The Qs are literally everywhere. The heavy door to Quikr’s headquarters in Hebbal, Bengaluru, has an ornate Q-shaped handle, which opens into a large minimalistic lobby. And the lobby has a giant neon green coloured Q painted on its floor. “It is like a target board, if one does not meet targets, you’ll be dropped on the Q,” jokes an employee. The gag notwithstanding, the biggest of all Qs is an invisible one. What are its 2,500 employees building in here?

If you indulge PD Sundar, the head of QuikrServices, a little, he will tell you that Quikr is building the best and the biggest services portal in the country. One in which users will be able to criss-cross from hiring drivers on demand to buffing cars to getting a loan to buy one, all in a jiffy. Or if you rent a home using QuikrHomes, you would certainly need the services of packers and movers. But where do you look for one? Fret not dear Quikr user, you don’t have to take the hassle of switching between the apps on your phone. You could navigate within the same website or the app to also hire a packer and mover service.

To build this kind of cross-functional capabilities, Sundar is doing what a fisherman does with a nethe does not want to let go of a single opportunity that can come his way. So Sundar is not only trying to cast a wide net but also deep. Pranay Chulet, the co-founder of Quikr, could have found no better man to do this. After all, at Sundar’s previous stint at digital classifieds company Sulekha, he had to deal with explaining, ‘What is the internet’ to SMEs. Perhaps it is that experience, which makes Sundar unfazed at the sheer complexity of the task at hand.

Sourcing service providers over the internet has many things going against it. One, would you trust letting an unknown person into your house? Two, for the same reason as one, you would ask your neighbour or society for help. And let’s say you are savvy and you do go online to find a service provider, who do you pick? “Me,” said many businesses in a chorus. They said we will provide reliable service and assured top quality. So, home service startups saw a rush of funding in 2015. And 19 companies in this space got $76.5 million in funding, according to Tracxn. But soon they began dropping like flies. Tracxn says nearly eight companies like Theek Kar Do, TaskBaba and Happy Home Fix folded while figuring out how to make users bite.

Quick buck

Revenue wise, Services is among the top three verticals, which the company says, contributes 20% of its revenues

“This is not an easy business,” says 40-year old Sundar.

AUTHOR

Arundhati Ramanathan

Arundhati is interested in how people use money in the digital age and how new economies will take shape based on that interaction. She writes the newsletter Ka-Ching! ever Monday. She lives in Bengaluru and has spent over 12 years reporting and writing on various subjects.

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