Startup Bandhoo to raise $1 mn seed funding; helps 7k labourers so far in getting work

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September 14, 2020 3:53 PM

Startup Bandhoo, a digital platform that helps construction labourers get work from contractors, plans to raise USD 1 million (around Rs 7.5 crore) as seed funding to grow business, its founder Prashant Gupta said.

SEBI should allow VC funds to invest in NBFCs to help enhance their capital base, the report said.

Startup Bandhoo, a digital platform that helps construction labourers get work from contractors, plans to raise USD 1 million (around Rs 7.5 crore) as seed funding to grow business, its founder Prashant Gupta said. Gupta, who resigned as Dubai-based Emaar group’s India chief executive officer (CEO) in July 2019, has founded Bandhoo along with Sridhar Sundaram, both alumni of IIT-Delhi. In an interview with PTI, Gupta said the startup started its operation in February this year from NCR, and it plans to expand presence in Bengaluru and Mumbai during the next phase.

He added that the company has recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Haryana government to help provide livelihood opportunities to construction workers belonging to the state. “Bandhoo uses technology to help match demand and supply for construction manpower. It can make project mobilisation extremely easy and fast,” he said. The mission is to help MSME construction contractors and construction workers increase their income, he added. Asked about investment made in this business so far, Gupta said the startup is bootstrapped until now.

“We are self-funded so far. We are in the process of raising our seed round of USD 1 million. A global construction technology fund has subscribed to 50 per cent of the round already, and we are looking for one Indian venture capital who wants to join the round,” he said. Bandhoo has more than 20,000 construction workers and more than 900 micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) contractors registered on its platform. “While there are many rozgar (employment) and blue-collar portals launched recently, none of them are solving the problem for construction workers. “They are relevant for BPO agents, field salesmen, delivery boys, data entry staff, housekeeping staff, security guards, etc. The construction worker segment is the most vulnerable and the hardest to reach. We are solving their livelihood challenge,” Gupta said.

The market is huge as the construction sector employs 70 million workers, he said. The startup is using a combination of multiple technologies for solving this complex problem mobile app ‘Bandhoo’, WhatsApp, SMS and interactive voice response (IVR). “The IVR route is important to engage with construction workers who often do not have a smartphone to download app,” he said. Gupta said the company has helped about 7,000 labourers in getting works in the past four months.

Large- and mid-sized contractors also float tenders on its platform. The company gets a fee for this service. Currently, Bandhoo is a 15-member team. It has launched a Digital Shramik initiative to provide smartphones and digital literacy to construction worker. “We have launched our operation in NCR with English and Hindi languages. Once we prove that our solution works well, we will scale up to other metros, including the addition of relevant local languages. Like for Mumbai we will have to launch with Marathi, and in Bengaluru, we will have to launch with Kannada,” Gupta said.

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