Tiger Global Management and Lightspeed Venture Partners has funded $5 millon on a venture called LocalOye which has pivoted into providing complete local services, which originally was a venue booking service for parties and weddings. We came face to face with the company back in 2011 when it was just set up bu Aditya Rao and Anupam Tulsiyan.
How it all began.
After graduating from BITS Pilani, Aditya Rao joined Mercedes Benz which he left in two months and set up a company an the CRM space. After his kickstart, he made his mind to join Jombay and served them for two and a half years. Then he left Jombay, and estabilished LocalOye, a venue booking service, along with his comrade Anupam. The service gradually stretched its branches into catering and then into services. Aditya says,“We were always passionate about the Local Services space since we believe that the current experience of booking services is very tedious and cumbersome. The only way to book services is through classifieds where the customer needs to spend time doing research to find the best service provider. Although we initially focused on venues, we soon realized that venues were only one area which needed to be solved. “Operating in Mumbai, LocalOye offers service in 250+ categories, spanning from education( eg. tutors), home services(e.g appliance repairs), wellness(eg yoga,fitness) to event(e.g photograpers) etc.
When required, a user can access their website or thier Android app. It uses an advanced recomendation engine which connects its customers to high-quality service professionals within a blink of an eye. First the requrements are posted and the vendors are notified. They sent the user the details of the budget, location timing etc. After the service provider seals the deal, LocalOye connects both sides of the rope. This makes the job for the consumer easier.
The consumer and the vendor does not have to spend a single penny on the startup. A pre-paid wallet is provided to the vendors and the money reduces only when they get connected to customers. Its amost replicates a commision-based model. This model saves the consumer from the dillama of chosing and gets them connected to the best providers.
The vendor gets the freedom to work with who he wants to instead of every other lead heading towards them. Aditya says” “We are also very useful to our merchants since we give them 50x better conversion rates. This is because they have control over the kind of customers they would like to work with. Our merchants can decide if a lead is valuable to them based on the customer’s requirement which helps them convert the customers with more ease compared to other competitors and they also have the option to reject the leads which are not relevant.” The LocalOye team screens and personally verifies every service professional to gurantiee quality, assurance and fair pricing. Funding.
Big shots like Siddharth Rao(Co-Founder Webchutney), Haresh Chawla (ex- Group CEO Network 18 and India Value Fund partner), and Sachin Bhatia (co-founder make my trip) invested on LocalOye in its initial seed round in 2014.
LocalOye will be benefited by the $5mil funding to grow. About the fund raise Aditya says” “People spend money on two things – buying products or services. We want to completely own the services space. Over the past 1.5 years, we have solved some of the toughest local services problems, and now it is time to exponentially build on this momentum by continuing our focus on great execution, merchant quality and customer delight.” LocalOye would spend big on gathering the team and technology in the next few months. For the time being they claim to have an excess of 3000 vendors in above 250 categories in Mumbai. They are trying to stretch their arms in other cities. JustDial is the big dog in the game but they are not the same because they prioritize listing on their platform. Rest of the players have similar models in place. Let time decide how long these models will work. But Aditya confidently ends it by saying “We do not want to build another classifieds company. The LocalOye platform is highly interactive and data driven; and this is what makes our engine smarter every day. And we have also seen a huge demand from service professionals for better tools to manage their business.