Architecture is beyond just a profession, it’s an art and a science. As with a wide range of other fields, architecture and engineering have been revolutionized by innovations, which have made complex or impossible projects become a reality. Improving this field of architecture and aiding in its innovation in Zimbabwe is a rising start-up and 2019 Harare Youth Connekt Start-Up Tour Bus Winner, Zezuru Distinctive Design Studios. .
Zezuru delivers full residential design, construction and property management services online at a subscription service fee, which is uncommon in the architectural industry. Clients can help to design their buildings from concept to completion, all from the comfort of their own homes.
When asked about the motivation behind establishing the company, the founder of Zezuru, Tatenda B. Mpofu responded, “The journey began in 2015 when I realised how much the construction industry was lagging behind in technology adoption and implementation in comparison to other industries such as using percentage-fee-based pricing model manufacturing. This phenomenon was particularly pertinent in the context of developing nations.”
His first attempt at reconstructing the industry was Design Gallari, a platform that allowed industry players to collaborate using technologies that were relevant to them. From this project, Mpofu experienced a couple of light bulb moments; firstly, that the principal problem was not the technology itself but rather the mindset of the industry at large and secondly, that if a tech solution were to be successfully implemented in this context, it would have to be implemented as a business to client (B2C) model rather than a business to business (B2B) model.
With the B2C model, Zezuru has now grown to develop a sustainable business model with a multi-pricing model for clients. Clients can pay using a percentage-fee-based pricing model or subscription based payments. On the platform clients can also now monitor the construction of their properties as well as manage the maintenance of such properties. In addition, Zezuru has developed a pipeline based on the RIBA plan of work 2020 guideline overlaid on open source technologies. The end result for clients is a higher quality of service at a very competitive price.
The major challenge Zezuru faces is acquiring the capital to purchase the heavy duty equipment needed for successful implementation. They’ve chosen to approach the issue strategically by distributing the purchase of equipment over time and hope to raise the additional funding required to purchase all the necessary equipment.
Zezuru’s future plans are now geared towards growth and expansion, as they transition from beta testing of their platform into deployment, growth and expansion.
When asked how the Youth Connekt experience influenced his business, Mpofu noted, “Youth Connekt has been invaluable to us from a financial, business learning, and networking perspective. We have met peers who are also innovating in our industry and created networks and mentors who have helped us understand business and all its intricacies.
The funding that we have obtained has allowed us to purchase equipment that has been invaluable to the growth of the business. Networking with business incumbents is a critical component of growing your business, they understand how businesses navigate through the muddy waters of growth and will help you avoid unnecessary pitfalls.”
To get in touch with Zezuru please visit their social media platforms noted below:
What do you think is the future of virtual reality in Zimbabwe ? How do you see the future of architecture changing? Share in the comments below: