Ethiopian startup ConDigital is providing cloud management and analytical services to help construction companies become more efficient, and hopes to expand to other African countries soon.
Formed in 2018 and launched in January of last year, ConDigital digitises the process of construction project management for contractors, consultants and owners. Among the services it provides are data calculation, processing and reporting; schedule, resource and financial management; communication channels; centralised cloud file storage; and analytics.
“As a project manager working at a construction company you can register the project you are supervising and use the platform in collaboration with your colleagues inside your company and concerned entities outside your company to fully manage the projects,” Abel Gebreananya, the founder of ConDigital, told Disrupt Africa.
The African construction industry is one of the fastest growing globally, and second in size only to agriculture on the continent. However, it is also one of the most inefficient and corrupt.
“If we just take Ethiopia, which has the fastest growing construction industry in Sub-Saharan Africa, the country loses hundreds of millions if not billions each year due to inefficiency and corruption,” Gebreananya said.
“These problems are able to plague the industry because of the manual paper-based system the industry uses to manage the projects. We are working to replace that, implementing cloud-based project management and removing spaces for intended or unintended problems.”
The startup has already secured contracts with two construction firms, and is in the process of adding additional features to its platform. ConDigital was initially self-funded, but took on US$25,000 in funding from The Baobab Network after being accepted into its accelerator programme last year. Gebreananya said it plans to raise more cash in the coming months.
This investment will be used for growth within the Ethiopian market and to expand to other African countries.
“In the short term we are targeting other East African countries like Kenya and Rwanda. However, in the long term we hope to expand to the entire continent,” said Gebreananya.
ConDigital, which monetises via subscription fees, has already overcome challenges with financing to get to this point, and is now focused on convincing an established industry to modernise.
“We were the developers, the sales people, the cleaners of the office, and the accountants. We did everything,” Gebreananya said of the early days.
“The next challenge we had to face was being the first entity presenting technological solutions to an industry that has been used to doing things a certain way for decades. Being the first is great, but it also brings problems that nobody else has experienced and there is nobody to learn from.”
Large early steps have been made, however, and with funding ConDigital is hoping for a bright future.