BuildNext to strengthen presence in S India
The tech-enabled construction startup provides readymade customised homes
Hyderabad: Kerala-based construction startup BuildNext constructs and delivers efficient and cost effective homes to its customers as per their preferences and choices in a stipulated time frame without any mistakes. Since building a home is such an integral part of one's life, BuildNext firmly believes that no one should compromise for the same.
The tech-enabled startup stemmed from the thought that the method for building homes should be changed. It started off as a building material superstore by Finaz Naha and Gopi Krishnan in 2015. With a focus on the importance of cost and quality in construction, they decided to completely transform into a branded home building solution. As a brand, it strives to build better homes with a lot of thought put into them.
Gopi Krishnan, a B Arch graduate from IIT Kharagpur, is focused on R&D for designing and building homes and drives product in his current role as the Co-Founder and CEO of BuildNext, while Finaz Naha, a BTech in Computer Science and MBA from IIM Bangalore, is utilising technology and data analytics for growth and continuous improvement of the platform as a Co-Founder and COO.
Gopi Krishnan says, "Housing and construction industry was very different from other industries, and this sector was probably not as evolved as other sectors. So if you basically look at manufacturing, automobile, pharma or chemical engineering, they are all much more evolved. There is a lot of digitisation and more data is available. Every sector has an R&D department, and operations happen in a much more structured way when compared to this sector."
He adds, "I thought there is an opportunity to do something better to improve on how it works. But of course, we were not very sure on how to do that in college and that thought led us enter into the construction architecture, which is a large industry, and has more opportunity to improve. At that point of time, we decided to start a tech-enabled building material platform, with an idea to use technology and data to bring improvements in construction sector, especially individual home building. So the biggest problem was there was no standard set by the government mandate. If there's a contractor building a home, he will build whatever he knows, but not according to the best standards."
"If you look at the established countries or developed countries like US or Japan, the government has issued some standards which everybody has to follow so that they get license, permissions, insurance, home loans, and everything that is linked to construction. Electrical points must be here and there. If you're putting a window, it has to be of this size, this much insulation and it should give this much of sun shade. All these things are mandated by the government," said Finaz Naha.
"Also, there was no data about anything. So, each contractor will basically say a separate thing. You can get five different opinions about any question you ask in this sector and all five of them will probably be true. But no one exactly knew what the better one is. A design is subjective. Construction is quality subjective. When everything is subjective, it is very difficult for things to improve. You need to understand the quality, and only then the productivity can be improved," he informed.
The BuildNext team consists of professionals from IITs, IIMs and other premier institutes of the country. From designing a potential home to undertaking its building materials, and understanding the labour, it is the only firm in the country that does the complete research and development that a home might need when it's getting built. They started with a foundation in Kerala by constructing homes for individuals. Today, after six years of their inception, they have also established themselves in Hyderabad, Telangana.
The company has nine virtual-reality-enabled centers in Kerala and Telangana that people can use to 'test drive their home' before actually building it. Seven centers are situated in Kerala while two are in Hyderabad. It is planning to set up more centers in Telangana, and establishing new centers in Andhra Pradesh. It is exploring cities like Warangal, Khammam, Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam in both Telugu States.
A home buyer doesn't need to understand anything more than what he wants. The customer must have a land and the intention to build a home, and of course money. BuildNext takes building houses to the next level with their innovative and new designs. They also use objective parameters to analyse the effectiveness of a design. No matter what the price point might be, it ensures its customers the most efficiently built home born from their constantly improving platform.
The tech-enabled homebuilder asks a lot of questions to each customer and gets the responses for clarity on what they actually want to build. They have a set of 100 questions, and in the process they deliver absolutely customised buildings. "If we are able to digitise, we are able to use the data properly, and we'll be able to add a lot of value by creating better quality stuff, enhancing efficiency in the production," said Gopi Krishnan.
"We started building software, and we researched a lot of buildings, houses, and how things are happening across various geographies. We started collecting data, and we tried out a few different business models. In 2019, we decided this is the right time to launch our product. We actually want to go out and tell customers that, just come to us if you want to build a house. Because we will do the design, entire project management and coordinate the entire stuff end to end to deliver the end product, their dream home," he added.
The BuildNext team will give a structural warranty to their homes, and then there is an app which will provide customer support on their requests even after two years of delivery of the homes.
The future looks extremely bright for BuildNext. With the recently raised $3.5-million funding they received from Pidilite Industries' wholly-owned subsidiaries, Madhumala Ventures, they are looking to increase their presence in South India by establishing themselves in Bangalore, Coimbatore, and Chennai as well. Along with that, to spread their vision of building better homes, it is joining hands with developers and builders to broaden their perspectives.