Urban Company is on the lookout for 15,000 service professionals as it wishes to tap into 50 cities by the end of this year

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Urban Company is on the lookout for 15,000 service professionals as it wishes to tap into 50 cities by the end of this year
Urban Company
  • Urban Company claims to have 40,000 service professionals on its platforms.
  • The company is also testing out new services on its platform.
  • Urban Company has its presence spread across India, Dubai, Australia, Singapore and Saudi Arabia.
On-demand home and beauty services startup Urban Company, previously known as Urban Clap, is now on the lookout for 10,000-15,000 service professionals as it plans to expand to 50 cities across India by the end of this year or early 2022. The company is also looking to add new services to its businesses.

The seven-year-old startup claims to have over 40,000 services professionals listed on its platform for beauty and home segments. Of these about 12,000 are women. The company claims to have been adding 3,000 to 5,000 partners every month as its business has witnessed an uptick during the pandemic.

Varun Khaitan, co-founder of Urban Company, told Business Insider that the service professionals onboarding grows linearly with the expansion in business. “If the business grows 2X, you sort of need to have 2X more partners,” he added.

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Khaitan emphasised that their business is currently two-fold of what it was pre-pandemic (February 2020). The company did see a dip during the second wave of COVID-19 in April-May 2021. “By October [2021] that should go to 3x of pre-COVID. That's really the big milestone that we are all moving towards,” Khaitan said.

Urban Company is on the lookout for 15,000 service professionals as it wishes to tap into 50 cities by the end of this year
BI India

Home and beauty segments contribute 50-50 to Urban Company’s revenue

Founded by Abhiraj Bhal, Raghav Chandra and Khaitan in 2014, Urban Company has its offerings spread across the home and beauty segment in India, Dubai, Australia, Singapore and Saudi Arabia. It offers home services and beauty services like hair care and skin care; spa services at home; and home-related services like cleaning, plumbing, carpentry, appliance repair, painting and more. The company claims to have added over 10,000 professionals since 2020.
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Urban Company is on the lookout for 15,000 service professionals as it wishes to tap into 50 cities by the end of this year
BI India

Khaitan added that the home and beauty segment is half-and-half of their businesses overall.

Mukund Kulashekaran, senior vice president of business at Urban Company, added that the Gurugram-based startup is also testing out several new services —- like nail art and advanced treatments like hair removal or laser hair removal — to add to its platform. It is also starting to do appliance repairs over video call, where the professional can guide a customer on how to repair certain electronics and appliances over video calls.

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He added that the men’s grooming segment, which was launched right before India announced nationwide lockdown in March 2020, has seen 150,000 transactions to date. Meanwhile, its spa business is at 200,000 deliveries. Meanwhile, it’s salon-for-women business has grown at the same pace, Kulashekaran noted.

Will Urban Company be able to sustain this growth post-pandemic?

While Urban Company may have witnessed an uptick in their demand and supply since 2020, the question remains whether it would be able to sustain it once things go back to normal and customers get more comfortable with going out.

Devendra Agrawal, founder of investment bank Dexter Capital, told Business Insider that COVID-19 has caused permanent changes in habits in several segments. While most people would have preferred salons earlier, the convenience and pricing offered by Urban Company has the potential to cause that change in habit.
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“Similarly on the supply side, earlier for stylists there won't be any option but to work in a salon on a meagre salary, but such stylists are getting their income multiplied with help of Urban Company. Whenever technology and operations come together to give great customer experience, it creates a wonderful moat. We have seen this in the case of Amazon and in India Urban Company has created that wonderful moat so the uptick is likely to stay post-pandemic as well,” he added.

Urban Company competes with Amazon-backed HouseJoy in the home category. Quikr’s ‘AtHomeDiva’ was a competitor for Urban Company in the at-home beauty services segment, but the company shut down in 2019.

Agrawal believes that any large or lucrative sector is always under threat of being penetrated by larger players. That’s what has happened in the e-commerce and groceries segments with the entry of Reliance and Tata.
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“However, the segment Urban Clap caters to, may not be easy to crack for a large player organically, which means the only option is inorganically. Unfortunately, there are not too many high quality players of scale, which are in this segment so it may actually mean that Urban Company actually becomes one large player in this segment,” he added.

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