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Urban Company - Online home services company
Founded in 2014, Urban Company is India's largest online home services platform.
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Founded in 2014, Gurgaon-headquartered Urban Company is India’s largest home services platform that connects service seekers with service providers. The platform helps customers book services like beauty treatments, home cleaning, massages, appliance repair, which are delivered by trained professionals at home.
During the coronavirus pandemic, the company saw a significant increase in sales and customers due to the lack of mobility caused by the lockdown. As a result, the company became India’s 13th unicorn in 2021 after raising $255M in a Series F funding round and was valued at $2.1B. In December 2021, Urban Company concluded an Employee Stock Options (ESOP) sales program worth $7.3M where the company was valued at $2.8B.
The company has more than 32,000 trained professionals on board who have served over 5 million customers. It operates in 5 countries and is backed by notable investors like Tiger Global, Elevation, Vy Capital, Steadview, Accel, Bessemer Venture Partners, Prosus Ventures, and Dragoneer Investment Group.
Business Overview & Products
Urban Company provides home services in the following categories:
Urban Beauty: Salon and makeup services for women at home
Urban Spa: Massage therapy for men and women at home
Urban Grooming: Haircut and grooming services for men and children at home
Urban Repairs: Electricians, plumbers, carpenters, AC, and appliance repair
Urban Cleaning: Regular and deep home cleaning solutions
Urban Painting: Professional home painting services
Other services such as fitness and yoga at home and pest control
The company operates across 5 countries: India, Australia, Singapore, UAE, and Saudi Arabia. Its operations are spread across 44 cities and by 2022 it plans to enter the South-East Asian market and expand to 100 cities.
How It Works
Urban Company connects skilled and experienced professionals with customers looking to avail home services. Professionals on the platform have to undergo intensive training before they can offer their services to users, ensuring a safe experience for customers. Once professionals have been trained, their services are then listed on the platform and a matchmaking algorithm connects them to users whose requirements they match, in terms of availability like date and time.
On the user side, service seekers use the mobile app to scroll through numerous services in an attempt to find one that matches their requirements. Upon finding a service that fits their criteria, the user selects a package and schedules an appointment. Users also have the option of checking the service provider’s profile thoroughly before booking them.
Anytime a service is booked, the relevant service provider receives a request notification and it is upon him whether he wants to accept or deny the proposal. If he accepts the proposal then both the service provider and user receive a confirmation message. Payment for the services can be made through both advance payment or cash on delivery.
Business Model & Pricing
Urban Company earns revenue through 3 main sources; commission, reverse auction, and advertisements. For starters, when professionals on the platform are paid by customers, the company deducts 10-20% from the total service cost as service charges and the remaining amount is paid to them. So this commission that the company charges service providers make up for 85% of their total revenue. Moreover, Urban Company also earns revenue from their reverse auction where service providers pay the company to list their services on the platform. In return for a fixed amount of money, the company helps professionals on the platform with lead generation and conversion. The company’s 3rd source of revenue is advertisements, as businesses, manufacturers, and services provide an advertising fee to showcase their advertisements on the platform.
Urban company’s revenue saw a significant 13.3% growth, from $28M in 2020 to $32M in 2021 after witnessing hypergrowth during the pandemic. It became India’s 13th unicorn in 2021 after raising $255M in a Series F funding round and was valued at $2.1B. It was also awarded the Covid-led Business Transformation Award by ET Startups in 2021.
The platform has over 30,000 partners who have delivered more than 750,000 services to date. They have over 100 training centers spread across India with 200 full-time trainers who train between 3000 to 5000 professionals a month. It operates in 36 cities across India and its app has been downloaded more than 10 million times.
Varun Khaitan: Co-Founder at Urban Company. Varun, an IIT graduate has previously worked as a Consultant at The Boston Consulting Group and as an Engineer at Qualcomm. He also founded CinemaBox, an on-demand movie streaming platform.
Abhiraj Singh: Co-Founder at Urban Company. Abhiraj, an IIM graduate previously worked as a Consultant at The Boston Consulting Group and co-founded CinemaBox, an on-demand movie streaming platform.
Raghav Chandra: Co-Founder at Urban Company. Raghav, a Berkeley graduate previously worked as a Software Engineer at Twitter and also founded Buggi, a dynamic peer-to-peer auto-rickshaw ride-sharing platform.
History & Evolution
Initially, Varun Khaitan and Abhiraj Singh started their journey with Cinemabox, a service that allows travelers to stream movies on their phones in planes, trains, or buses. However, that venture failed to impress customers and as a result, it had to be shut down within 6 months. It was during this time that the two friends met Raghav Chandra, a fellow entrepreneur who was also reeling from the failure of his first startup Buggi, an on-demand rickshaw hailing platform. Together the 3 entrepreneurs started brainstorming for potential business ideas and soon discovered the gap in the Indian home services market. Keeping the gap in mind, they decided to build a home services platform that would provide both transparency and credibility to its customers and that was how Urbanclap came into existence.
In 2014, Urbanclap was launched. Initially, scouting for customers was difficult so they began with their own circle. They found photographers, plumbers, and beauticians and connected them with friends and family in need of their services. Moreover, they also roamed through markets in Delhi, looking for customers, and even gave demos at companies their friends worked at in a bid to score new consumers.
In 2015, after bootstrapping for a year, UrbanClap raised $1.6M in a seed funding round; $10M in a Series A funding round; and $25M in a Series B funding round. In just a year, the company was catering to 1000 customer requests per day in 80 categories across 6 cities and became the most funded startup in the hyperlocal segment.
In 2016, UrbanClap acquired HandyHome, a home appliance repair or servicing company. That same year it also acquired GoodService, a chat-based concierge application.
In 2017, UrbanClap raised $21M in a Series C funding round, $3M in Debt Financing Round, and $1M in Angel Funding Round. That year the company had served around 1.5 million customers and had a network of about 65,000 professionals across India. Its team of 320 employees was processing 7,000-8,000 service requests daily.
In 2018, the company raised $50M in a Series D funding round and expanded its services to Dubai. It also became an assembly partner for IKEA and partnered with Acko to develop an accident insurance product for its partners.
In 2019, UrbanClap raised $75M in a Series E funding round and launched its operations in Australia. also reported 2.5x growth in operating revenue and served 3 million customers that year.
In 2020, it rebranded itself as Urban Company to capture the company’s ambition to become a horizontal gig marketplace with a global footprint and leadership position across service categories. The company also acquired Glamazon, an on-demand beauty startup.
In 2021, Urban Company became India’s 13th unicorn after raising $255M in a Series F funding round. During the lockdown, it focused on delivering safer and more hygienic services by making significant investments in technology, PPE, and safety training. This is why it witnessed a positive trajectory and customers trusted them to enter their homes for beauty and home services. It won the Covid-led Business Transformation award and expanded to over 35,000 workers that served more than 5 million customers in 36 cities.
Urban Company is leading the industry mainly because of their adoption of 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 helps the company maintain quality standards irrespective of the partner delivering the service, thereby building consumer love and loyalty.
Since December 2021, Urban Company has started offering free video consultations for appliance repair services. Senior experts with over 15 years of experience will be providing free video consultations to consumers so they can instantly resolve their issues and help consumers come up with exact diagnoses and cost estimates.
According to ResearchandMarkets.com, the Global Online On-demand Home Services Market 2021-2025 report, the online on-demand home services market is expected to increase to $4,730.31B during 2021-2025, growing at a CAGR of 70%.
In 2018, the Indian home services market was valued at $10.29B and according to research, it is expected to reach $65.51B by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 27.2% from 2019 to 2026.
Suggested starting points to dive deeper
Can Urban Company Give India's Gig Economy A Makeover? (A Junior VC, May ‘21)
Urban Company, hit by protests, promises to enhance partners’ earnings (Ratna Bhushan, The Economic Times, Oct ‘21)
Why Is Urban Company Bringing Back Services It Had Discontinued (Kamalika Ghosh, Outlook, Sep ‘21)
How Urban Company Got A Makeover And Doubled Revenue (Naini Thaker & Naandika Tripathi, Forbes India, Dec 20)
Untold Seed Stories: First 500 Days of Urban Company | SeedToScale (Seed to Scale, Oct ‘20)