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The service sector of the country is growing and so is the number of companies that are trying to make the most out of it. UrbanClap is another startup which aims to connect its users to the desired service providers in their locality. Varun Khaitan and Abhiraj Bhal, who were batchmates from IIT Kanpur decided to form this company while they were working at the Boston Consulting Group.
After a few discussions over long distance conference calls, they met Raghav Chandra who was working at Twitter and soon after that the company began operations in Delhi. The company is already growing leaps and bounds and has received funding from a number of investors including SAIF Partners, Accel Partners and the founders of Snapdeal, Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal.
Let’s learn a little more about this amazing start-up from Varun, the cofounder of UrbanClap.
What motivated you to start the company and what is it all about?
The objective of UrbanClap was to create the most convenient platform out there to hire services. We wanted it to be simple and quick.
Growing up, it was incredibly difficult to find the right professional for anything – whether one needed to find a wedding photographer or a guitar teacher- there was simply no way to locate them.
We realized how fragmented the local services industry in the country really was and how difficult it could be to find and hire the right service professional. So we decided to launch a startup to solve this problem by leveraging technology.
Our readers would like to know about your core team and their roles?
What is the current Team Size?
Currently, we are 250+ members across 4 cities and 6 departments, and still growing.
The functions that we have are Product & Technology, Business Development, Customer Experience, Marketing and HR.
Product and Technology is responsible for building our platform across web, Android and iOS. We have a sizeable number of people in the technology team working on our backend to ensure that nothing breaks and our users get a great experience.
Marketing is responsible for managing the demand. We have a digital marketing as well as an offline marketing team. There is also a small Branding and PR team of our company.
Business Development builds the supply. This team is involved in onboarding the providers and ensuring that we have the right people on our platform.
Customer Experience as the name suggests is the link between UrbanClap and its customers, solving their issues and ensuring everything goes off smoothly.
HR of course takes care of the team we have and continues to find the right talent.
How did you hire your initial team?
Initially, when it was just the 3 of us, we reached out to our alumni networks and posted on job portals like LinkedIn, as well as several Facebook groups. We also depended a lot on the personal contacts that each of us had to find some great people. Once a candidate was shortlisted, we would have 2-3 rounds of interviews, followed by reference checks. Now, we have a full-fledged HR team for that.
Which recruiting channels work best for you? Referrals/Job Boards/ Staffing Agencies?
Referrals works best and also we have a very solid alumni network. Apart from this, job boards on Facebook groups and LinkedIn are also helpful.
What are the key factors that you look for in a potential candidate?
Cultural fit is really important, he/she should be able to match our company values primarily. Apart from that we require a candidate to possess the ability to keep it simple yet be creative and also the ability to hustle at work. And of course, sound functional know-how is a must.
According to you how much is the competition in your vertical? How big is the industry? Who all are your competitors and what are your views on them?
We’re trying something revolutionary here. The previous attempts to organize the market have not progressed any further than listing platforms which are not of much help. Traditional platforms like JustDial have not successfully managed to leverage technology to the extent that we are attempting. So there’s a huge playing field here – it’s a $100 billion industry.
So far, there are a few other companies trying to do the same thing but we believe we are far ahead- both, in terms of the quality of experience we provide and the vision that we have for the future.
What are your marketing strategies? Do you take help of Social platforms to promote ? Which channels have been very effective? Which marketing channels have been super flops?
We concentrate on both online and offline marketing. We market on social platforms like Facebook and Twitter as well, which have proven to be quite effective. We’re constantly experimenting and trying different channels – so far, nothing has been a super flop.
What has been your experience with paid marketing channels?
They have been very crucial in driving our marketing efforts.
Can you elaborate on the Challenges in promoting your website/ App?
It’s challenging because what we’re selling is not an impulse buy, it’s need based, so identifying individuals who have that particular need becomes challenging. We’re constantly working on understanding and building the right product for both customers and professionals.
What is the current traction? Can you share some numbers on Usage and Revenue?
We’re currently getting around 4000 requests per day, and our Android App has over 1 lakh downloads.
Based on your experience would you have any advice to new Entrepreneurs / Startups?
Just one thing – Keep it simple. Focus on the basics and keep re imagining things!