Sujeet K Mishra, the founder of Patna-based real estate digital firm Thikedaar, opted to build the company in his hometown to better understand the local market.
The company now operates in Delhi-NCR, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Jharkhand, and Bihar, with plans to grow nationally by 2023.
Building a house is no easy task. It entails, among other things, designing, planning, shortlisting and finding materials, and budgeting. The procedure is not only hard, but it also demands a significant amount of time, study, and understanding.
Despite the industry’s disorganization, Sujeet K Mishra and Jenie Singh thought they were up for the job of bringing order to the turmoil. Thikedaar (meaning contractor in Hindi) was founded in May 2020 in Patna, Bihar, with the goal of digitizing and providing openness to the whole pre-construction process, from material selection to payment channels, as well as real-time updates for total transparency.
The site has over 2,700 registered users and 1,40,000 monthly visitors in just two years. According to Sujeet, the site’s user base has increased 450 percent year on year since 2020.
According to Sujeet, “traditional contractors build the majority of India’s individual residences.” The entire procedure becomes extremely difficult due to a lack of expertise.
People have no notion how the whole event will unfold; they are also misled at several points. Most crucially, they rely on semi-skilled contractors, resulting in a costly and time-consuming building process.”
Sujeet, who is from Patna, opted to establish the firm in his hometown to better understand demand and the local market. He is now aiming to transfer the company’s headquarters to New Delhi.
Sujeet explains why: “We have to engage with building materials suppliers directly at their headquarters. It makes managing many things from Patna tough. Delhi is well-connected and simple to get about. We are also having difficulty persuading job seekers from Tier I cities and Tier I colleges to come to Patna and work for us.”
The founders bootstrapped the firm with a $5 million personal savings investment. How does it function?
Although the platform began with the intention of merely delivering a cost estimate, several problems compelled the creators to construct an end-to-end platform. It currently provides architectural and structural suggestions, as well as continuous site monitoring and technical supervision.
“If a client hires us, they choose the building materials, and once they are pleased with the estimate, we oversee the construction process for them,” Sujeet explains.
Customers must pay 0.5 percent of the ultimate building cost to retain the pricing for a set length of time after picking the materials. The remaining money can be paid in installments or as EMIs (equated monthly instalments). Before finalizing any technical drawings, Thikedaar’s algorithm creates rapid construction quotations depending on parameters such as geographical circumstances (soil condition), material selection, building slab area, foundation type, and number of storeys, among others.
Furthermore, the system can forecast when a project will be completed. Sujeet, 27, and Jenie, 24, were classmates at Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra during their undergraduate years.
Bimlendra Jha, former CEO and MD of Ambuja Cements and ex-CEO of Tata Steel, later joined them as a director and advisor at Thikedaar. Sujeet worked as a Project Lead and Consultant Architect at Jadooz, an entertainment business, before starting his own.
Later, he worked with Prashant Kishor as a strategist, associate, and analyst (Indian Political Action Committee).
Sujeet explains, “One day, I was sitting in the office, and it occurred to me that there should be a free digital platform where people can check permutations and combinations of construction materials with respect to their construction site and the number of floors, to observe how the construction cost will vary as per their chosen materials.”
Jenie has worked in the marketing departments of companies such as Quick Ride, BYJU’S, and Estel Technologies. Thikedaar has collaborations with a number of publicly traded building material firms.
The startup receives a fee from the firm whenever a consumer selects materials through its platform.
With the listed corporations providing additional discounts to startups in exchange for boosting their brand, the latter may give its clients better prices than the market.
Customers are paid by square foot, with rates ranging from Rs 899 per sqft. to Rs 3,000 per sqft. depending on criteria such as space, floor count, and building material specifications/brand.
According to the creators, the business has assisted in the construction of over 50 residences in Delhi, Pune, and Patna. It is building around 80 residences across Delhi-NCR, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Jharkhand, and Bihar.