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Urban Company company logo
Corporation
INTERNET | eCommerce / Marketplace
urbancompany.com

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Founded Year

2014

Stage

Series F - II | Alive

Total Raised

$441.24M

Valuation

$0000 

Last Raised

$65M | 5 mos ago

About Urban Company

Urban Company is an Indian home services marketplace. The platform helps customers book home services, including beauty services, fitness training, appliance repair, plumbing, and more.

Urban Company Headquarter Location

Plot No 416, Udyog Cohar Phase 3, Sector 2

Gurgaon, 122016,

India

Latest Urban Company News

Gig Economy—How Deep Is The Discontent?

Oct 22, 2021

For all your devices (Mobile, Tablet & Desktop) Focus on what matters Subscribe @₹48/Week A group of Zomato food delivery couriers check their smartphones for customer order alerts in Mumbai, India, on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. 8:32 AM IST, 22 Oct 2021 8:32 AM IST, 22 Oct 2021 8:32 AM IST, 22 Oct 2021 Save They help deliver your food. Connect you to your ride to office. Line up professionals for household chores and maybe even a weekend massage. Or let you find accountants, doctors and lawyers.Gig economy platforms, which connect users to service providers, have made life easy for many consumers. They have also provided a source of income for those who may not have or want a full-time formal job. Yet, increasingly, workers on these pla... They help deliver your food. Connect you to your ride to office. Line up professionals for household chores and maybe even a weekend massage. Or let you find accountants, doctors and lawyers. Gig economy platforms, which connect users to service providers, have made life easy for many consumers. They have also provided a source of income for those who may not have or want a full-time formal job. Yet, increasingly, workers on these platforms are seen expressing their dissatisfaction. Zomato or Swiggy workers protesting exploitation. Urban Company beauticians questioning fee structures. Uber drivers complaining about unfair practices and lack of support amid a pandemic that shut down their business. Are these isolated instances? Or a sign of wider discontent with the gig economy? How Deep Is The Discontent? "I joined the platform two years ago, and it was gratifying in the beginning," said Sanjay, a 31-year-old delivery partner for Swiggy. But the initial euphoria was short-lived. "Now, I work 12 hours a day, delivering 15 to 20 orders, and the total payout usually ranges from Rs 600 to Rs 800 a day. On average, we get Rs 20-35 per order," he told BloombergQuint. Yet, he has no option. With a sick family member at home, Jaiswal can't afford to leave work, even for a few days. "If I don't work the entire day, there'll be a cash crunch at home." 28-year-old Dhruv joined Zomato after seeing advertisements that promised upwards of Rs 25,000 a month. The reality was different. "I earn around Rs 13,000 to 15,000 per month after deducting my scooter's fuel and maintenance cost. The most challenging part of the job is to work in sweltering heat or heavily pouring rain," Dhruv told BloombergQuint. But his discontent goes beyond that. He believes the apps are manipulated in a way that work reduces over time. "I think the app is biased. It gave me a lot of orders when I joined, but that gradually declined," he said "Now, I see the new joiners around me get more orders while I wait for a ping." Most gig economy workers that BloombergQuint approached were reluctant to reveal their full identity fearing retribution from the platforms. Apart from slim earnings and lack of transparency on how these apps work, there was another cause of discontent that emerged particularly across food delivery partners—lack of respect from customers, restaurants, and even housing complexes. "Sometimes, I feel like a slave. Many malls provide us entry via the rear gate only, and the queue for order pick-up at restaurants often crosses an hour on weekends," said Vinay, an Ahmedabad-based Zomato rider. Even months after the second wave, many housing complexes ask us to use a separate elevator or even go by the stairs. "We may be called delivery partners or executives, but everyone just considers us the labour class." Zomato counters some of this, at least the estimate on earnings. "In a city like Bangalore, the top 20% of our delivery partners who deliver on bikes and put in more than 40 hours a week receive a payout of more than Rs 27,000 per month. Minus the fuel costs, they take home about Rs 20,000 per month. That's twice the India's average per capita income," said a Zomato spokesperson in response to a BloombergQuint query. Zomato hiked the salaries of its delivery partners by 7-8% in February due to rising fuel prices. A permanent petrol component has also been added to their pricing structure to ensure consistency. Medical and accidental life insurance is now a standard offering for all, and additional coverage is provided if the partners are affected due to Covid-19. Swiggy, too, now compensates for fuel and provides an expanded health cover, a person familiar with the platform's practices said. Swiggy declined to respond to BloombergQuint's queries. Across cab aggregators, the complaints are now well documented. Long hours, low earnings per ride and, now, the burden imposed by an extended pandemic and high fuel prices. "I drive 12 to 16 hours a day. And yet, I earn only Rs 500 to Rs 800 per day," Mohammad, a 34-year-old driver with Uber, said. "The latter is possible if most of my trips are short and I can complete 12 to 15 rides in a day. Long trips are not very rewarding because the traffic is unbearable and consumes too much time." Mohammad is agitated because he has to pay monthly instalments on the car loan. Fuel prices are at an all-time high, further eating into his earnings. And if that wasn't enough, the roads in Mumbai force him to dish out more money for maintenance. "If you're expecting an air-conditioned journey for 30km within a city for just Rs 500 to 700, then it leaves me with no margin for profit; leave aside better service," he added. Uber takes 20 to 25% of the total fare as its commission. Ola's commissions are similar. Yet, when times were tough, drivers allege that the companies offered little empathy or financial support. "It's me doing all the work, and yet they take away almost a quarter of it all," said Rakesh, another driver for Uber in Mumbai. "I'm not against their commission. I just want them to implement reasonable pricing that respects me, provides good service to the customer, and enables Uber to grow as well." Uber changed its fare structure in July and raised the per-kilometre rate from Rs 10 to Rs 14.7. But reduced the per minute ride charge from Rs 1.58 to 1. Ola follows a similar pricing model, which ranges from Rs 13 to 15 per kilometre. Uber Technologies Inc. and Ola, operated by ANI Technologies Pvt., did not respond to BloombergQuint's queries. Urban Company recently found itself facing the ire of beauticians who claimed that the platform’s fee structures were leaving little for them to take home. They also cited unsafe work environment. The company connects users to a host of professionals—barbers, stylists, carpenter, electrician, plumbers, and more. "Unlike others, my services boomed amid the lockdowns since restrictions were high and people prefered to get a haircut at home than venture out. But it was short-lived as people went back to normal, rendering my services worthless," said Vicky, a barber who's actively using Urban Company for a year. "I earn Rs 200-300 per haircut after deducting commissions and consumables, while the app charges Rs 500 to the customer, he said. Deepak, who also gets work through the platform, chooses to look on the brighter side. "While the commission is high, I don't mind it because a lot of new customers are readily available, helping keep the business going," Deepak, who repairs electronic appliances such as microwaves and refrigerators, said. As protests came to light, Urban Company said it had brought down its peak commission by 5%. "Earlier, commissions ranged from 8.5% for small orders to 30% for high-ticket orders. Commissions will now range from 8.5% to 25%. We are also further reducing the maximum cap on monthly penalties per partner per month to Rs 1,500," Urban Company said in a statement. Penalties are accrued when the worker doesn't deliver satisfactory services. As platforms veer towards more white-collar work, complaints are fewer, if only because those offering their services have a wider array of choices and don't work in inhospitable conditions. Platforms like Fiverr, Freelancer.com, and more offer new options for many. 28-year-old Sanjeev, who is studying to become a chartered accountant, spends half his day bookkeeping for various clients. Based out of a small town in Bihar, these platforms have opened up a new earning channel for him. "I earn around Rs 25,000 per month and land about three to four gigs every month thanks to GigZoe," he said. The price depends on the amount of work required. "The flexibility helps a lot because studying is my primary intention, but the pandemic forced me to find a better revenue stream for my family." GigZoe charges a flat 10% fee. The platform provides gig-based projects for accounting, web development, content creation, and even social media marketing. "We're focusing on enlisting skilled folks by verifying their credentials and standardising client interactions," said GigZoe's CEO Ranu Gupta. A broader survey across 10 platforms conducted by WageIndicator Foundation showed that fixed salaries were a very small component and the tasks you do determine the earnings. This puts pressure on workers to put in long hours to make a living. 80% of the workers said they do not get paid sick leave. Is It 'Fair' Work? The Oxford University's Fairwork project defines fair work conditions across gig economy platforms using the following benchmarks: Fair Pay

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Research containing Urban Company

Get data-driven expert analysis from the CB Insights Intelligence Unit.

CB Insights Intelligence Analysts have mentioned Urban Company in 4 CB Insights research briefs, most recently on Apr 15, 2021.

Expert Collections containing Urban Company

Expert Collections are analyst-curated lists that highlight the companies you need to know in the most important technology spaces.

Urban Company is included in 5 Expert Collections, including Smart Money VCs (2017-2019).

S

Smart Money VCs (2017-2019)

6,297 items

We crunched the data to identify the 24 VC firms with the best combination of portfolio valuations and investment outcomes.

B

Beauty & Personal Care

1,684 items

Startups in the beauty & personal care space, including cosmetics brands, shaving startups, on-demand beauty services, salon management platforms, and more.

C

Cleaning & Sanitation Tech

322 items

These companies are featured in our Tech Market Map Report — New Products & Services For Retail In Cleaning & Sanitation Tech.

U

Unicorns- Billion Dollar Startups

865 items

R

Real Estate Tech

2,189 items

Startups in the space cover the residential and commercial real estate space with a focus on consumers. Categories include buying, selling and investing in real estate (iBuyers, marketplaces, investment/crowdfunding platforms), and also tenant experience, property management, sm

Urban Company Patents

Urban Company has filed 90 patents.

The 3 most popular patent topics include:

  • Stage lighting
  • LED lamps
  • Light fixtures
patents chart

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Urban Company Web Traffic

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