Nearly eight million consumers use the internet each month to discover and transact with top service providers in the home services, education services and business services. Leading digital platform for local services Sulekha recognized the potential in this space and currently boasts having over 24 million visitors each month and over 66,000 paid service providers on its platform. In an interaction with Pitch, Satya Prabhakar, CEO & Founder of Sulekha discussed about the changing technological landscape and the need to evolve with the same.
How has the journey of Sulekha evolved with the change in the technological landscape?
Sulekha has evolved from an online yellow-pages type listing service that it offered prior to 2015 to an advanced local services need fulfilment platform. It matches over 24 million buyers looking for a range of local services in the areas of home services, business services, coaching/training services and lifestyle services with over 66,000 paid service providers.
Every one of the paid service provider of Sulekha uses the ‘Sulekha business app’, which allows our company to monitor responsiveness (how quickly they call), quality of service delivery and get instant feedback from both consumers & service providers. We measure our success not in terms of number of buyer leads provided to customers, but on the basis of the connect that we build between consumers & service providers. Our focus is on establishing connects that allow consumers to negotiate and discuss with highly rated/reviewed service providers, provides extraordinary value to both consumers (who can get their job done easily) and service providers (who can grow their business easily).
Sulekha has invested more than $30 million in building this sophisticated technology platform and drives more than 240 million buyer visits every year to its platform for a wide range of local service requests.
How do you market yourself to the consumers in Tier II and Tier III cities?
Sulekha is experiencing more than 80% annual growth in Tier II and Tier III cities due to the explosive growth of mobile internet penetration in these markets, combined with an increased awareness of digital benefits for consumers. We are enjoying significant growth of both consumers and service providers in Tier II and Tier III cities due to the number of needs that the platform is able to match & fulfill. For example, more than 3,000 businesses have joined Sulekha in Lucknow and growing their business organically – though we have a comparatively smaller team serving that city.
Most consumers and service providers discovered Sulekha through other digital platforms like Google and Facebook. The company is also planning to invest significantly in a range of offline advertising to support its growth in the coming months.
What are the other verticals that you are planning to invest into, in the near future?
We are planning to launch a range of fixed price services in verticals like carpenters, electricians, AC service etc. These are being piloted and will be rolled out very soon. We are also evaluating expansion into other Asian markets that need similar local service need fulfillment requirements – and will expand in the future into those cities.
With increased competition, how do you stay relevant?
Sulekha measures its success through a unique metric of connects between service providers and consumers who are looking to buy local services. This is unique in India and is not done by any other platform in India as several other listing websites are content in just providing name, address and phone numbers alone.Ensuring connects and “meaningful connects” where consumers and service providers are transacting on the platform ensures that Sulekha is far ahead of any other platform trying to provide this match-making.
Sulekha gets thousands of reviews and ratings every day and we know which service providers are the best in terms of responsiveness, ratings, reviews and job completion reports. This helps us to provide the best possible service providers for consumers looking for a range of over 1,200 local service categories.
How do you leverage technology and data for fulfilling the needs of the consumers and businesses?
We collect five million data-points every day, since more than 1 million consumers visit the platform each day, and over 65,000 paid service providers login several times a day to check their leads, call consumers, update their profiles etc.
Sulekha uses a range of big data technologies supported by Amazon, Google and other platforms to get insights and drive superior consumer & service provider experience.
We are one of the largest users of Microsoft Azure platform and have been recognized by Microsoft cloud service team as one of the most innovative technology users.