NCR-based hyperlocal online marketplace for service providers, FindYahan, now has The Times Group’s Brand Capital as its investor, confirms founder Rachit Mathur.
The financial terms of the deal has been left undisclosed. The funds raised will be primarily used for marketing.
Founded in 2013 by Rachit Mathur and Snehil Khanor, FindYahan offers a location-based discovery platform that connects skilled individuals and home businesses to their target customers. The startup, however, was officially launched at a Websummit in Dublin on November 13, 2013.
On its platform, service providers can list their offered services and skills and customers can request services including domestic help, car care, educational and tutoring, laundry, home maintenance and food, among others. Customers can choose from the list of service providers and hire the best.
Prior to this investment from Times Group, FindYahan has raised two more rounds, its seed funding round was led by Karan Bajwa (MD Microsoft India), Sunjay Kapur (MD Sona Koyo Steering), Amanpreet Bajaj (India Head of Airbnb) and Parvesh Kumar (MD of Helios Packaging). Later, it had closed an investment from The Phoenix Fund in April, this year.
In April, the company had over 100,000 users, 4000 service providers and crossed over 50K downloads on Google Play Store. According to Snehil, currently FindYahan has 4 Lakh users, 10K+ service providers and have witnessed over 2 lakh app installs.
Currently operational in 7 cities, the startup plans to expand its presence in 5 more cities by the year end.
The company has also developed a recommendation engine, which helps in providing quality service provider to its users. It asks users 6 to 7 questions specific to their service requests and then finds the best-suited service provider for the job, who is available within the user’s budget and the preferred time slot.
If a user does not like the recommended service provider, then the startup offers the next best suitable option. The service providers are rated based on their professional (experience and kind of clients they are working with), trust (based on background verification checks done by the company) and social (how active they are on social media/ blog/ website) scores.
The startups operating in the hyperlocal service marketplace space have garnered the attention of many investors. According to startup industry tracker Tracxn, the home services industry in India is growing rapidly with about 69 startups founded in 2014 alone. The sector includes players like HouseJoy, Zimmber, taskbob, Mr. Right, Urbanpro and Urbanclap, among others.
Hyperlocal Delivery Startups Goes Hypo
Although, the hyperlocal services market is in the hyperdrive mode, fuelled by all the available funds, a large number of hyperlocal delivery startups seems to be running on fumes – some have even crashed and burned.
In October this year, online grocer LocalBanya temporarily suspended its operations stating reasons that it’s undergoing technological and service upgradation. TOI, however, reported that it has already laid-off many of its employees and is planning to pivot its business model. The startup is facing shortage of funds and is even losing out on its employees due to its inability to pay salaries.
Bangalore-based Dazo, Delhi-based Langhar and Chennai-based Ordersnack have all faced similar fates in recent times. Sachin Bansal and Saif Partners backed SpoonJoy has also suspended its operations in Delhi and some parts of Bangalore and is said to be in acquisition talks with Grofers.
Hyperlocal delivery and food-tech startups operate in highly competitive and crowded space on low margins – this can be a recipe for disaster. As this space gets crowded, most of these startups burn through investor money fast for customer acquisition, brand-building and market share. The question is, will the hyperlocal home service startups fight through these issues and come up with a sustainable business model. Will they prove to be an exception? Let’s wait and watch!