology to minimize personnel, overhead, and lag.
Market and Sales
The construction market in India is currently worth over 157 Billion. The addressable market for us is estimated to be about 70%, amounting to 100 Billion+ USD. For every city we plan a presence in, we project a reasonable share of the addressable market. Business publications and consultants advise us on sales and growth matters.
We have been able to maintain steady Month on Month sales growth, which is set to improve, alongside other key metrics like Client onboarding, retention, and average offtake value through a concerted push of our App Based Client and Vendor Solutions.
Our target market comprises independent contractors who have existing vendor arrangements working on short-term credit or on partial under-invoicing, this is a challenge for us due to our stringent GST governed billing and the credit discipline that we enforce.
Clients and their feedback
Our client base consists mainly of independent Contractors and small builders for Material Supply Scope. Clients are targeted through purchased databases, digital marketing, and direct canvassing. A salesforce coordinates orders and fulfillment with the sourcing team.
Client feedback and redressal are an important aspect of our sales operations. A CRM team coordinates with the client at key waypoints in the order, fulfillment and post-purchase phases. Detailed dashboards and analytics track client metrics and ensure high client retention and satisfaction.
Organizational Structure and Enterprise Culture
Homergize functions as a flat organization, with each employee wearing multiple and taking on diverse responsibilities. It promotes a culture of learning, teamwork, and cohesiveness, with the journey being the reward and the steep learning curve it assures each team member.
The Big Achievements
Reaching a run rate of one crore a month and the progress made in Smartphone App based Sourcing and Sales Coordination are our big achievements.
Hitherto Journey and the Learning curve
The journey has been difficult and the learning curve steep. But the joy and fulfillment one feels, in making a tangible difference to so many, and creating an enterprise, more than makes up for the ardor. Currently, our focus, discipline and hard work will convert our vision into a success story.
A piece of advice for the entrepreneurs venturing into the same domain
The very nature of the segment makes order fulfillment a challenge Setting up a good supply base and using technology to bridge logistics will lead to satisfied customers and a successful enterprise.
The Road Ahead
The industry is expected to stabilize and revive from the jolts of Demonetization, GST implementation, and RERA enforcement. We expect to be back on the growth track to expand to the six southern cities in the near future. Our emphasis is to improve client onboarding using technology as the catalyst. Our App-first focus and approach are expected to significantly increase our business throughout the public domain and client to salesperson ratio.