More than Listings on UrbanPro.com
By Suraksha P | Chennai | Published: 18th May 2015 06:00 AM |
ThinkVidya, an online education portal that connects tutors and students recently rebranded itself as UrbanPro.com. UrbanPro.com is now an online marketplace that connects consumers and professionals across four other verticals like Health and wellness, event management, photography and interior designing including education.
“Having catered to students, parents and teachers in education, we decided to serve more customers by launching additional local services beyond education. The consumer should be able to easily find, review and talk to multiple professionals before making his/her decision. A consumer will be able to post a requirement in less than a minute and those requirements will be matched immediately with multiple professionals for that service. They can review profiles and then talk to them,” says Rakesh Kalra, Founder, UrbanPro.com.
The portal gets over one million visits a month and gets around 75,000 unique visitors. Currently, with more than three lakh service professionals and five lakh customers, the service is available in 10 cities across the country. The portal has listings of 1,80,000 tuition teachers, 40,000 language professionals and around 12,000 professionals in Music and Dance. Also, there are 40,000 institutes registered with UrbanPro.com.
It works on a coins model. The service professionals purchase UrbanPro Coins (a currency specific to UrbanPro). Each professional can purchase 800 UrbanPro coins for Rs 500. These coins are used when responding to customer enquiries via the platform. Each response on an average costs 20 UrbanPro coins. ThinkVidya was founded by Kalra in 2011 along with three other friends. “It was a bootstrapped venture and by August 2013 we managed to break even. In January this year, we received a generous amount of money from US-based angel investor Raman Sood,” says Kalra.
“We congregate tutors not just on the academic front but in pursuits like dance, music, alternate therapy and jewellery-making too,” he adds. Kalra’s previous experience as Vice-President of US-based Care.com played a huge role in shaping UrbanPro.com he says. Care.com is a portal for finding nannies, female care and pet care providers in the United States.
“After spending four years there, I realised that there was an education market of $40 billion waiting to be tapped in India. But it is a highly segmented market with tutors, test prep companies and the like. Currently, we have a 70 member-team and services will be shortly available in all four verticals. We are taking a city-by-city approach starting with Bangalore,” he says.
Asked what UrbanPro’s USP is, he says that listings on portals like JustDial and Sulekha provide, for example, in education, information about tuition agencies, and not of individuals. “We connect you to the service providers directly. This cuts the middlemen,” he says.
With students lapping up online courses rapidly, the need for a home tutor may not be felt anymore. But Kalra contests the fact saying they support both online and offline education. “We ask students their preferences, if they’d like to travel to the tutor or take it online. We have classes from Delhi to Chennai.”
The students are allowed a demonstration class first, and only after being fully satisfied do they sign up with the tutor. “Through our portal, service providers get more exposure. Our pricing model, though largely based on a per lead basis for a small event like photography, is 20-25 per cent of the service value for every month for larger events,” he says.
Visit www.urbanpro.com for further information.