Quikr is stepping up the heat in India’s home services market, where the mobile and online classifieds company is planning to invest Rs 250 crore as it looks to emerge the largest player in the space.
It plans to spend this money on product development — this will include technology and in-house supply — as well as marketing and for strategic investments in startups.
“We have grown this business organically till now as we already have a lot of transacting users, so we don’t need to spend as much on customer acquisition,” said PD Sundar, who was roped in last year to lead the services vertical, QuikrServices. According to him, a customer renting a house through Quikr can book cleaning or repair services on the platform itself, as it builds synergies with other verticals like QuikrHomes. Quikr raised $300 million (.Rs 1,985 crore at current exchange rate) over the past two years and counts Tiger Global, Matrix Partners, Warburg Pincus and Kinnevik as major shareholders. It competes with players like Amazon-backed Housejoy, UrbanClap and Sulekha in this space.
Startups say they aren’t worried about Quikr’s entry. “They may have deep pockets, but the market is large and entry of new players helps in spreading more awareness. We will be able to compete well in this and identify unique differentiators for customers,” said Saran Chatterjee, chief executive of Housejoy, which is fulfilling over 4,000 requests a day. Rival UrbanClap said in November that it handled 5,000 requests each day. Quikr plans to take a dual strategy, where for some services it will work directly with providers while for some it will work with startups. “In some cases, we are building in-house capacity where we want to control quality and make sure we have tied up with right service providers, especially in areas where there is a frequent use case,” said Sundar, adding that it will invest in training and verification in categories like plumbers, electricians and house cleaners. There are 50 categories in the services space for Quikr. The company said it has 250,000 service providers on the platform now and it is being used by 50,000 customers every day for queries.
Its aggressive move into the home services space, where half a dozen venture capital-backed startups are already competing, is part of the Bengaluru-based company’s verticalisation strategy for segments like real estate, automobiles.