Home services marketplace Urban Company said on Wednesday it has raised $255 million in a new financing round and confirmed a valuation of $2.1 billion, joining over a dozen other startups in India that have earned the unicorn status this year.
The new financing round -- a Series F -- was led by Prosus Ventures, Dragoneer and Wellington Management, while Vy Capital, Tiger Global and Steadview participated in it. The Gurgaon-headquartered startup said* the new round features a primary capital infusion of $188 million while the rest is a secondary sale by some angel and other early investors. The startup has raised about $470 million to date.
Formerly known as UrbanClap, the seven-year-old startup offers a range of home services on its platform. Does your AC need maintenance work? Is the TV not working? The house needs a fresh coat of paint? Plumbing issues? Need your toilet cleaned and disinfected? How about a haircut done at a place of your choosing?
These are just some of the services Urban Company offers to its customers, who can place an order using the startup’s app or the website and pick a good time and venue.
The idea of the startup came from its three co-founders, who in their early 20s were puzzled why nobody else was trying to take a stab at the industry, which remains largely unorganized, said Raghav Chandra, a founder of Urban Company, in an interview with TechCrunch.
What started as an idea is now a unicorn. The startup today operates in 35 cities in India, Singapore, Australia, the UAE and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. More than 35,000 service partners are active on the platform, said Chandra, who serves as Urban Company’s chief technology officer.
“Urban Company is disrupting a large, fragmented industry that has seen low digital adoption until now,” said Ashutosh Sharma, head of investment for India at Prosus Ventures.
Through their technology-enabled platform and keen focus on providing high-quality, trained service partners, Urban Company has been able to achieve the very difficult task of productizing services. "In addition, the initial traction with international expansion in geographies we know well is encouraging and presents an opportunity for significant growth into the future,” he added.
The startup's fast-growth was abruptly punctuated last year after New Delhi enforced a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Chandra said the startup began seeing recovery last year after the nation started to open up again and had its best month to date in March this year.
Chandra said the startup will deploy the fresh capital to further expand in the markets where it operates and work on ways to supercharge onboarding, training and safety of service workers on the platform. It is also looking to expand its technology team. The startup plans to file for an IPO within the next 24 months, it said.
Urban Company spends weeks on training and upskilling the workers that join its platform, said Chandra. The startup today also enables workers with expertise in one category to learn about other categories, hence increasing their odds of getting more work and earning more. Chandra said offering upskilling courses to the workers will remain one of the key areas as the startup expands.
*The startup had disclosed the new fundraise in a filing with a local regulator in April, but co-founder and chief executive Abhiraj Singh Bhal declined to comment at the time, citing the rising coronavirus cases in the country.