Inspiring storiesAnisha Mukhija
Inspiring stories: Taskbob looks to encash boom in hyperlocal home services market
Owing to the fragmented nature of the hyperlocal home services market and lack of transparency regarding price and quality of services offered, Taskbob, the brainchild of four IIT Bombay alumni, aims to organize it using mobile applications based technology. It, like many others in the space, have set out to solve a major pain point faced by consumers through standardized, reliable and instant home services.
Aseem Khare, Founder and CEO of Taskbob, says, “We want to be the reliable one-stop shop for on-demand home services ranging from handymen, cleaning services to chauffeur services.”
Beginnings and early days
Taskbob began when Aseem was building his earlier startup, Shaukk.com, a platform for like-minded people to connect and follow their passion. He soon realized that people in India face bigger problems affecting their day to day lives and conceptualized Taskbob. He began work on building a high quality reliable handymen services platform in October 2014 and the services went live on December 24, 2014.
Taskbob raised $1.2 million worth seed funding from Orios Venture Partners and the Mayfield Fund in April 2015. They plan to use these funds to ramp up their team, improve the product and scale to cover more locations across the city. Currently offering services in Powai, Chandivali, Vikhroli, Ghatkopar, Kanjurmarg and Marol areas of Mumbai, Taskbob aims to cover the entire city soon. Their team size is already 40 strong with 20 core team members.
Taskbob has a balanced blend of complementary skills and backgrounds in its leadership team – Aseem, who worked at Investment Banks like Lehman Brothers and Nomura before starting up Shaukk, brings the executive leadership along with entrepreneurial experience. Abhiroop, Co-founder and COO, brings operational experience from his five-year stint with McKinsey & Co. after picking up an MBA at IIM-A. Ajay Bhatt, a recent IITB graduate, brings invaluable technical experience from his previous startup stints and is heading technology while Amit Chahalia, IITB, NID, has oversight of brand and design.
On the supply side, Taskbob has a large number of servicemen on call on its platform, and is constantly expanding its roster. Their operations team does extensive lead generation on the ground to identify and on-board qualified technicians and servicemen. The technicians are evaluated with regards their ability through Taskbob’s in-house developed technical testing methods. Taskbob only enlists the top 10% of the blue-collar servicemen that they approach.
Based out of Powai, Taskbob’s plush office gives the refreshing feel of a bustling tech startup. Having hired 14 interns from the nearby IIT Bombay campus, Taskbob is one of the largest recruiters at IIT this internship season while also paying attractive summer compensation. “We want to give our interns the experience of a top tech startup while also assigning them with sizeable responsibilities within our tech-focused efforts,” says Abhiroop.
Competition in the consumer/home services space
Taskbob indirectly competes with horizontal listing services such as JustDial, Sulekha, YellowPages, Near.in; services such as Jack on Block, Hammer and Mop are in the same segment; Taskbob is directly competing with aggregators like DoorMint, UrbanClap, TimeSaverz, Mr. Right, bro4u and Zepper.
On the global scale, Amazon, Thumbtack, Handy, TaskRabbit and Alfred are in the same segment. Investors believe that there is a need to organize the consumer/home service segment which is currently disoriented and consumer services being one of the most common necessities, startups in this sector are backed by the investors.
Technology focus: How does Taskbob stand out?
Taskbob’s tech team is augmented by Ajay Bhatt, who was the tech lead at Leaf-Air technologies and Shaukk, and also includes fresh tech talent from established houses like Times Internet as well as Housing.com, which is also among India’s hottest tech startups.
While there are a few players in this space looking to capitalize on the market, Ajay believes cracking operations through smart technology would be the key. “We are developing algorithms to match the demand most optimally at all times of the day.” Taskbob is also developing an in-house “merchant app” to make the service assignment and fulfillment amongst servicemen operationally efficient, speedy, and seamless.
“We don’t want to inordinately increase the number of services on the app. We are focusing on perfection with the current offering,” says Aseem. They believe in solving the household services problem in the right manner – using smart technology and the best talent in the market. “Design has gone beyond aesthetics and now information flow and user experiences are centric to problem solving,” says Amit highlighting the brand focus on consumer experience and minimalistic design.
As per the future, Taskbob aims to expand in Mumbai first before considering inter-city expansion. Its tech team believes it will soon provide the platform where smart appliances will be communicating with their server continuously and to enable this they are looking to expand their team aggressively with smart and passionate techies. They plan to expand the tech team size to 30 within the next few months.
This segment has a few players who are looking to seize the market, and Taskbob anticipates a gold-rush much like the taxi services segment in India recently. The team feels that the ones to execute it right on the ground will take the hill. “We’re gearing up for battle,” says Abhiroop with a grin. Taskbob will be one of the many startups in this space to look out for in the near future.
Aseem goes on to reveal how they decided upon the name Taskbob, “As kids, we have all watched ‘Bob the Builder’ who spreads happiness by fixing and building homes. We display the same undying spirit. Our vision is to create happy households across India.”