You can say the startup bug got to Ravi Raizada while he was still a teenager, when he started coaching classes for 14 students. But what it left Ravi with was an impending desire to have a business he can call his own. Much later, in 2010, he observed that home services were neither contactable nor available, and had no standard and authenticity. This observation came right from home, where his mother faced regular trouble with something breaking down and having to engage someone for the maintenance of appliances. He wanted to address this gap.
Seva as service
Seva is an on-demand service that provides technicians for repairing home appliances. The firm is also involved in helping customers find the best buyer for used appliances and working towards finding an active solution for reducing e-waste.
For Ravi, Seva is more of a dream business, where he aspires to develop a national service brand.
“By my nature I love to help people, and thus named it Seva. We opted leaf as logo, symbolizing a tree/nature which remain in services with every bit of it.”
Unlike its competitors the platform is not an online marketplace. Rather, the startup has an active technical team of 47 across seven locations – Jaipur, Jodhpur, Delhi, Udaipur, Pune, Gurgaon and Noida.
Ravi explains: “We want to go in depth for each transaction unlike our competition which are just online marketplaces. Our other competition are local service providers who work with limited resource and scalability. Most of them are self-employed guys working with a team in a defined area. “
Charges are based on the cost of home appliances. Usually, it varies from Rs 300 onwards with added cost for replacing components.
The firm also boasts of an extended warranty service, ranging from Rs 2,999 to Rs 7,999 per year. While Rs 2,999 covers a total appliance cost of Rs 60,000, service costing Rs 7,999 can cover total appliance costs of up to Rs two lakh. During the course of the warranty, the appliances are guaranteed repairs for any kind of breakdown.
The company claims to have grown by 500 per cent in the past four years registering revenues of Rs 70 lakh in 2014-15 as opposed to Rs 14 lakh in 2011-12. It is currently serving a base of more than 13,000 customers, mostly domestic but is also gunning for bigger corporates like Vodafone, Infosys, SBI etc. According to Ravi, 40 per cent of the requests are from recurring customers. Their customer base also seems to be growing at 30 per cent every year, and the company hopes to increase it to 60 per cent moving forward.
The way forward
The firm plans to help customers buy and sell old appliances which will be backed with Seva’s warranty. This facility will be available on their mobile application which is expected to go live this week. In the next quarter the firm is also looking to foray into Gujarat while setting feet in Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Surat and Vadodara respectively.
On a long term vision, Seva also plans to address the problem of e-waste management. The founder says:
“Since we are repairing and maintaining the machines, we would be the first to identify whether the machine is usable. Moreover, customers are more likely to approach us to dump the waste available with them. The market and logistics are same, thus it would be easy for us to catch on.”
Although quite a different space with a lot of complexity and sophistication, the startup seems to be exploring different territories of buying and selling as well as e-waste management. This could be true to the cause that adding repairmen could be a slight hindrance to scalability, while it continues to be a differentiation for the startup in this space.
Also, the firm is brushing shoulders with players like HandyHome who are doing well in the space.With decent traction gained in the past years, it will be interesting to see how well the platform performs for the firm’s profitability.