TaskBob is the latest home services startup in India to land a Series A round. The Mumbai-based company has closed a $4.5 million raise that was led by IvyCap Ventures with participation from existing investors Orios and Mayfield.
With smartphone ownership rising rapidly in India, bringing more of the country’s billion-plus population online in turn, home services have emerged as a category where tech can lend a hand. What once was a wild west, has settled down somewhat with category leaders emerging.
“When we started out there were probably 150 players in home services space, [but] now the market has consolidated a lot and there are top players who have secured Series A and Series B financing,” TaskBob CEO Aseem Khare told TechCrunch in an interview.
Founded last year, TaskBob has bucked the trend of scaling fast in India by sticking to a single city — Mumbai — where it is testing its model. That’s in stark contrast to Housejoy, which raised a $23 million Series A led by Amazon in December and is currently in 11 cities, and Urbanclap, which fetched a $25 million Series B in November and operates a marketplace across five cities.
Housejoy is aiming to expand to 25 cities this year and Urbanclap has set its sights on growing to 30 cities, but Khare told TechCrunch that his company is focused on proving the economics of its model in Mumbai, after which he believes it will expand to four or five new cities within the next eighteen months.
TaskBob’s deliberate focus on unit economics and sustainable reflects a different business model to its competitors. Khare likens it to a “full stack” approach, by which he means that TaskBob aspires to tightly control the entire customer chain rather than outsource elements of it. For example, all merchants are “trained” on customer service basics and other elements of the company’s ‘service culture’. That reflects a focus on quality which, Khare said, has thus far helped TaskBob hit a repeat booking rate of 70 percent and keep 90 percent of ratings between four and five stars.
“To create a brand you need to retain consistent quality,” Khare said of the focus on quality.
So while Urbanclap operates a marketplace model — which gives it scale of 20,000 service providers across 75 categories — and Housejoy goes beyond basic services — covering tasks as diverse as electrical/appliance repairs, beauty and fitness — TaskBob is maintaining a firm focus on more standard services like cleaning, handymen and drivers. Right now, Task Bob claims 800 to 1,000 bookings per day and it plans to increase that daily figure to 10,000 over the coming 18 months.
Khare said the company is already breaking even in multiple parts of Mumbai, and he foresees that converting to profitability across the entire city over the coming year and a half.