Bharat Inclusion Seed Fund Co-lead’s Investment in Bandhoo Technologies To Make The Labour Market More Transparent
Why we invested in Bandhoo Technologies?
The construction sector makes up almost one-tenth of India’s GDP. It is expected to grow at a CAGR of 15.7% and reach $ 738.5 billion in 2022. Similar to agriculture, construction has been a highly fragmented and unorganized sector, there is a lack of a unifying platform that could digitally facilitate access to labour, contracts, and jobs across the construction lifecycle while at the same time create digital footprints/credential stack which could be leveraged for improving the quality of life and financial upliftment of the people employed within this space.
The space is large, employing ~70M workforce, next only to agriculture. At the same time, it is highly fragmented with multiple contractors, sub-contractors and other middlemen involved in every project across the industry. There exists a lack of transparency across all the stakeholders on pricing, jobs and quality. On the other hand, builders and contractors constantly complain of a shortage of labour across the projects.
Our interactions with various stakeholders validated the issues faced by the industry as a whole. ‘Crisis Management’ on a daily basis anchored these conversations with all the players resigned to the fact that- “This is how the industry operates”. What clearly stuck out was a new generation of tech savvy leaders/ business owners had started entering the market who were on the lookout for technology enabled solutions to solve the problems plaguing the industry.
The construction industry seems ripe for disruption with a) second/new generation of leaders/business owners with more trust towards technology solutions and internet usage, b) government. push towards smart-city projects and sustainable infrastructure and c) increasing smartphone and internet penetration allowing for more trust towards online transactions.
Bandhoo, through its technology platform, intends to digitally facilitate access to labour, contracts, and jobs across the construction lifecycle and at the same time create digital footprints which could be leveraged for improving the quality of life and financial upliftment of the people employed in this space.
The company fits in well with our thesis for impact; traditionally, the construction sector has been highly fragmented and disorganized with a lack of a unifying platform that could facilitate access to labour, contracts, and jobs across the construction life cycle.
Prashant (Ex-CEO of Emaar construction India, and Ex-CEO Aditya Birla E-commerce venture), and Sridhar (Ex-Google and Entrepreneur) bring in the right mix of stellar experience and deep-rooted network across construction and tech to solve for an industry in a state of perpetual ‘crisis management’.
We had initially interacted with the team in the first half of 2020, just before the pandemic struck. From the first conversation itself, the knowledge and clarity of the problems that plague the various stakeholders in the sector was clearly evident in the minds of the founders. At that time, they had only launched the worker placement model on the platform. While the pandemic enforced lockdowns hampered the growth and usage, we saw first hand the ability of the founders to adapt quickly and build out multiple layers of solutions on the platform to solve for the unique problems that came up due to the effects of the pandemic. While the experience and pedigree was undoubted, the clarity of thought and ability to quickly adapt helped build our conviction further.
We are super excited to be co-leading this round with Unitus Ventures. It has been an absolute pleasure seeing Prashant and the team build the business in the past ~1.5 years and we are cheering for them as they continue to build this rocketship!
About the Authors:
Saras Agarwal is a Principal at Bharat Inclusion Seed Fund. He tweets @agarwalsaras.
Bikramjeet Singh Kapany is an Associate at Bharat Inclusion Seed Fund. He tweets @bikram_kapany.
Shyam Menon is a Partner at Bharat Innovation Fund and Chief Growth Officer at CIIE.CO, India’s foremost entrepreneurship centre house at IIM Ahmedabad.
Sanjay Jain is a Partner at Bharat Innovation Fund and Chief Innovation Officer at CIIE.CO, India’s foremost entrepreneurship centre house at IIM Ahmedabad. He tweets @snjyjn.