The post was originally published in Russian on Startup of the Day. Alexander kindly agreed to republish what we think is of great value to our readers.
UrbanClap, the Indian startup of the day, is something of an InDriver for minor works.
The user chooses a service in the app – to fix a pipe or count the taxes, answers about five clarifying questions: where, when, how bad is it, immediately gets a price, and enters card details. Before the payment is made, the interface hints that the price is final and all you need to do is sit and wait for your worker. UrbanClap even shows the increased demand index: it’s more expensive at 9 pm than at 7.
In reality, a request is not an order but a reason for a conversation. Interested workers will contact you via the in-built messenger, ask clarifying questions, and offer their conditions, including the price that they can change however they want. The number shown by the startup is merely a reference point and isn’t set in stone. The client corresponds with several workers and picks one, and then the work commences.
The worker pays for the contact with the client, and quite much at that. The price gets calculated by the order details, there are no regular numbers. The promo video briefly reveals the price of 500 rupees (roughly 6 dollars), and the interface doesn’t allow less than 10. UrbanClap insists that one request gets 3-5 candidate workers, a successful order with better professions costs a couple of thousands, and the cheapest works may cost fifty. To contrast, the recommended price for a plumber’s service ‘look and don’t do anything’ costs 129 rupees. The startup takes 40%!
They insist that all workers go through offline checks and tests, and those with an average rating under 4 get expelled from the system. However, there is no way to validate either of these statements, the startup may be lying. The client has to share their card in advance, all the payment goes through the service, which greenlights coupons and other promotional stuff. UrbanClap even gives a warranty for the services!
The project is only four years old, it spent USD 60M of investments and brought in another 50M at the valuation of almost 500M in its recent round. It promises to enter smaller cities, it only works in India’s 10 biggest cities and Dubai so far. There are so many Indian plumbers there that UrbanClab doesn’t consider it foreign. It is an exaggeration, but only a little, the founders say pretty much the same thing in their interviews.
This is a rerun from 2019. The company is doing very well, it was worth over USD 2B already, following its latest round. The second most active country after its native India is the USA. Similarweb shows 4% of the overall audience there, it must be significantly more in terms of revenue. Also, it is now Urban Company and no longer UrbanClap.
Translation: Kostiantyn Tupikov
Alexander made his career in Russian internet companies including Mail.Ru, Rambler, RBC. From 2016 to 2018 he was Chief Strategy and Analytics officer in Mail.Ru Group. In this position, he worked on M&A, investments, and new project launches. In 2018 he became Deputy CEO in Citymobil, a Russian Uber-like company that was invested by Mail.Ru Group and Sberbank (the biggest Russian bank), then he left the company to launch his own projects. Now Alexander is a co-founder of United Investors – the platform for co-investments in Russian early-stage startups. His blog #startupoftheday (#стартапдня) is one of the most popular blogs about startups in Russia.