Building a house can be the most cumbersome task in life. It involves a series of steps, which are meant to be taken one at a time. Let alone settling the hectic process of choosing a location and buying a plot, the real challenge begins with the hunt for a good contractor, procuring construction materials and picking the right home fittings. But thanks to technology and the introduction of online marketplaces, one can now economize on time, energy and money invested in this process.
However, although there are several portals in the real estate segment which facilitate buying, selling and renting properties, there exists only a few stores which provide solutions to those who want to build their home themselves, brick by brick, and New Delhi based Rockethomes is one of them.
Founded in 2014 and launched in July 2015, by Arnab Ghosh, Rockethomes is a marketplace for construction materials along with options for home decor, landscaping etc. Further, on this platform, users can also speak to construction experts and discover and hire installation contractors.
Commenting on the conception of this business idea, Arnab said, “Being a home improvement and construction consultant myself, I have seen the struggle people go through during the construction/ interior projects. The real pain lies in the process of selecting the right material and procuring them. The task becomes extremely onerous due to the lack of adequate knowledge on the price and quality of products. These issues directly inspired me to contemplate the idea of building an expert-driven, one stop destination for home construction solutions.”
What key problems are being addressed by this startup?
Primarily, the startup aims to address the knowledge bankruptcy that prevails in the market with regard to this sector. Due to dearth of information, people are skeptical of buying construction materials online. This is one of the core problems that this stratup attempts to resolve. It does so, by offering expert advice to its users on what to buy, who to hire, which brand to go for etc.
Secondly, since it is a one stop destination for construction solutions, it saves a lot of time and energy of the user. “Rockethomes is all about making the construction procurement swift and transparent” says, Arnab.
It has an interlinked ecosystem where every purchase of goods is linked with triggered enquiry generation for installers and contractors.
As mentioned above, the platform allows the user to choose a ‘Guru’ for expert consultation on products. These experts are certified architects, interior designers, engineers, etc.
The platform also holds the provision of “snap your purchi”- a system which allows customers to just click and upload a photo of the requirements given to them by their workforce so that the company’s procurement manager can create the entire cart for them, which they can check out with just a click. This adds to the ‘convenience factor’ that Rockethomes offers.
Market and Growth
The company competes with players like Zimply, CentralMart, Buildzar and ZingyHomes, besides B2B marketplaces like IndiaMART which also have construction materials as one of their categories. It is currently bootstrapped but is looking to raise angel funding.
Since its Beta launch in July 2015, the company has done a transaction of Rs 90 lakh. The company charges 5% commission on products sold on its platform. Also, it takes an annual charge from contractors on premium listings.
“First, we want to establish a strong foothold in Delhi-NCR and then eventually move on to cover the markets of Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai,” maintains Arnab.
As per a report, the construction equipment industry’s revenues in India are estimated to reach $22.7 billion by 2020 from $ 5.1 billion in FY12. Unit sale of construction equipment is expected to grow to 82,000 by 2016 from 61,745 in FY12. Construction equipment forms around 7 to 8% of gross domestic product and it has been forecasted that India will emerge as the third largest market by 2025. How much of this opportunity will eCommerce space capture is yet to be seen.