If one sees a group of enthusiastic students peering over their computers late in the night, they’re likely to be fighting a deadline regarding a project. But if the college happens to be IIT-Bombay, it is probably a startup (which is also a project) but being executed in the real world. Housing.com has been in the news for a lot of reasons, a young startup, raising more than a $100 million in capital. One of its co-founders, Advitiya Sharma is mentoring the startup in question. Step in HandyHome (how IIT Bombay is spawning the startup culture in Powai Valley).
Founded by six IIT-Bombay graduates, HandyHome lets users book brand-authorized repairs and other services for electronic appliances online. The company started early in 2015 and is already showing impressive signs of growth. The company is catering to over 100 households every day at the moment. So, how does this work?
Consider a scenario where your air conditioner is not working and taking into account that it is summer in most of India, the scenario isn’t very comfortable. Next, you’d be running to the nearest ‘repair shop’ or start calling the toll-free numbers listed for that appliance. The first solution is not a reliable one and the latter is your best bet but getting through to an authorized service centre can be quite a task. This is where HandyHome comes in. The startup works with brands. They own the communication layer between the customer and the brand and improve the after sales service for a brand.
“After sales service is a huge problem in India. The brands are very conscious of what happens till a sale is made but after that, the customer is to himself/herself,” says Harmin Shah, one of the co-founders. Besides Harmin, there are five other co-founders and the team size has grown to over 25 in Mumbai. The service is operational in Mumbai and HandyHome is taking calls for the entire country. There are two kinds of repair services for electronic appliances- one where the customer has to go to the repair centre and the other where the brand sends a technician over to the customer’s house. HandyHome is currently tackling the latter.
HandyHome has an app via which customers are connected to the brand for all servicing needs like repairs, maintenance, installation and demo. Brands like LG, Samsung, Videocon, Godrej, Onida, etc. are already onboard and they intend to add over 100 brands soon. HandyHome also stores receipts, appliance numbers, etc for a user and intends to be the appliance manager app. “The response in the first few months has been very encouraging and the investors also seem to like the scalable model we’re working on,” says Harmin. Being from IIT-Bombay, closing an angel round isn’t very hard. “We’re likely to give some good news in a couple of weeks,” adds Harmin.
Is there a revenue model? Yes, HandyHome gets a commission from the brand. And it’s not just the communication layer, HandyHome promises to offer many more insights to brands and manufacturers once the service gets going. For the end user, it’s free.
The app is well designed and fairly simple to use. One needs to sign in, add a device, add details about the device and a technician can be hauled over for a service. HandyHome communication channels are open 24*7. The model that HandyHome has adopted is interestingly very much like that of Akosha and Haptik. While these companies are a messaging app for users to connect with brands (and more), HandyHome is not a messaging app but an app for customer service that helps brands. They are also on the turf of Doormint (an on demand professional consumer service platform) and TimeSaverz yet retain their own niche. HandyHome is at a crucial juncture boasting a very legit revenue model and one that will no doubt pan out over time if and as the brands find value.
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