A Bengaluru startup is making relocation hassle-free
Boxes, bubble wrap, and unending checklists—relocation, especially to another city or country, is stressful, tedious, and time-consuming.
Bengaluru-basedsays it takes the pain out of relocation. The startup has built AI (artificial intelligence) and ML (Machine Learning) tools, which provide tailored services based on customer expectations and feedback.
Founded by Ajay Tiwari and Sainadh Duvvuru in 2016, HappyLocate offers employee, household goods, pet, and vehicle relocations as well as asset delivery, and warehousing services.
"I have relocated six times using my own vehicle. I was well aware of the issues consumers face with the local vendors. When we both met and started discussing issues we have been facing from consumer and corporate perspectives, that’s when we came up with the idea of HappyLocate," says Sainadh.
The startup’s first challenge was building a core team. "Getting people on board who can see the same big picture as the founders in the initial stage was difficult," Sainadh adds.
The founders initially invested Rs 50 lakh from personal savings to bootstrap the startup.
How does it work?
HappyLocate uses a marketplace model as it operates like an ecommerce platform, connecting packers and movers with consumers.
Customers can choose from a variety of vendors and quotes based on their specific needs.
"Once the consumer has selected the vendor, the operations team coordinates with the vendor and consumer throughout the entire time, making the relocation experience pleasant," says Sainadh, Co-founder and CBO, HappyLocate.
HappyLocate has a network of more than 700 verified movers and partners and services across 15,000 pin codes in India.
The startup has served over a lakh relocations so far. In FY21, it has served over 30,000 relocation requests and has about 100 corporate clients, including Diageo India, Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages (HCCB), GAP, Airbus, ABB, Wipro Ltd, and , among others.
The startup operates in Tier I and Tier II cities in India. It also has an international presence and provides services in the Middle East, Singapore, the UK, and the USA.
HappyLocate claims that 55 percent of its customers come from Tier I cities, 25 percent from Tier-II cities, and 20 percent from international markets.
HappyLocate has multiple revenue streams such as corporate service fees, vendor partner commissions, and insurance markups.
It earns a 33 percent gross margin on asset relocations—laptop, chargers, etc.—with an average ticket size of Rs 4,500 and a 27 percent gross margin on packing and moving services with an average ticket size of Rs 22,000.
The startup says its current year-on-year revenue growth is approximately 350 percent.
The platform charges between Rs 3,250 to Rs 35,000 (depending on inventory) for house shifting within the city; Rs 700 to Rs 7,000 for asset delivery; Rs 11,000 to Rs 1,00,000 for vehicle relocation; Rs 8,000 to Rs 45,000 for pet relocation; Rs 1,500 to 34,000 (depending on inventory) for warehousing; and Rs 8,900 to Rs 28,00,000 for intra-city house shifting.
Apart from relocations, HappyLocate also completes asset deliveries for corporates. Early this year, it launched housing assistance. It has around 350 regional offices in India.
“During COVID, we did our first asset delivery for Rs 750, and it became one of the profitable models during lockdowns with the least amount of damage, which was 0.04 percent. We also helped companies deliver oxygen cylinders,” says Sainadh.
HappyLocate has registered a 50 percent repeat rate from corporates. It has a team of 108 members and half of its packaging employees are women.
HappyLocate says that for 70 percent of its intra-city transportation services, it uses only eco-friendly packaging materials. "Our customers can save up to 40 percent on the overall cost by opting for reusable packaging material," says Sainadh.
Further, the startup uses CNG vehicles for 25 percent of its current relocations. By 2025, it looks forward to saving 1 lakh tonnes of paper and 800 tonnes of single-use plastic.
The startup competes with Porter, Shift Freight, Shiftkarado, and Pikkol, to name a few.
Funding and way ahead
In December 2020, HappyLocate raised Rs 4.4 crore in a pre-Series A round led by Inflection Point Ventures (IPV) to scale operations, technology up-gradation, better market penetration, and service expansion.
It expects to raise a Series A funding round by end of 2022.
The startup aims to strengthen its team across six departments: sales, HR, accounts, operations, marketing, and tech. It plans to hire over 200 employees in the next quarter. To expand its service portfolio, it plans to introduce schooling assistance.
"We want to become a one-stop platform for corporates for all their needs during employee relocation. Not just packers and movers, but also finding a house in a new city, and finding schooling assistance for the kids of their employees," says Sainadh.
HappyLocate expects to close the current fiscal year with a $10 million GTV (Gross Transaction Value).
Meet the team
Co-founder and CEO Ajay has 17 years of work experience with companies such as Nokia and Vodafone while Sainadh comes with 12 years of experience and has worked for companies like HDFC Bank.
"Back in 2015, Ajay and I were both observing the startup industry. We were talking to our other CXO friends about starting something of their own. That’s when we were introduced to each other to explore the synergy," says Sainadh.
When asked about the startup’s name, the co-founder says, "We considered many names, but Ajay was very sure he wanted a name that gave a feeling of happiness while relocating and hence HappyLocate.”
(The copy has been updated to correct the data on relocation requests and the startup's GTV estimates for the fiscal year.)