Along with virtual reality, Facebook Live and other in-house projects, Facebook is now venturing into the hyperlocal services segment in India. The social networking giant has introduced the services rather discreetly into the market. One can now look for spas, pet services, and even event planners on the page. This step marks the move of Facebook into an already crowded segment, with other players like UrbanClap, Quikr and Housejoy.
The current services include plumber, medical and health, arts and marketing, automotive(repair), business services, personal care(spas) and pet care among several others. Apart from browsing for the services, the Facebook services page also provides reviews and ratings of the services provided. The customer can thus find businesses and organisations based on the ratings. The bookings however cannot be made via the page, the user is directed to a website, email id or phone number. Hence, the monetisation plans for Facebook services are still not clear.
In November last year, UrbanClap had raised a Series B funding of $25 million. They claimed to serve over 5000 customer requests in a day and had built a base of over 20,000 service professionals.
“Today, UrbanClap sends them business worth US $200 million annually (current run rate), from small carpentry jobs worth Rs 200 to large interior designing assignments worth several lakhs. With this round of funding, we are well positioned to build a large company that Indians will love which will make their everyday lives easier,” the team had quoted.
There are believed to be over 132 home services companies and over 530 local service companies that are said to have raised close to $180 million in funding. The space has already attracted major investors like IDG, Tiger Global, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Saif, Accel and Bessemer Venture Partners.
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.
LocalOye had raised $5 million from Tiger Global and Lightspeed Venture Partners in April this year. Taskbob recently acquired Zepper and had earlier raised $1.2 million funding from Orios, Mayfield and others, Doormint raised $3M led by Helion Ventures and Kalaari Capital in August 2015, while Timesaverz had raised an angel investment in October 2014.
World's largest social media network already has over two million small and medium businesses on its platform and Facebook Services launch can further intensify the competition in the hyperlocal segment.
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