Tech-driven startup, building bridges between clients with construction projects and the engineers and architects needed to deliver them, plans to go global with boost from powerful venture building program
A new startup called Handiss has launched an online platform that streamlines how construction projects large or small can hire the freelance engineers and architects they need. Now it is about to step up to the big leagues with a venture building programme called The Nucleus, supported by The UK Lebanon Tech Hub (UKLTH) a joint initiative from the UK government and Banque du Liban, Lebanon’s Central Bank.
How to find these skilled practitioners can be a real headache and, unless you are an experienced firm with a ready pool of trusted practitioners you can always call on, every new build is a risky step into the unknown – until now. Clients will no longer have to just rely on word-of-mouth to access the expert engineers and architects they need to deliver successful projects.
Handiss provides an equalizing platform where everyone can capitalize on the skills and qualifications of the experts to ensure opportunities are realised and the work gets done properly. If you’re looking for engineers and architects to work with on a project or task basis, you will find options, save time, and hire the right person for your job and budget. Clients have the peace of mind that comes with the guarantee of being able to engage and hire the best available people, the ability to optimise their outsourcing costs and manage everything from the one Handiss platform.
Whether you are a commercial firm wanting to build a new supermarket, real estate developer planning an office block or a private citizen looking to build their dream home and you’re in the market for consulting and design services, or an independent engineer or architect looking for your next job, all these needs are catered for in detail by Handiss. The platform is already populated with projects ready to go plus engineers and architects from all over the world, and their specializations span dozens of engineering and architectural disciplines; everything from architecture and interior design to landscaping, urban planning to traffic, road, water and infrastructure engineering to project management and contracts administration.
Ramzi Jreidini, Founder of Handiss, said:
“We connect people in the industry on a project or task basis, and not on full-time jobs. This is what makes Handiss unique, as virtually all portals in this market provide full-time employment for companies. Our main competition is really the status-quo and the paradigm of the market itself. People in the market are not used to the idea of finding freelance engineers and architects using an online platform. Most people rely on their own personal connections or a search on LinkedIn to find one or two professionals who can help them out on their project, with all the obvious limitations that entails.
“While there are other well established freelancing websites which have a branch of their service that caters for engineering and architecture, they are far from developed enough to cater for all the services in the sector. We have also differentiated ourselves in that we market specifically for the construction market, and that we cater our product in many other ways for this sector (such as the pricing system).”
Thanks to being picked as one of seven projects to be turbo-charged by The Nucleus, the latest initiative of The UK Lebanon Tech Hub (UKLTH), this startup is poised to go global. It is backed by the UK government and the Central Bank of Lebanon for fostering entrepreneurship and research & development in Lebanon.
Ramzi Jreidini said:
“While we’re quite small at the moment and in our infancy with around 300 signed up engineers and architects offering their time and work, the growth opportunity is huge when you look at the market size. The construction market is globally worth over $10 Trillion, and is expected to reach $15 Trillion by 2030, according to estimates in a PwC report on the market. This number dwarves other markets.
“The consulting sector (our target within construction) is worth 5% of the total market, so that puts it at around $500 Billion. If Handiss is able to take even a fractional percentage of market share in the total value of projects posted on it, it would be in the millions of dollars.”
The online process for using Handiss is designed to be simple, with two sections on the website when signing up, one for the clients (employers) to post their project details and the other for freelancers who want to offer their services.
For clients, after their project is posted they will start receiving proposals from the freelancers. A larger scale construction project that is posted on Handiss can have several specialists jobs associated with it. This reflects the multi-tiered nature of a construction project where there are many engineers and architects working together. After receiving and evaluating proposals and then choosing the best candidates for their purpose, clients can take advantage of Handiss’ escrow payment system that protects both sides of the transaction. All freelancers have to do is create a free account, fill in their professional profile and start applying to jobs within their area of expertise.
Now Ramzi Jreidini’s ambition of maximising his grasp on a global audience with this concept is becoming a reality, thanks to being one of the first seven companies chosen from a pool of 176 applicants to benefit from The Nucleus programme. The Nucleus startups benefit from an investment of US$20,000 in cash and US$30,000 in services, in return for the UKLTH taking up to a five per cent equity stake in the business.
In-service benefits that entrepreneurs are able to take advantage of over a 12 week period include further developing their product with an in-house core technology team and building a business model with C-level executives. During the 12 weeks they will also benefit from a host of practical workshops on finance, legal structures, organisational culture, raising capital, pitching, marketing and sales.
Every company will be assigned a “Dragon’s Den” style board, involving top industry experts, relevant academics, media experts and potential buyers. Three monthly board meetings will be held throughout the programme to ensure a business roadmap is set and followed for every startup.
The Nucleus entrepreneurs will also have access to office space, support with Legal and Auditing services for company registrations, in addition to HR management. On product completion, UKLTH will continue to support all the startups by helping them tap into their international networks, garner partnerships and help them raise potential investment from investors.
Ramzi Jreidini added:
“Having only launched in January, we followed with a new set of online features in May and are now planning a marketing strategy to bring our product fully to the global market. We hope to have this marketing strategy developed within The Nucleus program. New features will be rolled out soon which will enable us to expand to markets outside of Lebanon more easily. The sky’s the limit.”