Problem addressed

Material wastage is a significant problem in the construction industry with much of this waste unnecessarily ending up in landfills. Inefficiencies within the industry can result in tonnes of building materials and products that could have been reused instead being discarded. It is estimated that 13% of products that are sent to a site are unused and sent to landfills.

Overview of start-up

Material Exchange is a marketplace for the buying and selling of surplus construction materials. Their platform links businesses, contractors, and individuals to enable the exchange of high-quality materials at competitive prices. By reducing the amount of construction waste, Material Exchange helps mitigate the impact of the building industry on climate change and resource use and promotes a more circular economy. Large companies with excess materials can have their own ‘store front’ on the marketplace for them to list and sell materials from their construction sites. The public and the small build sector can then benefit from being able to purchase these excess materials. When listing on the site, sellers can upload photos, provide descriptions and item conditions, categorise the items, set the price, and list the dimensions. Buyers can search for specific building materials or brands using keywords or filters including material type, size, and condition. Material Exchange provides access to a wide range of construction materials such as lumber, cement, roofing materials, plumbing fixtures, electrical components, flooring options, paint, and more.

What makes the start-up innovative?

The Material Exchange marketplace is innovative in three main ways:

  • They are currently incorporating a pallet delivery service for bulky items. By tracking the courier rates for all pallets nationwide, they can advise sellers on what estimated shipping costs would be for a given listing.
  • There is a ‘behind the scenes’ admin section where an administrator can set up each job and register the managers onsite who have selling capabilities. Additionally, they can track sales analytics by site and see the total revenue.
  • Material Exchange takes seller verification seriously to ensure a safe and reliable marketplace experience. Sellers must undergo a vetting process including uploading identification and proof of company ownership. This is to deter the listing of stolen goods and promote a trustworthy marketplace for buyers.

How the start-up has been designed to scale-up quickly

Since Material Exchange is an online marketplace which can host a wide variety and quantity of listings, there is no limit to scale. It can be applied and marketed globally, and they are actively exploring launching in Spain.