Mumbai based home services startup, Taskbob, run by Crenovative Ideas Pvt. Ltd announced on Monday that it had secured Rs 28 crore ($4.5 million) in a Series A round of funding. The funding was led by IvyCap Ventures with participation from existing investors, Orios and Mayfield. The funding will help Taskbob boost its growth and increase its foothold in the hyperlocal services sector.
Taskbob, a one-year-old startup was founded by Aseem Khare, Abhiroop Medhekar, Ajay Bhatt and Amit Chahalia - who are alumni of IIT Bombay and IIM Ahmedabad (ex-Nomura, ex-McKinsey). Taskbob currently has team of about 80 employees and close to 300 service professionals on their platform. Abhiroop, COO, added, "We are selective in who we choose and evaluated around 2500 professionals to handpick the top 10-15 per cent." The startup provides pre-screened service experts across a range of home services like cleaning, handymen services and drivers. They have recently added two more services - maids on demand and ‘at-home salon services’ under the brand-name Myrra.
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Taskbob had also recently acquired its competitor, Bengaluru based Zepper.in and claims to have around one lakh users in Mumbai. With around 800 to 1,000 bookings a day, the startup estimates that it has a fulfilment rate of over 80 per cent , with 90 per cent of their customers rating them four or five stars. Driven by a high repeat booking rate of 70 per cent and word of mouth, Taskbob says it has already broken even in multiple localities in Mumbai. Aseem, CEO of Taskbob said,
Fulfilment, not discovery, is the real problem in India's local services space. With this in mind, we have been more focused on supply and fulfilment issues rather than plain demand aggregation. Our goal has always been to build a service that provides quality and is trustworthy.
Keeping the customers' pain points in mind, Taskbob hires its servicemen through a recruitment process that consists of skill testing and psychometric tests. Once hired, they undergo training for vocational skills, customer delight, technology, processes and soft skills.
Like all service oriented companies, Taskbob faced its fair share of last mile issues. To solve for that, they focused on data collection, analytics and automation to minimise manual intervention at every step.
The Series A funding will help Taskbob in selectively expanding its presence in multiple markets, focus on product growth and innovation and evaluate strategic acquisition opportunities. Over the next 18 months, Taskbob plans to scale to 10,000 orders per day and achieve profitability at a unit level in Mumbai.
As a part of the deal, Norbert Fernandes, Co-Founder and Principal at IvyCap, will be joining the board of Crenovative Ideas Pvt. Ltd. Vikram Gupta, Founder and Managing Partner of IvyCap Ventures considers home services to be a very large market and believes that IvyCap can add significant value to Taskbob through their network. He said,
It helps that several macro factors that have converged today that make this(home services) business attractive – be it a highly mobile busy urban demographic that is the initial target market, or the increasing uberisation of services in a mobile first world, or even the increasing comfort level with online transactions in general. All this, coupled with Taskbob’s team strengths and capabilities, have been continuously reflected in the company’s growth in the past year, and we are excited to partner with them in the next phase of this journey.
The local and home services market in India has an estimated market size of about $50 billion and is growing. With an estimated 5,000 transactions a day and backing ($25M Series B) from investors Bessemer, SAIF Partners, Accel Partners and Ratan Tata, UrbanClap is among the leaders. In the recent past, Amazon-backed Housejoy acquired two startups - MyWash and Orobind - to strengthen its arsenal.
Other startups operating in the same segment are Doormint, LocalOye, Zimmber, Taskbob, UrbanPro, TimeSaverz, Mr. Right and TheMakeoverz. Listing portals such as JustDial, Sulekha, YellowPages, Near.in; and providers such as Jack on Block, Hammer and Mop (which recently merged with Mr. Homecare) also operate in the same segment indirectly. Then there are niche players like Bookmybai, who are focussing on professional maid hiring services.
Industry giants, Flipkart and Quikr too have shown interest in this sector. According to YourStory sources they are in talks to acquire LocalOye. It is interesting to note that Flipkart, Quikr and LocalOye have Tiger Global as a common investor. In another recent report, Quikr spoke about its plans to invest Rs 250 crore in the home services space to complement its existing services like QuikrHomes.
The on-demand home services sector has seen a lot activity from investors. There will likely be many more mergers and acquisitions in this space as the top players jostle for market share and look to expand their footprint into more territories. Currently focused on only the metro cities, it will be interesting to see if any players try to go after Tier-II cities to gain the first mover advantage.