Household Services Market Urban Company announced Wednesday that it raised $ 255 million in a new round of funding and confirmed a valuation of $ 2.1 billion, joining over a dozen other startups in India that have have achieved unicorn status this year.
The new round of funding – a Series F – was led by Prosus Ventures, Dragoneer and Wellington Management, while Vy Capital, Tiger Global and Steadview participated. The Gurgaon-based startup said * the new round includes a primary capital infusion of $ 188 million, while the remainder is a secondary sale by some angels and other early investors. The startup has raised around $ 470 million so far.
Formerly known as UrbanClap, the seven-year-old startup offers a range of home services on its platform. Does your air conditioner need maintenance? Is the TV not working? The house needs a fresh coat of paint? Problems with the plumbing installation? Would you like to be cleaned and disinfected? How about a haircut in a location of your choice?
These are just some of the services Urban Company offers its customers who can place an order through the startup’s app or website and choose a good time and place.
The idea of the startup comes from its three co-founders, who are in their early 20s wondering why no one else tried to break into the industry, which is still largely disorganized, said Raghav Chandra, founder of Urban Company, in an interview with TechCrunch.
What started as an idea is now a unicorn. The startup now operates in 35 cities in India, Singapore, Australia, the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. More than 35,000 service partners are active on the platform, said Chandra, who acts as Urban Company’s chief technology officer.
“Urban Company is disrupting a large, fragmented industry that has seen little digital adoption so far,” said Ashutosh Sharma, Head of Investment for India at Prosus Ventures.
With its technology-based platform and strong focus on providing high quality, trained service partners, Urban Company is able to solve the very difficult task of producing services. In addition, the initial traction with international expansion in well-known regions is encouraging and offers the opportunity for significant growth in the future, ”he added.
The startup’s rapid growth was abruptly halted last year after New Delhi imposed a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Chandra said the startup bounced back last year after the nation reopened and had its best month to date in March of this year.
Chandra said the startup will use the fresh capital to continue expanding in the markets it operates in and work on ways to improve the onboarding, training and safety of service staff on the platform. The company also wants to expand its technology team.
Urban Company spends weeks training and educating the workers who join its platform, Chandra said. The startup now also enables employees with expertise in one category to find out more about other categories, increasing their chances of getting more work and earning more. Chandra said offering continuing education courses to workers will remain a key area as the startup expands.
* The startup announced the new fundraiser in April in a filing with the local regulator, but co-founder and CEO Abhiraj Singh Bhal declined to comment, citing the rising coronavirus cases in the country.