Singapore’s first and largest construction equipment rental marketplace, Antbuildz, has raised SGD235,000 (approximately USD175,000) in pre-seed funding led by Apricus Ventures. The fresh injection of capital will be used to increase the team’s headcount, improve the user experience for consumers and rental partners on the platform as well as strengthen marketing efforts.
Antbuildz seamlessly connects trusted equipment suppliers with users over the platform making it easier for contractors to search, compare and rent with just a few clicks. Firms that rent are able to compare prices easily and rent for a flexible duration. Rental partners are able to easily reach a wider user base, market their equipment and increase its utilisation rate, while being assured that payment will be made securely and on-time. To make the rental safer, Antbuildz has rolled out Antbuildz Machinery All Risk. All rentals made on the platform will be protected with up to $15,000 first loss coverage. The first of its kind in Southeast Asia, the introduction of on-demand insurance will help raise the standards of safety for users and rental partners in the industry.
“The construction industry is steeped in traditional practices and legacy systems. In the case of rental, many companies still manually dial up different equipment suppliers to enquire and would take many days to clarify and compare when it could be easily resolved in one click. Some suppliers may not even entertain such calls. Furthermore, SME construction companies may not have bargaining power and the transparent cost comparison we provide will help level the playing field. We liken ourselves as the ‘Booking.com’ for equipment rental,” says Kek Hean Hooi, co-founder and CEO of Antbuildz.
Kek continues, “As the pandemic has shown us, project management is critical and delays could easily accrue, leading to thousands of dollars in value squandered. Singapore may be a highly developed country but the construction industry is lagging behind in terms of digitalisation. Singapore is Asia’s fourth most expensive market to build in, and amidst rising cost pressures, the government has been actively pushing for companies to overcome their inertia and adopt efficient and effective digital practices. As the first construction equipment rental marketplace that is technology-enabled, we are in a prime position to help allay any concerns from firms so as to introduce the potential that can be unlocked from digitalisation.”
Founded in June 2020, the startup has been working alongside technology industry partners as well as key sector leads and associations in the built industry to facilitate its digital transformation. Currently, the platform has onboarded over 50 reputable rental partners. Since the beginning of 2021, the platform has seen an 83% increase in equipment listings and 162% in the number of equipment rented. Over the same period of time, Antbuildz saw approximately 122% increase in monthly sales with a 43% repeated order rate. To date, they have closed up to SGD500,000 worth of sales. Antbuildz is supported by Enterprise Singapore’s startup grant and is currently participating in the Institute of Engineers’ accelerator programme.
“We are thrilled to have invested in Antbuildz.com since its inception and thus far convinced with various growth metrics it has achieved. Being the first-mover in the online marketplace for equipment rental, Antbuildz.com is poised to unlock the potential of gig economy within the construction industry. With a strong lineup of team members alongside effective strategies, Antbuildz.com has gained momentum in lead generation and market penetration. This is evident as we could see a surge in the traffic to its online platform and a high user-to-customer conversion rate in a short period of time,” says Erwin Foo, co-founder of Apricus Ventures.
“The construction industry is predicted to lead the global economic recovery from the impact of COVID-19 but there’s a huge disconnect given the inefficiencies brought about by the traditional ways of working. We can see that the pandemic has nudged the industry to rethink their practices and this has spurred them to trust online renting,” adds Kek. “There are a few significant use cases of such a platform in the industry but this is limited to the US and Europe. Based on estimates, construction equipment rental market value is about US$370 million in Singapore and US$6 billion in the ASEAN region, and we are excited to transform the equipment rental practice in Southeast Asia.”