Conversation with Linarc - Image credit Pixabay/GeraltShanthi Rajan is a serial entrepreneur. She has been on the leadership team and successfully exited companies such as Business Evolution Inc. Her latest venture is Linarc, which was launched a few weeks ago. She is now looking to scale up the company. Enterprise Times spoke to her about her ambitions and the company.

First, Enterprise Times asked her to describe Linarc.

“Linarc is a construction management platform, operations plus project management. We serve contractors in small to medium businesses with five to a hundred million revenues. That’s where our target space is. We allow contractors to manage their resources, whether crew, equipment or material, and projects.”

Is there any meaning behind the name Linarc?

“The name is a blend of Lines & Arcs – two geometrical fundamental objects. Any building can be designed using these basic definitions.”

What is your vision for Linarc?

Shanthi Rajan, CEO anf founder of Linarc
Shanthi Rajan, CEO anf founder of Linarc

Rajan replied: The main reason why I started this was as I started to understand the space, I found a huge gap in what the contractors needed and what was available. Many products have come into the space now, but still, there’s a gap, requiring a lot of integration. My vision is (that when I) come into a room and turn on a button, the whole room is lit up.

“Wherever we don’t have a product, we find products in the marketplace that are a good fit and have a seamless integration. For most contractors coming on board, it’s a switch, you turn it on, and it’s easy to get started, easy to use for your entire team, and super intuitive.

“A lot of work has gone into ensuring that the UI is something people can relate to very easily. That’s the main vision. The other side of this is the goal is not to take our revenue from our customers’ revenue. The goal is to find a value proposition that matches and keep our pricing around that.”

Target market

It seems as though Linarc is still evolving its target market, which is normal for an early-stage startup. What direction are you headed in?

“It’s a bit too early to narrow it down. On the project side, we have narrowed it down. We target commercial, and multifamily housing construction – (Apartments, Townhomes, Condominiums and Retirement homes). In commercial, we are not looking at any kind of civil projects or large industrial kind of project.”

How are you planning to deliver that expansion?

“We have some targeted pipelines that we are working through now. Once we hit this understanding that this is our messaging, this is our value proposition, and this is the customers we are able to resonate with, then we will start to build on our growth plan. That will also involve targeting essentially just US markets, but a very, very defined market segment.

“Our early focus on the geo side is on high growth areas like California, Texas, and the New England area, New York area. That’s where we are doing a lot of outreach at this point. That doesn’t mean we are saying that those are the only areas we will focus on.”

What about international growth?

“On and off on our website, we get requests from Australia, Dubai, and some from the UK too. The earlier, the better, just because these markets have already been targeted by all other vendors. So I’m hoping to target them next year, probably mid to third quarter of next year.”

With a development team based in India, would you consider launching there?

“India is a very interesting market. Surprisingly enough, if you leave the smaller contractors out, the medium to larger contractors use a lot of technology. There’s a younger generation of builders coming up. You need to understand the Indian market a little bit deeper in terms of how they manage financing, accounting, and those kinds of things before you try to target them.

“The fieldforce is very digitally native, they are all extremely mobile users. There’s a great opportunity there. That will be an earlier exploration of the Asia market, even before we have a formal exploration of the other markets, just because we are there. The only issue is apps to support native languages. There are so many native languages there, so we just need to support that.”

The architecture

Enterprise Times asked Rajan about the architecture of the product.

“The web app is 100% cloud-based. Theoretically, it’s cloud agnostic. We can run on any of GCP, AWS or Azure, but we are hosted on AWS. We have a web and mobile app. The web app was developed with modern JavaScript-based frameworks, the main one is Vue.js.

“Then we use a whole bunch of libraries and packages. We use Django ORM, as the middleware and our database is Postgres. We use the REST API or socket, depending on whether it’s notifications, alerts or real time data that’s needed. Our mobile apps are all native apps.”

Are you leveraging the AWS platform AI services?

“We leveraging existing, not necessarily just AWS. We also have serverless Lambda functions that cover some of the requirements from that perspective. When we look for AI things, we just take the best one available and then pull it into work. Even though we run on AWS, there could be certain services that run better (elsewhere) where it makes sense.”

On Pricing

There is currently no pricing for Linarc on the website, what is the pricing model for Linarc?

“It’s a bit early. A couple of things, we don’t price based on a revenue model, we simply price it based on value. If you go to most of the applications out there, that’s a fixed pricing offering.“

If you are looking at value-based pricing, how are you thinking of calculating that?

“The value is based on how you can justify a good ROI. it’s still a little bit early for me to talk more deeply on that, maybe in our next conversation. We’re also fleshing this out as we talk to customers, to see where we land with the pricing that we’re proposing.”

On Product

What is on the product roadmap?

“The biggest thing that will be coming as we move forward would be in materials, getting into the supply chain model. We are also looking to build more intelligence into our system. We have built a predictive engine, for the project engine. It can tell you where your projects will land if you don’t follow the outlined roadmap. You have a schedule; are you meeting it?

“Based on other data we pull in, we want to sharpen that predictive engine, so you get a good idea of how your projects typically fall. We do have a vision to get into the invoicing side and connecting with the city for inspections. So small peripheral modules that will expand the scope of the platform, very organically based on how the workflow is within construction.”

One of the things you haven’t mentioned is project information. The website talks about storing documents, but that falls short of being a project information system.

“Whatever document gets generated within the project, including as we move towards closeout, we have a project file repository. All of those go into that, and they will become available to you endlessly. That is already built in. But looking at contracts and extracting information from contracts, making a meaningful connection to it within the project, that’s something we would partner with.”

Linarc already has integrations with Google Drive and Dropbox. Rajan also commented that they are looking for a technology partner with an estimation tool.

On the future

You have self-funded so far, are you looking to raise further funds to support your expansion?

Expansion is expensive. Yes, we will raise funds. I’ve had a couple of good successes before as an entrepreneur, so sold two companies. I personally do have slightly deeper pockets than an average entrepreneur. The vision for this one was to go to VCs for growth stage. Once we hit those numbers that we are targeting, I will look to raise funds.”

What do you hope to achieve in the next six to 12 months?

“Set a direct vision based on what the customers want. When we talk to each customer, the story is a little bit different as to where they are in the lifecycle of accepting technology, digitization, all of that. How do you really go across this gambit? How do you bring them on this deeper clarity that will drive our product roadmap forward.

“That’s the biggest goal in the next 12 months to have this clarity really down, and eventually have a predictable use case that can be developed, so that we can develop a growth model. Those are the two main goals, to understand our customer base really well. Figure out what it is about our product and about the customer that it starts to tick?”

On Challenges

What are your challenges within the business currently?

“The biggest challenge is getting customers to come into conversation with us now. We are still not well known. If I want to talk to you, it will take me at least a month. I will send you information, send you some videos, send this, and that to bring you into a conversation. That is the first biggest challenge that we are facing.”

What do you want Linarc to be famous for?

“I want Linarc to be well known for having solved some of the bigger problems. Bringing the last man on to digitization, that is our ultimate goal so that most of the industry gets into a technology framework. That is one of the things that I really strive for, not just the big guys, but so even the smaller guys so they can take advantage of technology. Making Linarc as ubiquitous as QuickBooks is.”

The book question

What was the latest book you read, and what was your takeout for business from it?

“I read the NIKE CEO’s, book (Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE – Amazon Aus, UK, US). It’s an older book, but I just picked it up very recently. I think the biggest takeaway from that is a lot of that story was written, from the founder’s perspective and the enthusiasm and the energy that he brought into the sales side of it.]

“The risks as well, simply picking up your suitcase and travelling anywhere to get that. So the biggest thing that I got out of that, is, what it means to build a real sales empire. It is very different from what it means to build a product-based company.”


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