A new online marketplace is about to be launched in India – IronTread, which claims to be the country’s first contractor-to-contractor equipment rental and sale portal for the construction and infrastructure industry.
A joint venture between investment company Acropolis Capital Group and Energy and Infrastructure company Punj Lloyd, the new virtual infrastructure bank was said to be partnering with leading infrastructure companies in the region.
“All the participants on the platform will benefit from renting, selling and buying to each other via a robust auction-led process,” the company said.
IronTread said its platform would allow contractors needing equipment to access the real-time idle-equipment inventory of other contractors which had equipment available to rent, but had limited channels to do so, or did not have the systems to conduct the transaction.
“At present, contractors are forced to either buy equipment (which is used primarily for the duration of the project life), or rent them from a handful of leasing companies at high rental-yields,” the company said.
IronTread said it aimed to keep expanding its equipment bank by growing its network of equipment owners. Over time, it said it aimed to enter related industries such as agriculture, municipal renting, and small tool rental, while it said it also planned to expand into Africa, the Middle East and South East Asia.
By renting or buying idle equipment of peers through the IronTread platform, the company said users could rent or buy pre-verified equipment at significantly lower costs than any other available alternative.
It said this was possible because IronTread provided renters access to the marginal cost of their peers’ idle equipment. And prices would further reduced through a proprietary online reverse-auction bidding process, according to the company.
IronTread also said that it had established remote monitoring tools which would allow small-to mid-sized contractors access to the web-based management reporting tools that resemble the functionality of sophisticated ERP systems otherwise available only to large conglomerates.
Furthermore, IronTread said it would also underwrite an insurance policy for loss or damage of any construction equipment on its platform.
Annat Jain, managing partner at Acropolis Capital Group, said, “We’re pleased to invest in IronTread. This is a great time to introduce innovation into the Indian construction market. We’re at the tail-end of a down-cycle in infrastructure development in India.
“As India emerges from this downturn, and the infrastructure industry takes centre stage again, we’ll be positioned for rapid growth.”
And Atul Punj, chairman of Punj Lloyd, said he believed IronTread addressed a core problem for all construction companies.
“We’re now in advanced stages of expanding IronTread’s strategic partnership with India’s largest infrastructure companies who are also keen to become strategic partners. This will allow IronTread to become, in short order, the industry standard and Asia’s largest virtual equipment bank.”