The bug of entrepreneurship bit me when I was working in a corporate job in Bangalore – like most other “MBA after Engineering” people in India. I was tired of Microsoft Excel and Powerpoints during weekdays and bored of the weekend parties
In 2016, During Chennai floods, Ola had launched Ola boats to help in the rescue operation. Priyanka Gupta was awestruck by the idea.
I thought here is somebody who is creating an impact during the national crisis whereas here I am sitting in a 4×3 cubicle making excel sheets and powerpoint presentations. That was the day when I realized how startups can create an impact on society.
She decided to leave her high paying job as an HR at Infosys and came back to Bhopal to start something of her own.
In early 2017, she started her construction company with a government loan of 22.5 Lakhs and an idea of using technology to improve delivery and process in the construction lifecycle.
Why did you choose Industry Maintenance and how difficult it has been as a market?
It was accidental; during one of the construction projects, I found that Industry maintenance is a daunting task for manufacturing companies. This is when we started reaching out to other companies in the sector and learned that there exists a huge unserved market.
The market was difficult to crack because of numerous audits and certifications that are required to work with these companies.
Her company Rezovate constructions help manufacturing industries prevent downtime and increase productivity using their innovative technologies and processes.
The company took-off with a one-person team in 2017 and is now 20 people strong; having served more than 50 clients in 4 cities
How difficult is it to manage labor and daily wage people?
Managing labor is taken as a very rough and difficult task across the construction industry and it is a general perception that they only respond to muscle power and harsh words. However, this is not completely right. We have found that they are not being treated with respect and dignity. Here, we focussed on creating a culture where labor welfare, skill development, and learning were our primary focus. Now we have processes and systems to manage absenteeism, abscondment, discipline, and productivity. These people who were associated with us on day 1 are still with us.
How difficult is it to build a startup from Bhopal?
For us finding talent and building a team has been a challenge in the city. However, we work in Industrial areas and have successfully scaled operations in other cities. Experimenting and doing Research has been very affordable due to low infrastructure costs.
What are the major factors contributing to your growth?
People have been generous to me; my initial team was built completely on faith and a desire to impact industry maintenance. Other senior Industry folks have guided me initially on getting customers, hiring the right people and setting up sales processes.
How did Headstart help you?
Headstart opened the whole startup network for me. There is a lot of personal learning that happened because of people that I met in the circle. As an example, I was under an impression that I cannot do sales and in one of the sessions I realized that the founder has to do all the initial selling – which is where I started cold calling and pitching my product instead of looking for someone else to do it. This is where one of our big clients – P&G happened for us. So, kudos to you guys for helping the startups on the ground. In the initial days where there is so much of misconception about how to run a startup, Headstart has played an important role in my journey.
What will you suggest to women who are starting up right now?
I would say – go out and network in your industry, focus on learning – how to run the company, participate in local forums and develop public speaking skills. Be ambitious and aim high. Don’t get satisfied with initial success, media mentions, and awards. Lastly, focus on building a team. Be there for your people and enjoy the journey!
Priyanka started as a single founder and is proudly bootstrapping her company. She plans to raise funds in the next 6 months. You can get in touch with her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her blog
Abhishek has been active in the startup community for the past 3 years. He actively volunteers with Headstart and writes on startups. Reach him at email@example.com