Venture Highway is a VC firm launched in 2015 by Samir Sood, a former business leader from Google, and is advised by Neeraj Arora from WhatsApp. The firm has earlier invested in startups such as Deal4Loans, GingerCrush, Meesho, Moglix, Plabro and more.
“We have been on the lookout for large opportunities that are scalable and impact the masses but do so in a financially prudent manner. After evaluating BetterPlace, we are deeply impressed with the core team, their strong technology platform and their vision to leverage the trust profiles. We believe this will bridge a much-needed gap in the safety quotient of the country and are excited to be part of the BetterPlace story,” said Samir Sood.
BetterPlace was founded in 2015 by a former global head at SAP, Pravin Agarwala, and Group CEO of SIS, Uday Singh. The startup carries out background verification for new hires, with a focus on the blue-collar workers in the logistics and hyperlocal services space.
From verifying the credentials of a potential tenant, hiring a maid, to fulfilling the workforce requirements of large organisations, BetterPlace aims to provide suitable safe living resolutions for all safety concerns through its web-based service and mobile applications.
BetterPlace claims to be the first such company to create a web service that addresses the ‘trust deficit’ in any form of alliance or interaction between individuals and entities. The company aims to help in-formal and semi-formal segments of the economy to move to a segment where digital trust profiles can enable individual’s to access services such as credit, health and insurance.
Various startups like TimeSaverz, Roadrunnr, Housejoy, Commonfloor, Practo, Homigo, Zimmber, Portea, Grabhouse, G4S, CMS Info Systems have partnered with BetterPlace to provide services like stringent identification checks, antecedent/address verification and criminal/court record checks.
As said by Pravin,
“India is at a very interesting cross road where we are seeing massive migration across states, growth of the services sector to a point where it today employs more people than any other segment along with increased smartphone penetration thereby enabling the possibility of large scale digitisation. These trends enable us to continue to build trust profiles on top of the Aadhaar platform.”
In Q1 2016, the firm announced a $1 Mn seed investment from Unitus Seed Fund. This was preceded in late 2015 by an angel investment from ex-Google India Products head and the man behind Google’s Map Maker, Lalitesh Katragadda who also continues to be a Board member and technology mentor.
Will Poole, Managing Partner at Unitus commented, “BetterPlace continues to make tremendous progress on its suite of products while at the same time cementing segment-wise market leadership across areas that collectively employ 50 Mn people in an organised manner”.
To date, BetterPlace claims to have created 2 Lakh+ paid safety profiles of individuals and it aims to hit a million profiles in 2017. Its clientele emerges from sectors such as private security, facility management, last-mile fulfilment, manpower suppliers and on demand aggregators.
It is estimated that this industry is worth $1.5 Bn, of which white collar verification services take the majority share. However, the increasing urbanisation and digitisation there is a massive influx of blue collared and semi-skilled professionals entering the market in an organised manner. As demand for verification of these new segment picks up, the market size will scale exponentially.
Other companies and apps offering safety-related services as a package are KPMG, Securitas, Veri Facts, HireSafe, BeenVerified, People Spy, Janta Khoj, Onicra, Matrix India, IBC India and more.