Felix Rubanda is a civil engineer and the mastermind of Kimihurura-based Izitini, an online platform that assists hardware shops and construction suppliers’ market construction materials. “The inspiration to start this company is linked to my personal experience. I have been working in the construction industry for long and I have discovered how stressful it is to conduct a construction project in all the segments. “It is through that, that I figured a better way to increase the efficiency in the industry, thus starting this platform. Our main vision is to leverage the technology to increase the efficiency in construction industry,” he says. Rubanda adds that between 30 to 45 per cent of a construction project time spent on sourcing, buying and getting the right construction materials, is a lot, yet it could have been used on the project’s completion. The civil engineer notes that there is no other online marketplace for construction materials locally that links buyers to sellers. He says that his mission is to help buyers get more than just construction materials, but also assist them to find a partner for their projects, on top of giving advice before buying a product to achieve the goal they want for the specific project. “We are trying to maximise our clients’ usage experience as it’s the industry we know very well, and are designing our product according to the users’ needs in the construction industry. What makes us standout is that we deliver the materials to the clients’ construction sites. We also refund the money when the product isn’t to the customers’ preference,” he says. So far, even though the marketing platform started three months ago, Rubanda is optimistic that it will serve the purpose for which it was formed, as he has 30 registered hardware traders from Kigali with more than 1,000 products on the platform. The site hopes to ease the burden of buying hardware materials and construction supplies. Photo/Net He explains that he has received above 60 successful orders and above 40 registered customers, for now. For him, the biggest challenges he is facing are, adaption to online buying is still low, though it’s growing and changing, secondly, consumer-buying behaviours as it requires a lot time, and energy to explain the values of buying online. Thirdly, the business requires a lot of capital to build the brand so that people start to trust and buy from him, he adds. He notes that the business is progressing slowly, because he is receiving positive feedback that shows that he is in line with his customers’ needs. Rubanda says that some of his future plans include continuing to improve his platform to increase the user experience, understanding the users’ needs which is why he may build customer centric products, and raising funds to scale up the business. So far, he has four employees and looks forward to employing more when the business expands.