[Startup Bharat] Sambalpur-based hyperlocal startup Homvery aims to be the Urban Company of Odisha
The demand for hyperlocal delivery is rising...and rising.
Increased internet penetration and the use of smartphones have increased the demand for online services, and startups such as Dunzo, Urban Company, and Genie are tapping the opportunity. Hyperlocal delivery services generally involve online ordering and delivery of goods and services from mom-and-pop stores.
According to media reports, the hyperlocal sector became one of the top sectors to have attracted maximum private equity and venture capitalist funding in 2018. The sector recorded $1.6 billion worth funding in 2018.
The market received a further boost this year amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, which led people online to place home-delivery orders for essentials such as medicines, groceries, and food.
Homvery, headquartered in Sambalpur, Odisha, aims to tap into the growing hyperlocal delivery market by providing home maintenance services.
Founded in 2017 by Prahllad Mittal, Rajat Kar and Ritesh Mittal, the Homvery app allows users to place demands and connects them with technical experts for home maintenance services such as renovations, repairing, plumbing, packers and movers, laundry amongst others.
Speaking to YourStory, Prahllad Mittal, Co-founder and CEO, says Homvery recorded a 2.5x increase in its revenue amid the national lockdown, adding that the home services startup expanded operations to Bhubaneshwar during that time.
Focusing on home maintenance
Speaking to YourStory, Prahllad explains that the idea came to him while he was doing his BTech course at VSSUT, Burla. After noticing that electricians and other technicians refused to take up work at their home fearing bargaining, he decided to solve the problem by launching Homvery to connect consumers and technical experts online.
The mobile application and browser allows users to select technical experts for a wide range of services such as interior decoration, plumbing, electrical appliance repairs, home sanitisation, wedding planners, and more at “best prices”. Users can fill in their requirement, date, and time for the needed service, and their contact details to book technicians (called Experts by the Homvery team).
“Initially we started Homvery in Burla, a city in Odisha, on a pilot basis with just Rs 2,000 from our pocket money,” says Rajat, Co-founder and COO of Homvery.
The co-founders reveals that the bootstrapped startup is at present operational in four cities: Sambalpur, Bhubaneswar, Jharsuguda and Burla.
“As of now, we have over 50 technicians working with us. We have completed more than 5,000 services till now with 80 percent customer retention rate,” Prahllad claims.
Prior to launching Homvery, Prahllad had launched a startup during his second year of engineering. Sambalpur-based Gift Graphite, which is a marketplace for handmade sketches, is currently operational and customers can order through their official Facebook page.
Speaking about starting up in Sambalpur, the CEO says apart from the lower costs, a smaller city also enables people to be better connected with others.
“Having headquarters in a smaller city gives you the advantage of staying connected with your customers as compared to metro cities where people hardly know each other,” Prahllad says.
Business and more
The bootstrapped startup was a part of iHUB’s accelerator programme in 2019.
Speaking about the business model, the co-founder and CEO explains that Homvery charges commission fees from technical experts on the platform.
The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a big boost for business, and Prahllad claims that Homvery’s revenue increased 2.5x times amid the lockdown. Declining to reveal further details, he says demand for several services, including cleaning, home sanitisation, and disinfection, increased six-fold.
The startup claims to have over 7,000 registered users. “We are valued at Rs 3.51 crore as of September 2020,” he says.
Prahllad reveals that the startup is now looking to raise angel investment. It also plans to expand its services to Cuttack and Rourkela by the end of this year.
In the growing hyperlocal service market, Homvery competes with several notable brands including Gurugram-based Urban Company (formerly known as Urban Clap), which provides home and beauty services on-demand.
“In the coming five years, we want to create an impact where people say ‘call Homvery’ instead of ‘call technicians’ whenever they need home maintenance services,” Prahllad says.
Edited by Teja Lele Desai