Renewate’s augmented reality makes home renovation a one-click job
The app made by the husband and wife duo, is just three months old, but is already showing signs of redefining the home decor market, much of which is still unorganised, or ‘informal’Updated: Jun 02, 2018 14:58 IST
Technology meets architectural innovation in the startup space. That headline could have heralded the metaphor for co-founders Debashree and Supratik Ghatak’s life story; they are husband and wife. It could also aptly describe the birth of Renewate, an app that takes home renovations and house repairs into the era of augmented and artificial reality.
Debashree is the architect on the team. Husband Supratik is the IT engineer and the coder behind Renewate’s AR/AI offering.
The app is just three months old but is already showing signs of redefining the home decor market, much of which is still unorganised, or ‘informal’, if you will.
Debashree Ghatak, co-founder Renewate, says “I am an architect and worked for over 10 years as one. We architects have a lot of tools and softwares that we use. So given my domain knowledge I thought why not create something that will help increase efficiency in this renovation business?”
Says Debashree: “If you want to change the tiles in your bathroom, you will call a tile-wallah you know. This guy may live in Baner and you in Hadapsar. He will trudge all the way look at your bathroom and then after calculations give you an estimate after two days. You decide the estimate is too much and decide to find another guy. You have wasted your time and so has the tile-wallah. What our app does is help you state your requirement, calculate the cost depending on what materials you choose, and all in a matter of five minutes.”
Supratik Ghatak, the other half of Renewate, used his IT training to develop this app over a year. In March 2017 the Ghataks set out to develop this and in March 2018 their app was ready. “We hired two IT engineers and one architect to help us with the development of the app,” Supratik says.
Earlier, the duo had participated in the NDTV Smart 50 Challenge; a national competition that chose 50 ideas that would make life better for Indians. They were among the top 50 and were given a grant of Rs 4 lakh from the government of India.
The couple put in Rs 8 lakh of their own and in March this year were ready with the app.
Engaging supply to meet demand
That was just one part of the story. Now they needed people who would provide the services for their app.
Says Debashree, “We have some categories on our app - painting, plumbing, civil, tiling, fabrication, woodwork and so on. This meant that we should be able to provide trained and experienced contractors who could do these jobs.”
To create the supply side of their app the duo used a local network of painters and civil workers. Says Debashree, “ The communities meet pretty regularly to do poojas. Besides, I had my own personal network of such contractors. We approached them and told them how they could benefit from this app. Soon we had a huge network of suppliers of 1,200 contractors.”
Supratik adds, “We chose our contractors based on their experience and skills. So when a customer chooses to renovate their home through our app they can rest assured that the contractor is fully capable.”
The benefit to the contractors is that they get access to technology, and they have a hassle-free, seamless connect with the customer, for a small fee. The app is available in Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati and Urdu.
The demand side is the most vital part of any business.
Renewate started out by offering their app and its services to their neighbours.
Says Debashree, “We got about five projects through our society. Then word spread on WhatsApp and our app was made available on the web and PlayStore. You can use this on your laptop or your phone.”
In the first three months of existence the couple has already done over 25 projects.
Renewate’s business model is pretty simple. Says Supratik, “So while we charge a small subscription fee to our contractors, we also optimise the supply chain for raw materials and charge them a commission. So far we have made Rs 15 lakh in sales.”