A Journey Parallel to None – Entrepreneurship

Kritika Sharma updated on : 27 Apr 2016

Come and join us in mapping the journey of UrbanClap from being an idea to a brand!

Entrepreneurship is the new vogue in town! Every talented, brave, creative and skilful 20 something has mostly likely been bitten by the entrepreneurship bug. India is a raw market with a plethora of options available for these young and energetic minds to dive into. The start- up trend in India with a special inclination towards the dot-com sector is the reason why India is witnessing the sudden mushrooming of entrepreneurs. India offers a unique hunting ground for businesses and researchers alike with its diversity and vastness, which present opportunities and challenges in equal measure.

The digital space is proving to be a great residence for structuring, nurturing and expanding small ideas into great business ventures. It is a big space and is opening up new domains every day. “In the current Indian context, considering the low growth in permanent employment in the recent past, entrepreneurship can provide an invaluable boost to job generation.” said Dr. Laveesh Bhandari, Chief Economist, Indicus Analytics.

Some are born with the basic skill set needed to be an entrepreneur, the rest need polishing and can be made into one. According to Amway entrepreneurship report 2014, about 25% respondents believe that entrepreneurs are born and about 72% believe that they can be made.

HTCampus brings to you an exclusive interview with Raghav Chandra, Co-Founder of UrbanClap, mapping their journey right from the start to where they are today and the struggles in the life of entrepreneurs.

Mapping the Journey of UrbanClap

Not even a year old, UrbanClap has managed to create its brand presence in the market. Founded by Abhiraj Bahl, Varun Khaitan and Raghav Chandra in 2014, UrbanClap has climbed the success ladder at a very fast pace. Abhiraj and Varun went to college together at IIT Kanpur where they earned their B.Tech degree in Electrical Engineering, post which Abhiraj went to IIM Ahmedabad for an MBA.

Raghav spent a decade in the Silicon Valley and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. He was a software engineer with Twitter in San Francisco after which he ran an auto-rickshaw ridesharing start-up in India.

While Varun and Abhiraj were already friends, Raghav met them later and the three bonded instantly. A common aim of fixing everyday problems that exist in India is what strengthened the bond.

It all started over a casual coffee conversation, where the three of them expressed their desires to fill the loopholes that exist in the Indian system. One common issue they identified that all three of them felt strongly for the service sector.

“We wanted to work on problems that were really big and broken. Also, we wanted to work in a space that was led through technology. We thrashed out a lot of different things. We realized that services is unexplored and the most broken problem. Overall, all three of us had a natural inclination towards empowering the masses in some way,” said Raghav Chandra, UrbanClap Co-Founder.

It took them about four months of extensive primary and secondary research to ideate and plan the framework of the product, and another 30-45 days to officially launch UrbanClap. There were a lot of visits to the market and malls, as the UrbanClap founders believed in staying well connected with their consumers.

The biggest challenge according to them was to form the dream team. The process of on boarding professionals took time. One of the major tasks in a start- up is on boarding professionals who are equally enthusiastic and aggressive towards the goal of the organization.

Commenting about the kind of professionals a start-up would like to hire, Raghav said, “We don’t have a proper agenda or criteria while hiring. We don’t want a particular candidate from a particular school. All we look at is hiring hustlers who take ownership of their work.”

Few of the other challenges were, execution of the idea and modifying it into a product, creating a wow experience, building a great team and delivering on the promise that they had initially made to the consumers.

UrbanClap is focussing on expansion in terms of team size, customer base and service providers, building better products and solving deeper customer problems in the coming next year.

Having lived abroad and worked in the international market, Raghav feels that India is a lot more entrepreneurial in nature and approach. “In fact, the small towns are more entrepreneurial than the big towns as they are well accustomed to the idea of hustling, survival and are closely associated to the market.”

If you have a well worked out plan and are enthusiastic about your idea then investors won’t be an issue. Last one to two years have seen a good boom, lots of companies are getting funding. “If your idea is good and you are working for something you strongly believe in, then funding will be a cakewalk.”

Today, UrbanClap has marked its presence in four cities, Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai. It has about 250 employees and 5000+ service providers, all of it in less than a year. They raised series ‘A’ funding worth $10M and are now hustling to move towards the second round of funding. The growth is spectacular and their journey is inspirational.

Raghav concluded the interview with the following advice to the future entrepreneurs:

  • “Don’t be an Entrepreneur for the heck of being one, if you wish to sustain the tag of being an entrepreneur, identify a problem and try solving it through your idea.
  • Build a team of people who are equally enthusiastic about your goal.
  • Have a structure which is a product- market fit.
  • Think well. Research well. Plan well.
  • Be prepared. It is a lonely journey to begin with.
  • Focus on mending what is broken (identify a problem in the society) than being unique. There is a saying, ‘If your idea is so unique that no one is doing it, then maybe it is a crappy idea which no one is going to do nor has anyone been successful doing it in the past.’
  • Do you think the world is perfect? It isn’t there are lots of problems. Try mending them.
  • Communicate. Live with close to the customers, they will help you identify the problem and its solution.
  • Be patient and focus on finding a solution.
  • Be short- tempered to the problems. Be reactive.
  • India is a great market to be captured with so many problems hence so many ideas.
  • Every journey is different, learn from others but don’t ever blindly follow anyone. There is no particular recipe to build a successful start- up.“

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