How ProjectHero is Leveraging Bureau to Build Trust in a Traditionally Unregulated, Digitally Backward & Informal Construction Industry

How ProjectHero is Leveraging Bureau to Build Trust in a Traditionally Unregulated, Digitally Backward & Informal Construction Industry

Case Studies
Bureau Team
Bureau Team

February 23, 2023

Bureau Team

February 23, 2023

About Project Hero

Project Hero is the Largest professional network for the construction industry. Project Hero provides a platform for construction workers and contractors to connect, engage in gigs, build relationships & reputation, and avail financial services. “We are building a membership-driven, professional network for the construction industry, bringing all the industry's stakeholders to the same platform,” says Satya Vyas, CEO and Co-founder. 

Satya highlighted Project Hero’s mission, “The industry lacks a platform where all stakeholders connect and build professional relationships. At Project Hero, we give them tools to build and manage their reputation. People with a good reputation will be able to avail myriads of benefits, ranging from financial services to cheap credit.” 

With over half a million works on the app, 70,000+ small contractors, and 20 large general contractors already leveraging the platform, Project Hero is floating more than ~$5 million in order. Satya is very optimistic about growing these numbers by 2X in the next three months. 

The Challenge 

Origins of Project Hero

Project Hero is one of those stories where the founding team built something as a solution to their own problem. “We were running a bootstrapped, offline general contracting business since 2016. We managed about 500 contract workers and tied up with many subcontractors. The industry is so informal that there was no way to know good actors from bad. Workers would pick up jobs, underperform, and then go ahead and pick another job. There was no credibility since everyone was working in silos. None of the stakeholders had any profiles, work history, and reputation. We lost a lot of time and resources on that.”

“We realized that this industry was ripe for formalization, especially post covid. Mobile phone penetration, a lot of services moving online & cheap data were solid tailwinds & thus we decided to work full-time on Project Hero,” says Satya on the origins of Project Hero.  

Instilling Trust in a Traditionally Unregulated, Digitally Uncharted, and Informal Segment

Project Hero built a platform that brought all the stakeholders together and provided tools to develop & manage their reputations. The platform lets workers create their profiles, get verified, and apply for jobs. On the other hand, contractors can post verified job opportunities to hire workers. 

“The whole point is to have skill-tested genuine workers and thoroughly verified contractors on the platform. The entire product revolves around ensuring verified people get better access to opportunities. We feel that this is the only way we will be able to solve the price & quality discovery problem in this industry, ” says Satya. 

Building a strong trust ecosystem was not easy. 

  1. You need to verify workers and contractors.  
  2. You must ensure that the contractors’ have sound financial health to lower the chance of problems in the disbursement of workers' pay. 
  3. You must minimize identity-related risks. Most entities in the construction industry operate in a “fly by night” manner. They will stop picking up the phone when they don’t want to engage further. They will change sims and switch off phones to circumvent identity-related risks. After a few days, they will switch on their phones and repeat the same process with a new gig.

“Building a strong system of record is absolutely essential for Project Hero. The transformation of this industry is dependent on this. There was no way to get these signals from one place. We were working with multiple API providers & vendors. But none of them were giving us the comfort of scaling,” highlighted Satya.

The Solution

Putting Numbers Behind Trust with “PH Trust Scores”

“We figured that creating a unique Trust Score for each entity on the Project Hero network would help us make informed decisions about their reputation, financial health, and overall trustworthiness. Bureau provided us with the essential ingredients for PH Trust Scores,” said Satya.

Essential Ingredients to the PH Trust Score

Verifying Workers and Contractors

Bureau helped Project Hero verify construction workers onboarding on to the platform. "Basic KYC is a part of the process. But also establishing the trustworthiness of their phone numbers, financial history, and employment patterns is essential. This way, we can Know Our Customers, better"

Additionally, Small & medium-sized contractors are extremely critical entities in the equation. It is crucial to build their reputation as well on the network. Project Hero employed Bureau's Know Your Business (KYB) services to verify the legitimacy of these subcontractors. 

“90% of the contractors on our platform are partnerships or proprietorships. These are essentially single-founder entities with little or no information about them. We want to assure workers that the contractors they will be working with via Projecthero are reputed, and the risk to payments is negligible,” added Satya. 

“Also, large General contractors looking to hire subcontractors are more comfortable with a reputed contractor. They know the contractor coming via ProjectHero will not ghost or leave their workers unattended.”

Financial Signals

Bureau helped Project Hero assess financial signals for both workers and contractors. It is essential to identify the financial capabilities of contractors so the workers are not left hanging without pay. On the other hand, verifying a worker’s employment history, bank, and UPI accounts becomes very important. 

With Bureau’s Financial Checks suite, assessing these signals becomes super easy and enriches the PH Trust Scores. 

Mitigating Identity Risks with Phone Intelligence

With Bureau’s Phone Network Intelligence, Project Hero identifies identity signals that can mitigate the ‘fly by night’ problem. Bureau provides signals behind users’ phone numbers and assesses whether phones are reachable, their ‘Roaming’ status, and their current circle, among others. 

“Gauging reachability, roaming status, and history associated with the phone numbers, we can confirm the ghosting behavior with a high probability. With real-time scores, prompts & nudges, all entities can see & track the live times & know who was available and when. This is going to solve the ‘ghosting’ problem massively.” 

Assessing Digital Footprint 

While most users are new to smartphones, they use them heavily. Cheap data, post covid digitization, vernacular apps, etc., have spurred this consumption pattern. Bureau helped Project Hero assess the social and digital presence of their users. 

“While this audience works informally, and there are limited employment & financial records, rapid digitization is coming to the rescue. Based on the behavioral data, social presence, real-time feedback & data from other sources, we can fuel more information to the PH Score. Thus, reliably identifying patterns and establishing the user's reputation,” said Satya.

“All our services are free, but the product's value comes to the fore when someone becomes a verified member, increasing the probability of employment increases by 7x. Membership is not limited to users; subcontractors can become members and contact general contractors for orders,” added Satya.

The Impact

“Currently, we have created the PH Trust Score for 10,000 of our users. We are testing it out in real time, and it has given us valuable insights into user behavior and transactions. We plan to extend this over the entire user base of half a million people in the next two months,” said an ecstatic Staya. 

Satya also highlighted the impact of one platform for the solution, “Bureau also does the heavy lifting of generating and aggregating the essential signals for the Trust Scores, giving us ease of access, faster go-live time, and saving us from vendor sprawl, which is a nightmare for our engineering and product teams.”

The Future of Project Hero X Bureau

“We are super excited about this project with Bureau. We feel that with Bureau, Project Hero will be able to create a unified Trust Score for all the stakeholders and formalize the construction industry. We will also be able to build many other services layered on top of this trust score, like better access to credit, better deals, and other ancillary services,” concluded Satya. 

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