This ex-army-officer-turned-entrepreneur throws down the gauntlet in personalised services segmentTausif Alam
Do you know that India has the second fastest growing services sector? Not only that, it also had the compound annual growth rate at nine per cent, just below China’s 10.9 per cent, between 2001 and 2012, according to the Economic Survey for 2013-14. As per the survey, in India, the growth of services-sector GDP has been higher than that of overall GDP between the period FY2001 and FY2014.
Prashant Rai, an ex-army officer-turned-entrepreneur knew nothing would be better than the services business. In 2006, he had launched his first venture Balram Corporate Services, a company which deals with comprehensive security and allied facility management, private investigation and detective services. In the same year, he launched another company called Fire Prevent System, which deals with fire and safety gadgets.
After spending almost a decade in the services business, Prashant planned to expand into other segments as well. In August 2015, he rolled out a new business platform called Onetimejobs, a Bengaluru-based resources aggregator which provides personalised services.
The portal offer solutions for all kinds of everyday needs. Its wide range of services encompass civil engineering works, event guarding services, fire/security audits, advocate and legal services, home/office automation, events organisation, background verification, electrical, plumbing and many more services. It provides over 70 services and is planning to cross 100 in the next two months.
Within just a few months of its launch, it claims to have over 5,200 service providers registered on its platform and fulfilling user requirements of almost 50 to 80 clients on a daily basis.
“We aim at reducing the time spent on running errands or finding the right resources for routine odd jobs. We are here to provide complete solution to the market unlike others. I have spent almost a decade in the services business before Onetimejobs. I understand the market well and this platform will soon emerge as a leader in the segment,” says Prashant, 38, Founder and CEO, Onetimejobs.
The platform is completely bootstrapped with around Rs 1.2 crore spent till date on building the platform, promotions and expansion into other major cities like Delhi, Bengaluru, Pune, Gurgaon and Mumbai.
Prashant adds that the platform lays special emphasis on the quality, promptness, reliability and integrity of its service providers. To this end, its service staff’s background is diligently verified. To ensure a speedy response, the portal mobilises its support staff to get in touch with the customer as soon as their complaint is recorded. After seeking an appointment, a survey or inspection is carried out to determine if the work can be done at one-go or over multiple visits. Post this, the labour charge, material cost and service fees are agreed upon. Once the assigned task is accomplished, Onetimejobs.com also reviews performance.
Coping up in competitive market
In the $800-billion services sector economy, platforms are vying to capture the market and establish their monopoly.
There are already scores of known platforms in this segment and the number is still rising. Taskbob, Urbanclap, Doormint, Housejoy, Timesaverz and many other similar platforms are operating in the services segment.
In November 2015, UrbanClap raised $25-million Series B funding from Bessemer, SAIF, and Accel Partners. In August, Mumbai-based Doormint raised $ three-million funding led by Helion Ventures and Kalaari Capital. In December 2015, Amazon invested Rs 150 crore in Housejoy. In November, Taskbob acquired Bengaluru-based Zepper, which offers services similar to Taskbob.
When asked if Onetimejobs' entry into the space is a bit delayed as the sector has already started witnessing consolidation, Prashant says that he is not an aggregator as such and that he has many service providers on roll. His team is resourceful at giving real information about the market and it’s not based on “imaginative escalated numbers”.
He adds that he is looking forward to raising funding in the next two months and is in talks with VCs as well. “By the end of 2016, we’ll be offering our services in 20 cities in the country. We will go to smaller cities as well, which have been immensely neglected so far,” Prashant adds.
The company’s aim is to expand into 100 cities and become a Rs 1,000-crore venture by bringing in one lakh service providers over the next three years. It hopes to become the largest and the most efficient supplier of services in the country. To achieve this, it will seek strategic tie-ups and associations with venture capitalists, NSDC Ministry, Security Skill Development Council of India and companies all over the globe.
“Our mission is to make Onetimejobs.com the Amazon/Flipkart equivalent in the personalised services domain,” adds Prashant.