Urban Company, previously called UrbanClap, is among the leading startups in India that have witnessed a steep rise in their customer base.
The company has made it easy to avail services such as massage and salon without going outside and it is the largest online services provider which has a very simple background.
Simply, we can say that it is an all-in-one platform that aids users to avail services of professionals such as beauticians, masseurs, sofa cleaners, carpenters, and technicians at just one touch.
Every company has its own interesting story and here we are showcasing the journey of Urban Company, how the idea came and how it grows very fast.
About the Company
Urban Company is the largest home service platform in Asia.
The platform helps customers book professional home services such as beauty services and massage therapy for both women and men, cleaning, painting, plumbing, carpentry, appliance repair, and many more.
This Indian company is present in Singapore, the UAE, and Australia as well.
It is available in 30 cities in India -- Agra, Ahmedabad, Bhopal, Bangalore, Bhubaneswar, Delhi NCR, Indore, Jaipur, Kolkata, Mumbai, Lucknow, Vadodara, and so on -- and 4 International markets -- Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sydney, and Singapore.
It was launched in November 2014. The main motive of the company is to empower millions of professionals world-wide deliver services at home like never experienced before. This innovative idea was brought up by three young brains, Abhiraj Singh Bhal, Raghav Chandra, and Varun Khaitan. This was their second attempt at starting a business.
Since its launch, the company has evolved immensely, and currently, it offers services under two verticals – Beauty & Wellness, and Home Repairs & Maintenance. Service professionals are closed to 40,000, out of which 35000 are from India on its platform.
(Must check: Success Story of Nykaa)
Urban Company Founders
The trio of Abhiraj Singh Bhal, Raghav Chandra, and Varun Khaitan put up this wonderful idea.
Cinemabox was an on-demand movie streaming platform that gave entertainment for long-distance buses was the first venture of Abhiraj and Varun. Raghav Chandra was trying to start something on his own, auto ride-sharing app called Buggy.
“These individuals [service providers] are the most atomic form of business units in our society... If India needs to grow, if consumers need to benefit, they have to be empowered”- As stated by Raghav Chandra, co-founder of Urban Company
Nevertheless, the three of them soon realized their hard work is not going anywhere even though they have a unique idea.
The three eventually came together in their new mission and founded “Urban Company”.
At Urban Company, Abhiraj Bhal is mainly responsible for handling marketing and business development. Raghav Chandra is responsible for technology and product development and Varun Khaitan takes care of the operations and partner success.
Origin of Urban Company
Even in 2014, customers experienced issues in finding the services they truly required. The trio themselves felt that there was a gap in how people found services and in the manner in which they connected with the service providers.
So, using their encounters and understanding of the problems the idea of establishing an all-in-one platform came into the minds of the founders.
UrbanClap, as an organization, was created by understanding this need and by basically transforming the Yellow Pages design ointo an online stage.
Homepage of Urban Company
At first, it began as a stage that was lead-generation model, but over time Urban Company adopted a full-stack model that onboards gig workers offering them financial assistance, skills training, access to branded tools and products, and a ready-to-serve market. The full-stack model helped the company maintain quality standards irrespective of the partner delivering the service, thereby building consumer love and loyalty.
In a short period of time, the three founders raised a good amount of funds from different ventures and by 2015, the startup had raised more than a million dollars.
(Related blog: The Success Story of Lenskart)
Why did UrbanClap Change its Name to Urban Company?
Urban Company changed its name to UrbanClap in Jan 2020.
In this huge change, co-founder Abhiraj Bhal said that it is important to have a globally acceptable brand.
He said in a statement, “From the neighborhoods of Darling Harbour in Sydney to the condominiums of Gurgaon, Urban Company is a simple name with universal appeal. What remains unchanged is our commitment to offering reliable and affordable services at home. This is enabled by working closely with our service partners, helping them with up-skilling, financing, insurance, product procurement, etc., transforming them into micro-service entrepreneurs.”
The main motive of rebranding is to develop the sub-brands under the umbrella brand. The founders are even planning to expand their services in other cities of India.
Urban Company Sees Strong Recovery Post Lockdown
Urban Company witnessed emphatic results in business post lockdown and it is expected that the company will double its revenue in the current fiscal year as compared to the previous year.
To meet the growth in demand the company has been working hard in increasing its partner strength.
The co-founder Varun Khaitan said to PTI, “During the lockdown, we focused on re-imagining delivering safer and more hygienic services (amid the COVID-19 pandemic) and have made significant investments in technology, PPE (personal protective equipment), and safety training. Since June, the business has been on a very positive trajectory and customers have trusted Urban Company to enter their homes for both their beauty and home service needs.”
After that, he added, “We are seeing strong growth in business despite the months of lockdown. We have already crossed our pre-COVID peak by more than 30 percent and are confident of growing 2-folds in FY21 over FY20.”
In these six years, Urban Company has earned the trust of their customers and due to this COVID-19 pandemic, everyone is now more concerned about hygiene.
Thus, people now prefer salon services at home. So, they are trusting Urban Company more because of their professional and hygienic services.
Funding and Investors
Till date, the company is funded by 12 investors with Vy Capital, Tiger Global Management being the most recent names on the list.
It has raised a total of $190.9M in funding over 10 rounds and on 25 Aug 2020, its latest funding was raised from a secondary market round.
They have acquired three organizations and their most recent acquisition was Glamazon on Mar 4, 2020.
The Full-stack Model of Urban Company
The entire conventional business model is transformed to a full-stack, fulfilment model. Following the full-stack approach signifies extensive investment in Urban Company’s partners in the context of training, micro-financing, approaching branded products and tools and more.
This model facilitates the customers to receive congenial services anytime and improves their experience and upgrade retention rates.
In order to pivot full- stack, the UC team had designed the partner app as well as making out several capabilities for UC partners such as a financial product, a partner supply chain for consumable, training centres on the basis of apps and video conferencing capabilities, SOP flows and many more.
As explained by Kirat C, Product SVP, Urban Company, “An interesting but major business solution was shutting down our lead-gen model, and pivoting to full-stack, which was a difficult but rewarding decision. Business revenues were split roughly 50 percent between the two business models but NPS (Net Promoter Score) and retention figures favoured a standardised booking model. The realisation that customers wanted the whole deal from confirmed fulfilment, price transparency, genuine products, service SOPs and more, made us pivot to full-stack,”. (From)