The secret behind Urban Company becoming a household name is that it focuses on problem statements and makes it simple for everyone, said Raghav Chandra, Co-founder, and CTO, Urban Company (formerly Urban Clap) said at YourStory’s Future of Work 2021.
On day 2 of the summit on Saturday, March 6th, Raghav spoke to YourStory’s Priya Sheth, and began by walking the audience through the services world, and acknowledged that while it was a diverse, fragmented space, it was also one that was highly skilled.
He said the service industry had been dealing with some barriers like pricing, infrastructure and quality, and this is where technology helps in really pushing the boundaries. Especially during the pandemic times. “We transformed our training ecosystem to upskill partners by going remote, we taught them specific things about how to go about providing valuable services to the customers during the pandemic. This helped us drive compliance regarding safety standards – right from facial recognition to ensuring masks were on.”
When asked about the importance of predictive analysis when ascertaining consumer needs, Raghav opined that data science, ML, AI are all great buzzwords that have been popular for a while, but in effect, it boils down to simple concepts. “Essentially, machines are running the shop, they are codifying rules, so what it does is, it frees the human mind to innovate and push the buttons, and this is how technology helps.”
Adding that data science should predominantly be used for problem statements, he said people should not approach data science from the point of view of doing cool things, but just as an organic eventuality of any problem they are solving.
Speaking about product design, Raghav said that the team constantly looks for solutions for how they can ensure a partners’ businesses is captured in its entirety, and manage through its entire lifecycle.
“Product design is more than an app for us. It’s the final touch points that capture the full way in which the business operates. That’s ultimately what the partners and customers see, the root philosophy for us in product design comes back to simplicity and decision making,” said Raghav.
He reiterated that the company believes in simplifying things because there is already too much cognitive load with what every customer or any user experiences.
When asked about three mistakes he has made as an entrepreneur, he said mistakes are merely learnings, and some of the best learnings come from mistakes.
He did however have some pieces of advise for budding entrepreneurs, including – go for ideas with problem statements, don’t mix hustle with ownership, and it is a myth that metrics matter the most, as a lot of problems are not captured in data.
Emphasising it is okay to be more fundamental by actually going out and talking to consumers and understanding their pain points, he said, “just rely on your gut and conviction to figure out what needs to be done.”
Speaking about tech in the service industry, Raghav said, 20 years ago, tech was restricted to the virtual world, but in the last one decade, technology has permeated into core traditional industries like services, transportation, hospitality, housing, logistics and others. “Tech is not just a domain today. It is a way of working,” he said.
Talking about future plans, he said, “We are able to meet our standards in a certain way, and able to train thousands of our partners. We are in the process of building the largest training upskilling programme in the country, and, aim to transform our partners into micro-entrepreneurs with our fintech and lending products. And we are able to do this because we connect the dots more efficiently and leverage data to do things,” said Raghav.
He said the use of deep-tech in Urban Company is to ensure that high-quality service is provided to the customer. Citing an example, he shared how technology ensures delivery of essential products to the partners before they run out of it because advanced technology analyses consumption patterns.
Speaking about the future of work and the future of Urban Company, Raghav said the company will work towards reaching 50 million households, and become the de facto name for service in every household.
“The industry we operate in has no playbook so most of our expansion looks like we are going deeper and deeper into categories. Better pricing, and cracking selections is what we will look into further,” concluded Raghav.
A big shout-out to our Future of Work 2021 Co-presenting Sponsors Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Unique Solutions; Digital Excellence Partner Google Cloud; Associate Sponsors HP and Intel; and Sponsors Atlassian, Freight Tiger, Archon I Cohesity, TeamViewer, and Pocket Aces.