This week we have Josh Graham on the Hot Seat, a passionate social entrepreneur using technology to create scalable positive impact.
His startup ehab is all about creating a platform to digitise the construction process, making it more efficient and finally bringing sustainable housing into the mainstream. The business was founded in 2015 and has gone through numerous iterations in order to find the perfect market fit.
Difficulties and challenges
Josh is sure that they pretty much experienced every problem there is to overcome while starting a business - investors leaving a property deal, landowners no longer wanting to sell, creating a product which didn't quite work, and bad timing for the launch of a funding campaign. Over the course of the last three years, there have been so many hurdles to overcome, whilst having to work part-time to make a living at the same time.
One of the most challenging aspects for Josh was deciding to pivot and throw everything overboard they had worked so hard on. This takes a toll on the team and yourself, even if you know it's the right decision to make. However, without these changes ehab still wouldn't be going.
The one thing Josh wishes he’d known before, is how to code! He is convinced that this skill could’ve helped him to get products up running much faster.
Learning, successes and favourite moments
Over the period of founding his start-up, Josh learned to learn as quickly as possible. This included to understand how to pitch your product, understanding the customer and recognizing information that is valuable for your business. In the end, this is what makes a startup competitive - the ability to move quickly and nimbly. Not to forget to learn from your failures, which should always be seen in a positive light.
The biggest success for ehab has been landing huge partnerships in the Cambridge Norwich Tech Corridor and Resilience Brokers.
And in terms of favourite moments? For Josh it’s every time he meets someone and they light up after talking about the idea. Encounters like these have kept him going for so long - the fact that people love the ehab vision.
Next steps and future plans
Next for ehab is to get the flagship project up and running, to complete the pilot project and to close the crowdcube funding round, which is still open, and can be found here.
In the future, Josh sees the team still working hard to fight for a more inclusive and sustainable housing system. Josh hopes ehab can create a real, working process for building sustainable homes, community-focused neighbourhoods and livable smart cities which can scale around the world and give people from all walks of life better access to housing fit for the 21st century.
A piece of advice
Josh’s nugget of advice: Ask for help. There are so many clever people all trying to start a business or fix the same problem as you are. Most business owners are happy to give advice and most people who care about the same issues as you, social or environmental, are likely to make time to provide advice.