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Modi Government’s StartupIndia is encouraging, but the impact remains to be seen: Founder UrbanClap

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Modi Government’s StartupIndia is encouraging, but the impact remains to be seen: Founder UrbanClap

The online service marketplace has seen many players over the years growing considerably, both nationally and globally. It wouldn’t be entirely incorrect to say that it has completely revolutionised the buying/selling patterns in the urban scenario. It is also slowly replacing the traditional marketplaces and shifting it to the virtual world.

A question, however, that has been consistently asked is what happens to the small scale service provider. In what manner does the micro-entrepreneur reach out to the customers, who now log into the net mostly instead of dialling numbers for their daily needs?

Gurgaon based online service marketplace  UrbanClap answers that question. Recently, My Big Plunge spoke to UrbanClap co-founder Raghav Chandra, where he discussed his entrepreneurial journey, the challenges of the sector, and the importance of CSR initiatives in the shifting entrepreneurial climate.

Started in 2014 by Abhiraj Bhal, Varun Khaitan and Raghav Chandra, UrbanClap has raised $37 million in three rounds of funding so far. Their investors include Bessemer Venture Partner, Accel Partners, SAIF Partners, Founders of Snapdeal- Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal, and Ratan Tata. At the age of 1 year and 3 months, UrbanClap has a valuation of $ 100 million.

On significant developments in the last 6 months

We have expanded into 8-9 major cities now. We have scaled up the team size, though not really in number, and have smart industry experts joining us such as Amit Das, who was heading the design team in We have also reached a place where we can tie up with partners such as Snapdeal and others.

We have around 300 people working in our family now. We have a total of 30,000 professionals using us, getting business directly.

On being one of the four startups to be invited for a meeting with Apple CEO Tim Cook

The purpose of his visit was him meeting the top iOS apps in the country and getting an idea of the Indian ecosystem. Tim comes from a very operational background, and he went deep into overall business operations and how we look at quality profiles. What clicks well in India now is an opportunity to rectify things using social economics. For us, we want to create micro-entrepreneurs, and that part resonated well.

On the Importance of Design

Taking care of design is a significant problem because at the end of the day what the user sees is the product itself, a very interesting product problem in itself. It’s not just about building an app but to use it in a more articulate manner and solve your problems for user experience.

On The Current Entrepreneurial Eco-system Of The Country

Several of us have moved back from different companies and great jobs abroad for several years. What drives us now is not that we are running our business. But the curiosity if we disrupt the ecosystem and make a substantial difference.

Beyond UrbanClap, the atmosphere has been encouraging.  I was at the StartupIndia event where Prime Minister Modi addressed. Though he has been following it up, it does not directly affect us. The government, having an eye on this sector is encouraging, though how much it will change and how quickly remains to be seen.

On Shifting Entrepreneurial Climate

Last year was a lot of optimism in the eco-system, a lot of us associate that with how it’s supposed to work, but that’s not always right. But it’s still very positive, what has happened is you probably see a little bit of a slowdown if at all. But I think that slowdown is a great thing because we are building valuable things. Over-enthusiasm is going to get corrected to a level which is a good thing. We have all done a lot of stuff, and now it’s time for these things to start showing results. It’s a correction for the better, from an ecosystem perspective.

On Operational Challenges

At the end of the day what matters is that it’s a transaction marketplace, we don’t just want to show information. It’s a problem that’s far way from being solved even globally. So it’s a space that’s risky but also open for anyone to take the lead and address it in their way. That is a challenge we are eager to address.

On UrbanClap’s Save Water and LGBT Campaigns

As a company, we are trying to structure the services industry, promote micro-entrepreneurship and develop it to a level where we are not just a top level vanity platform. That percolates into how we overall impact the community. We support micro-entrepreneurship. Therefore we support micro-communities as well and a better standard of living for everyone.

We keep engaging with social activities broadly because we feel closely associated with it. We are, at the end of the day, a lifestyle brand. We have done a lot of cleaning up water drives and similar activities. If we can play a small part in making the city a better habitat, why not? Now what we are doing is closely pushing our support for LGBT rights, which have received good feedback.

 Vision for the immediate future

The primary goal is to scale up and expand to the bigger metropolis; we already are in most of them. We are looking at scaling up our customer base. Certain tougher categories are operationally challenging that other service marketplaces do not venture into, we want to be bold in our execution in those segments. So it’s important to go deep enough where customers run their lifestyles from an organized platform such as UrbanClap.

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