[Startup Interview] Brian Munanga, CEO, SmartBuild, Zimbabwe
SmartBuild, a Zimbabwe startup, is simplifying the process of building and renovating houses by providing a platform where clients requiring such services can get quotations from a number of experienced contractors in the shortest possible time thus minimizing the chances of engaging unskilled people since the startup does background checks on behalf of clients.
It also connects contractors to jobs in building and construction. The founder and CEO Brian Munanga explains.
Introduce your company
Smartbuild that was founded early this year services the construction and building industry specifically for residential buildings.
Smartbuild is a platform where various contractors and service providers in the building sector can register under their category like electricians or builders and undergo some background checks of some of the work they have done previously.
Clients requiring such services can go to the Smartbuild platform and post in detailed the service they require on their building project and each project will be posted in its rightful category.
Contractors will get email notifications when a project is posted and they respond by sending their quotations and proposals. The client will then select the winner based on price, project portfolio and reviews from previous clients.
They are inbuilt ways to notify who the selected winner is and also to notify when the contractor finishes the job. Smartbuild will ensure that all contractors registered on the site maintain the quality workmanship.
Smartbuild offers supervisory and project management services as an additional service to clients
What are the professional background of the founders?
The startup was founded by Brian Munanga an engineer by profession who has been involved in various projects about water and sanitation currently working as a site engineer for a water treatment plant rehab.
How is your company financed?
The business is sustained by personal funds from the founder.
What are the trends shaping the building and construction industry?
Although the construction industry has been slow in catching up with the digital trends, we ar bound to witness a flurry of innovation in the industry in the new future.
Why did you start your Smartbuild? What opportunities did you see?
I started this company after realizing that the process of identifying capable people to undertake a building project was stressful as they are not many formal channels you can use to get access to contractors, who will then respond swiftly to one's needs. Also I met a number of people who engaged unqualified people who messed up their projects and also I discovered that there are a lot of middlemen and this has resulted in overcharging of clients. I saw an opportunity where I could provide the solutions to make the process less stressful and swifter.
What problem or problems does your SmartBuild solve?
Smartbuild seeks to make the process of building or renovating houses a lot easier by providing a platform where clients requiring such services can get quotations from a number of experienced contractors in the shortest possible time minimizing the chance of engaging unskilled people as Smartbuild will do the background check on behalf of the clients. Smartbuild is also making it easy for contractors to get jobs. Clients flock our website and the contractor will not struggle to do their own marketing as Smartbuild is making it easier for them.
What makes your company unique?
When it comes to building, Smartbuild will carry the burden from the client by offering technical supervisory roles for their project. As smartbuiild, we believe in the market we are targeting and we have carved a niche in this space.
Who forms your clientele base?
We have two types of customers. Firstly all contractors and building service providers and owners or those who want to build or renovate.
What does your company need in order to grow?
The major challenge has been high data costs which may reduce the number of people who may access our service since its internet based
What are the ambitions of Smartbuild?
We target to be one of the biggest service providers in the construction sector and once we establish in Zimbabwe, we intend to do the same in other African countries like Zambia, Malawi and Botswana.
What are your plans for the coming 12 months?
So far the major plans are to ensure we market our service and attract clients to it.
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