Are you too busy to bother about your daily chores? Mumbai based startup Chachii comes to your rescue! We at YourStory.in caught up with entrepreneur Tanvi Surti to know more about her exciting venture for Urban Indians.Edited Excerpts:
Tanvi, share with us the series of events that led to the creation of Chachii.com
My co-founder Nikhil and I met while working at the Microsoft Headquarters in Redmond, Washington. Over time, we became good friends, sharing passions from everything ranging from Bollywood to technology. During a casual dinner table conversation one day, we discussed one of urban India’s greatest pain points - Labour. Unlike the States, labour is still very cheap in India, yet this marketplace was so disorganized that it was impossible to find the right people when you really needed them. While labourers in India were willing to put in the work, they are unable to reach the right clientele. Nikhil and I hypothesized that it was possible to build an online platform which resolves this problem; an online platform which simplifies the process of hiring of trustworthy labour and removes practices such as tardiness, unprofessionalism and bargaining from the equation. And, that was how Chachii came to life.
Tell us in detail about how the entire process works at Chachii.
We take pride in having the simplest process possible for a user to interact with our website. Users can submit a task in one of three ways: calling us to place a task, sending an SMS to receive an immediate call back, or by directly registering on our website. The user then supplies details about their task, including a budget and timeline. Chachii uses an innovative recommendation engine system to suggest and locate the appropriate registered service providers that are available nearby. All of these candidates receive a call or SMS, and they have the option to bid on the task at hand. Once we choose the best service provider who is available in the user’s locality based on a variety of factors, we call the user back, usually within an hour, to provide details about the service provider. The user pays once the task is complete, and he then rates the service provider online, providing valuable information for future tasks.
Very interesting. Tell us a bit about your prior work experience.
I have a Computer Science degree from Bryn Mawr College (Philadelphia, PA, US). I worked at Infosys in Bangalore for a while and then as a program manager with Microsoft in the US. I am passionate about Web 2.0 entrepreneurial efforts because I see great potential in social platforms that connect and inform India’s masses. It is my belief in this potential which brought me back to India to work on Chachii.com. While I believe that Chachii.com is a very lucrative venture, I am most passionate about using Chachii to make a positive impact on the lives of labourers in urban India.
Nikhil grew up as the son of Indian immigrants in the heart of southern United States. As a South Asian in Huntsville, Tennessee, his life has been a pastiche of contradictory cultures and this has been the greatest contributing factor to his personal growth. He has a degree in Computer Engineering and Economics from Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN, US) where he participated in everything ranging from the campus Geek life to the annual Diwali events. He has experience working as a developer and program manager at NASA and Microsoft. Nikhil is at Chachii.com because it is the unique combination of his Indian background and American upbringing.
How many service providers are listed in your database as of now?
We now have over 300 service providers that are allocated to available tasks and have successfully served at least one task via Chachii.
How do you reach out to newer service providers? Do they have to pay a fee to get listed as Chachii’s service providers?
Chachii was born with the interests of labourers in mind, and we have made every effort to avoid any fee for the labourers, so they are currently able to list for free. We have a labour recruitment process in place which is headed by a core team member who cultivates contacts, verifies the authenticity and quality of the workers and then lists them in our database. We are also working on a social network of sorts for service providers that we think is going to be a great success in the industry.
How many users have signed up in last two months since the launch?
We have had approximately 500 users signed up in the last 2 months.
How has the feedback been from early adopters? Can you tell us a bit about the demography of users?Users are generally in the age group of 25 to 45, and are both men and women. Our patrons are mostly all working professionals, hailing from a diversified industry background. They are all, without fail, very excited to try out our service, and many are repeat consumers. We have never asked for testimonials from our users, but have received lots, voluntarily. Users have expressed delight with the efficient and prompt service and they have also commended us on the professionalism with which we conduct the chores. We have had a few hiccups, but our policy is to never hide those, and we immediately offer a compensation or a free task to any dissatisfied user.
Where do you plan to expand next?
Our focus right now is to completely cover and expertly handle Mumbai. Once that is done, our next step of action is to move to the other metropolitan cities of India. Bangalore, and Delhi because of the high number of working professionals, are extremely lucrative for us. In fact, we have had quite a few enthusiasts from these two cities asking for us to expand there.
How do you make money?
We plan to implement the broker model to collect revenues by charging the user a certain fee or percentage for every task placed.
Are you planning to go mobile with your services anytime soon?
We realize that in our country, the easiest way of communication through phone, so in terms of mobile availability of submitting tasks, we are already doing that. We have two call center numbers where we receive any tasks and chores that come in, and we are also hard at work on both a mobile site and an SMS platform to submit tasks.
What are the challenges you faced while bringing the service providers on board?
Most of the challenges that we have faced exemplify the reason we are trying to revolutionize the service industry. We’ve confirmed that while many service providers are extremely skilled at what they do, a large percentage are also uneducated, unreliable, and have very little presence on mobile or web. We have discovered that the key to success here is carefully finding service providers that work well with our business model and then making every effort possible to maintain that relationship.
Are there other players doing similar things? How are you different from them?
We have come across www.alaconcierge.com which does something like this but for mostly corporates. There is also another service called bighelp.in which basically provide consumers with personal secretaries and justdial.com which simply lists service providers. Then there is babajob.com which helps people find permanent labour. But we are the first company in India which takes this unique spin on chore completion.
Is there anything else that you want to share with our readers?
Three months after launch, Chachii is still in its infancy, but it is growing fast. Our team now consists of 5 people and we are fulfilling upwards of fifty tasks a week. We are in talks with various angel investors looking to help scale this venture.
Please visit http://www.chachii.com/ for further details. It would be exciting for us to see how Chachii scales maintaining the standard quality of service.
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