Digitalisation is possible even in the construction industry. The startup Stavario is easing the work of building companies
Josef Beneš has owned a construction company for several years and is aware of how many concerns that involves. Administration had always consumed a lot of his time, so he decided to find a solution that would enable him to handle it as efficiently as possible. He came up with an innovative project involving the digitalisation of the construction environment and established the startup Stavario (formerly Vím o všem). He participated in the CzechStarter programme operated by CzechInvest, whose mentors helped him with the development of the startup from the very beginning and its subsequent entry into the market.
Today, virtually anything, including construction, can be digitalised, thus saving a lot of time and money. Stavario offers owners of construction companies a cloud application that makes it possible to monitor all aspects of construction in one place. It provides companies with an electronic construction log, a tool for keeping attendance, tool tracking and more. It is able to cleverly connect a worker on the jobsite with an office employee and the building-project investor.
Stavario offers workers a mobile application via which they can clock in and out of the construction site, sign out tools and request materials. All of their data is accessible to employees in the office, who manage projects in an online environment and communicate with people in the company and with customers. Thanks to the application, they have a better overview of what is happening on the construction site. They can display a log in which they can see which problems the contractor is addressing, as well as photographs taken by workers on the construction site.
Stavario already has a number of satisfied customers, including Sanace Po. “Thanks to Stavario’s application, we solved a problem with keeping attendance of all of our employees. At the same time, I highly value the individual modules, such as the photo gallery of work that has been done and warehouse records,” says Pavel Salák, director of Sanace Po. Furthermore, the system is able to monitor the return on investment and the efficiency of projects, thus reducing construction costs. “The application made our work much easier. We regularly take photographs of the course of the commission, and investors, who have access to their own projects, can keep an eye on our work from the comfort of their home or office. Communication with investors has taken on a completely different dimension and customers are enthusiastic,” says Tomáš Barták, director of Zelené kolo.
Hours recorded in Excel tables
The startup’s founder, Josef Beneš, has been working in the construction industry for more than twenty years and has personally encountered problems on construction sites, including theft. He worked daily with numerous Excel tables and manually transcribed employees’ wages and working hours into a construction log. “All of those tables made me tired, and since I was familiar with IT as well as construction, I wanted to do something about it and try to automate the processes,” says Beneš. His effort paid off and the positive response is proof that he took the right direction. The product has already helped with almost three thousand construction projects. It is being used or tested by nearly 200 construction companies and a total of six thousand users. In addition to that, the startup has already gained two investments. Stavario received CZK 6 million from angel investors Jan Jankovský and Pavel Popp in the first round and CZK 15.5 million from the Nation1 investment fund in the second round.
Stavario & CzechInvest
In 2019 and 2020, Josef Beneš participated in CzechInvest’s CzechStarter programme, which enabled him to use more than 300 hours of mentoring. He wanted to formulate an appropriate growth strategy for his startup and to prepare it for the entry of an investor. He considered both of these aspects to be of key importance for the development of his business.
Each of the mentors with whom Beneš cooperated was focused on a different area of business, though all of them had a common goal – to squeeze the best out of the product and to help Beneš sell it and build his business. They focused on detailed targeting of customers in the construction sector and initiated online marketing communication with the aim of building brand awareness. Furthermore, they sought suitable partners for the product and formulated a business strategy in order to fine tune the purchasing process. They also dealt with legal issues, such as personal data protection.
In connection with the mentoring, Beneš also used the possibility of researching the Asian market, in which he saw a tremendous opportunity to reach millions of additional satisfied customers. At the same time, he wanted to find out if there would be interest in his product in Southeast Asia. “With the help of CzechInvest’s foreign representative and a mentor, I took part in several business meetings in Vietnam, Malaysia and Cambodia. All of them turned out great. I got feedback on my product and became convinced that it is exactly what construction companies are looking for there,” says Beneš, adding: “I had global ambitions from the very beginning. This experience only confirmed to me that it makes sense to continue working on expanding to Southeast Asia.” In addition to Asia, Stavario sees growth potential in other parts of the world. It is currently focusing on expansion to Germany and Great Britain.
Thanks to CzechInvest, Stavario has gained necessary business contacts, refined its business plan and has ambitions to develop further. However, Beneš is not focused only on business, as he has also made a name for himself in, for example, the “Fachmani” television programme on the Prima channel, where he appears as a professional guarantor of experienced DIYers, with whom he renovates buildings and familiarises viewers with basic technologies and construction techniques. In addition to that, he also appears in the show “Receptář prima nápadů”, where he leads the Listárna s Josefem Benešem segment and answers construction-related questions from viewers. Stavario also participated in the Vodafone Idea of the Year 2020 competition, in which it placed sixth among the ten best startups. Also, in 2020, Stavario was nominated for the CzechInvest Startup Challenge 2020 competition, in which it competed with nine other startups for the title of rising startup star.
“All of those tables made me tired, and since I was familiar with IT as well as construction, I wanted to do something about it and try to automate the processes” –Josef Beneš, founder of Stavario