For people living in big cities, access to home and personal services is not an issue. All one has to do is open an app and book the service needed. However, it is not so easy in Tier II and III cities.
Especially during the pandemic, people in smaller cities found it hard to access essential services. Service providers too faced hardships as they were unable to find jobs to sustain themselves and their families. To address these issues, three childhood friends Sidharth Kulbhaskar, Amit Kulchand, and Amit Shanker, started My Life Assistant (‘Myla’ for short), a professional services platform, in 2021, in Dehradun.
Myla offers a digital platform that connects people with professionals who provide home services such as cleaning, repair and pest control, beauty services, and online consultancy services such as tax consultancy and dietician and nutritional services. The platform also provides video consultancy with doctors and physiotherapists and yoga and dance classes.
“During the pandemic, Myla helped many service providers and vendors who were suffering due to lack of work. Customers were also able to get essential services, as we were able to strike a balance between safety and service,” says Siddharth, Co-founder and Director,.
Myla is currently a web-based platform. The startup is also planning a mobile app.
The Myla digital platform
Focus on Tier II and III markets
The platform is solely available for residents of Tier II and Tier III cities, where professional services is a relatively unorganised market. The startup, which is registered in Delhi, caters to 22 cities including Indore, Gwalior, Bhubaneshwar, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Meerut, Jabalpur, and Kanpur.
The founders of Myla want to bring technology and organisation into the services sector of Tier II and III cities with on-demand household and other professional services.
“The aim is to provide a digital platform where small-scale service providers can easily connect with potential clients. Myla is a bridge between skilled vendors and the end consumer,” says Siddharth.
The Myla team verifies identity documents, certifications, and references before onboarding vendors and service providers.
The startup, Siddharth says, has streamlined the process of digital onboarding with respect to aspects such as invoice generation, order management, and quotations so that it is easy for vendors to expand their business online.
Lack of awareness of professional service providers posed a major problem for the team, especially while scaling up. Added to this were the pandemic protocols and lockdowns.
But, once the COVID regulations were relaxed, the team trained the vendors associated with its platform on behaviour, usage of technology, and COVID protocols.
Myla offers around 125 different categories of services. The platform has more than 30,000 customers and over 8,000 verified service professionals. It has completed more than 20,000 orders.
According to the company’s internal market research, there is high demand for services such as video consultations, home repair, beauty, financial services, and online ordering of sweets and groceries in Tier II and III cities.
The platform offers a freemium model to vendors, who can then switch to a subscription model wherein advanced features are accessible against a 15% commission.
The price of the services depends on the customer’s needs. For instance, AC repair starts at Rs 399, while beauty services start at Rs 500.
The platform aggregates all sellers and vendors and showcases the available service providers in a particular area. Users can pay for the services using cash, the in-app wallet, or online payment gateways.
“As a services supermarket, we provide a range of fixed and quote-based offers to customers. Customers can choose from the market’s competitive fixed offerings, ask for a quotation, or bid for the services,” explains Siddharth.
Siddharth, a marine engineer by training, had earlier worked at Teekay, Bharat Petroleum, and Shell. Co-founder and CEO. Amit Kulchand, has had stints at Bajaj Allianz, Indiamart, and ICICI. Amit Shanker, the other co-founder of Myla, had previously worked with HSBC, Microsoft and Nokia.
Myla currently has 50 members in its team.
Market and competition
According to Verified Market Research, the Indian home services market was valued at $10.29 billion in 2018. It is predicted to reach $65.51 billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 27.2% from 2019 to 2026.
Myla’s competitors include Urban Company, Housejoy, Rebuilt, Zimmber, and Servicejoy. The startup says its differentiation lies in the fact that it is focused on Tier II and III markets and the training of vendors.
“We constantly work on upskilling our vendors to ensure smooth service delivery to the end consumer, and this sets us apart from other market players,” says Siddharth.
Vendors are trained in the use of technology, methodology, and interaction with customers.
The startup plans to raise Series A funding of $10 million and expand to a few more Tier II and III cities.