#WednesdayWisodom The rise of UrbanClap: An inspiring tale of success

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Rise of UrbanClap
Rise of UrbanClap

Know the inspiring story of UrbanClap founders who failed at their first attempt


UrbanClap is the story of not losing hope and believing in yourself even though you don’t succeed the first time. The co-founders Abhiraj Bhal, Varun Khaitan and Raghav Chandra wouldn’t have thought that their small idea will convert into one of the largest online service providers.

UrbanClap’s story has a humble story and a simple background. Abhiraj Bhal and Varun Khaitan quit their jobs in the US office of Boston Consulting Group to find a place in the then-growing startup culture of India. The decision came as a surprise to their families and they were yet to find an idea of their startup.

After graduating from the IIT Kanpur, both college friends went on to work on their first startup Cinemabox. Cinemabox was an on-demand movie streaming service which provided entertainment for long journeys in train, buses and planes. Their idea was not accepted by the people and the startup had to shut down in 6 months.

After failing for the first time, both Bhal and Khaitan were introduced to Raghav Chandra who had a similar dream and vision. Raghav had build Buggi.in- a mobile app to book auto-rickshaws which also failed.  He previously worked with Twitter after graduating from the University of California, Berkley.  He came back to India in 2013 for the same reason of becoming the part of the growing startup culture in India.

How the idea for UrbanClap generated

The founders understood the challenges people face while finding housekeeping services and personal services.  Using their personal experiences they found that even in 2014 people were facing difficulty in finding desired services. People had to ask friends and neighbours or flip through yellow pages to search for an electrician or a plumber. The three of them came together and put Rs 10 lakhs each to start the UrbanClap.

The UrbalClap was found with a vision that, they will turn the yellow pages format into an online platform.  Although, the name UrbanClap was not the first choice of co-founders. The trio almost spent Rs 2 lakhs to buy domain Prohunt.com. Ovaslate, Worthyfit, Prodiary, Prowala, Servermonk, Protrumpet, Joystation were other names which were prevailed by UrbanClap.

UrbanClap went beyond the search and discovery platform and built a business model where they can encompass onboarding service providers, train them and manage quality control no matter what.  Customers were assured standardized services and prices where they could easily book required services and could also write the review.

The founders started clustering the services providers and structuring the online platform, enabling the customers to request services online easily.

Investments

When UrbanClap was growing, hyperlocal firms such as Timesaverz and LocalOye were already in the market doing the same job. UrbanClap was growing fast and it caught investor’s eye soon. They got funding commitment within six months of building the project. SAIF and Accel came on board in January 2015 and by April 2015 and they had raised Rs 10 crores.

The company became the most funded startup in the hyperlocal segment by the end of 2015. It raised $77.5 million in 27 rounds in 2015. Ratan Tata former chairman of Tata Sons Ltd invested an undisclosed amount in December 2015.  VY Capital and Bessemer Venture Partner then joined the list of investors for UrbanClap.

Beauty, Home repairs, electricians, carpenters, plumbers contribute a notable chunk in the revenue. Almost 20% of revenue generates from the beauty services alone.  Movers and packers, yoga instructors, academic teachers, wedding services are the growing categories for the company.

The business model of Urban Clap

Urbanclap invests a good chunk of money in training to sustain the standardized quality and products used by beauticians. The company monetizes by way of charging a percentage commission of the value of services rendered.  Their take rate is 20% in the case of beauty. This helps the beauticians get 80% of the money which is way more than what parlour gives them. Connecting with UrbanClap has helped beauticians earn 3-4x more monthly.  Looking at their business model, it is no surprise that the company is not looking for IPO in the near future.  However, the coming years look promising for the company as India is becoming more and more digital day by day.

Urbanclap is the team of 320 people which gets more than 7,000 to 8,000 requests every day.  The average basket size is Rs 3,000 – 4,000 which starts as low as Rs 200 – 250 for plumbers to lakhs for an interior design project. They provide both housekeeping services like Electricians, Plumbers, Cleaning, Carpenters and Pest Control and personal services like spa, beauty, yoga instructor, interior designer, wedding photographers, mobile, AC, other appliances repairs and many more.

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More than 1 lakh trusted professionals are associated with the company. They have served more than 30 lakhs customers till date in which most are regular customers.  UrbanClap is serving in Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad,  Pune, Ahmedabad,  Jaipur, Kolkata, Chandigarh and also in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

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