India is poised to become one of the largest construction markets in the world by 2025 as the real estate space is estimated to be worth $1 trillion by the end of this decade. Even as the market presents plenty of opportunities to existing and new players, there are a host of challenges, including a large unorganized workforce that is yet to fully leverage the technology and related resources at hand.
There are a bunch of startups such as Apna and Bandhoo that are trying to address this gap in the industry in their ways. Another startup trying to do its bit is ProjectHero. The Bengaluru-based startup aims to make the process of hiring and managing construction workers much easier for contractors. Workers can also leverage the platform to find gigs in a much more efficient manner.
ProjectHero is a membership-driven professional network for the construction industry. Workers, contractors, and others can build their profiles and get verified. They then get access to opportunities of finding work or get verified orders. As a part of verification, ProjectHero does skill & KYC verification for workers and a detailed financial verification for the contractors.
Founder and CEO Satya Vyas told Entrackr that prior to ProjectHero, he and his co-founders were operating a bootstrapped offline general contracting business between 2016 and 2021. The business saw the founders managing nearly 500 workers directly or indirectly, and working with a bunch of sub-contractors. While the four-year-long foray gave them a good understanding of the construction/contractors industry, the startup faced a big roadblock in the form of the Covid-19 pandemic, eventually putting them out of business.
“That’s when we took a step back to [take stock of things]… we realized we had spent a lot of time and money on figuring out who’s the right contractor for a project…,” Vyas said, adding that they figured out the industry is highly fragmented and unorganized. For instance, workers and contractors were mostly offline, and lots of work happened traditionally.
Vyas added that ProjectHero has onboarded more than 4.8 lakh registered workers and “thousands” of contractors since its inception in 2021. He added that the company is looking to double this number in the next three to four months. He further disclosed that roughly 1,000 jobs daily on average are posted on ProjectHero.
On comparison with Apna, also a professional networking platform for blue and grey-collar workers and also a unicorn, Vyas said that ProjectHero is more of a “vertical player” rather than a “horizontal” one.
“We believe that a horizontal platform for a complex industry like construction won’t work. That is why there is a need for a vertical player to emerge,” he further said, adding the company plans to go deeper into the space.
Since its inception in 2021, ProjectHero has raised $3.6 million across two rounds. Its backers include Ankur Capital, Omidyar Network India, Titan Capital, Anupam Mittal, and Varun Alagh. Vyas disclosed that the majority of the capital is still with the company, but is also focusing on investments in areas like building a larger team and scaling up the product and overall business in the near term.