We talked to Sergei Azbarov, Founder of My Renovation App, a construction & home improvement app, and this is what he said:
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Sergei Azbarov: Hi there! This is a very stressful time for my family. My wife and my parents are doctors. They face Covid-19 danger every day. They have to be extremely careful, but it is their duty to help patients anyway. My daughter and I are also very careful and try to support our loved ones.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded My Renovation App.
Sergei Azbarov: I came up with the home improvement app a few years ago. It was only intended for apartment renovation and had little functionality compared to the modern version. I raised venture money, hired a small but cool team, and rethought how to manage the construction process. Now My Renovation app is a construction task-manager at the crossroads of DIY and teamwork with an auto-generation to-do list, notes, accounting of costs and purchases, and a dashboard.
How does My Renovation App innovate?
Sergei Azbarov: The point is that we are creating innovations in home improvement. We believe that higher collaboration productivity on-site – fewer contacts between homeowners and handyman. Supervision control at the site will be much more effective with “My Renovation.” You will be upon your construction or home renovation anywhere and anytime with notifications on current status.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Sergei Azbarov: It became harder to find investors for a new round. Distance meetings have become commonplace, but I find that very special chemistry is more difficult. Otherwise, not much has changed. We are used to working remotely all the time.
Did you have to make difficult choices and what are the lessons learned?
Sergei Azbarov: The most important lesson is that the unpredictable can be worse and closer than you predicted. A startup is a risk in itself, but in a pandemic, the stakes are multiplied. You have to stay calm, cool and be a support and a wall for friends and family. And when several walls lean on each other, they stand strong.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Sergei Azbarov: We use messengers and sometimes voice communication. Like most it-teams, we have a pool of remote tools, and we’ve been using it for several years. But I understand that for many of our colleagues, life has been trapped in one room. So we try to discuss travel, books, sports, technical innovations, plans for the future more often. Before, such topics distracted me from the main tasks; now, they help a lot.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Sergei Azbarov: Our competitors are busy with their own survival. They won’t change to fight us. Professional construction software is not friendly to the customer. Planners are not designed to manage construction tasks. Interior and retail applications are not intended for collaboration. So we believe we can get into the World Top 3 Thematic Apps in 18 months.
Your final thoughts?
Sergei Azbarov: The pandemic has changed user patterns, but the need for home improvement is one of the most important human needs. We believe that by offering affordable and easy-to-understand digital tools for building and renovating, we can help people build their dream home without the risk and nerves as soon as possible.
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