Services marketplace UrbanClap on Thursday announced that Ratan N. Tata, Chairman Emeritus of Tata Sons, has invested in the company in his personal capacity. In November, UrbanClap had raised $25 million in a Series-B round of funding led by Bessemer Venture Partners. Existing investors SAIF Partners and Accel Partners had participated in that round.
The company was founded in 2014 by Abhiraj Bhal, Varun Khaitan, and Raghav Chandra and had earlier raised a $10M Series A round from SAIF and Accel Partners in June. They count Snapdeal founders Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal among their early investors. Ratan Tata is also an investor in Snapdeal.
UrbanClap looks at the backing from Ratan Tata as a testament to both the size of the market opportunity (estimated to be around about $50 billion in India), and the calibre of their own team, which aims to “create lakhs of new jobs for service professionals, thereby creating a new breed of micro-entrepreneurs”.
Ratan Tata has been on an investment spree and has so far invested in more than 10 Indian startups in the last 20 months. Most recently through Tata Trusts he partnered with Khan Academy in a multi-million dollar partnership to make education free and accessible to more Indians. His other recent investments in November include backing Chennai-based big data #startup, Crayon Data and global telecom carrier Sabse Technologies.
Currently, active in six cities—NCR, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Chennai, Pune and Hyderabad— UrbanClap is a marketplace to hire professionals for around 80 services, such as plumbers, electricians, beauticians and yoga trainers. They currently claim to have a network of over 25,000 service professionals.
The online local services industry has seen hyper expansion. Doormint, LocalOye, Zimmber, Taskbob, Housejoy, UrbanPro, TimeSaverz, Mr. Right, and TheMakeoverz are just some of the other startups that have come up in this category. Many, like UrbanClap, have raised funding from venture capital investors this year. LocalOye raised $5 million from Tiger Global and Lightspeed Venture Partners in April, while Taskbob, which recently acquired Zepper, raised $1.2 million funding from Orios, Mayfield and others. HouseJoy had raised $4 million from Matrix Partners in June.
(Disclaimer: Ratan Tata is an investor in YourStory)