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Business News/ Companies / News/  Urban Co forays into consumer appliances
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Urban Co forays into consumer appliances

The home services platform launched a range of water purifiers under the Native brand, which will compete with the likes of Hindustan Unilever (Pureit) and Kent RO Systems

Abhiraj Singh Bhal, co-founder and chief executive, Urban Company.Premium
Abhiraj Singh Bhal, co-founder and chief executive, Urban Company.

Home services platform Urban Company made its foray into branded home appliances on Wednesday with the launch of a range of water purifiers under the Native brand. It will be competing with the likes of Hindustan Unilever (Pureit) and Kent RO Systems.

“Over the past few years, we repaired and serviced over one million water purifiers. A pain point we constantly hear from customers is why water purifiers need filter changes and servicing every few months. We decided to address this problem head-on with a new range of Native water purifiers," said Abhiraj Singh Bhal, co-founder and chief executive, Urban Company.

It is also set to launch smart door-lock solutions, Bhal said in an interview on Wednesday.

Urban Company is a technology marketplace for home services like beauty and spa, cleaning, plumbing and appliance repair, through its app. It operates in over 50 Indian cities, as well as the UAE, Singapore and Saudi Arabia. “We will hopefully be announcing a joint venture for the Saudi market soon. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has massive potential. To do justice, we will need a strong, local partner, who understands the market, the cultural nuances and consumer needs," Bhal said. The company has exited Australia.

In FY23, its operating revenue grew 45% from a year ago to 637 crore, while losses narrowed from 514 crore to 308 crore. Urban Company’s India business broke even in the first quarter of FY24, it said.

“We made meaningful progress in improving profitability driven by operational leverage in fixed costs and driving efficiency across other costs," the company said in a post on its website in August.

It added three independent board members—Dr Ashish Gupta, Ireena Vittal and Shyamal Mukherjee.

In 2021, Urban Company had raised $255 million at a valuation of $2.1 billion.

Bhal said the company is currently well-capitalized. “We have a lot of capital—we have more than $160 million in the bank—we’re hardly burning any cash. As you might be aware, we announced that in the first quarter of this financial year, the India business broke even. So, India is now going to operate near break even, and over time generate cash. So Urban Company India doesn’t really have any major funding needs. India constitutes about 90% of our business. Most of the capital is actually going to overseas markets," he said.

In 2021, Bhal had also revealed plans to go public by 2023. However, he refrained from disclosing the company’s plans for an IPO. “We definitely want to go public. It’s a function of internal readiness. We have started putting some blocks in place and on-boarded three independent directors last year. We want that to happen well in advance in the public listing, along with strong governance, and more focus on internal controls and readiness. But we want to go public when we are confident, internally prepared and profitable," he added.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Suneera Tandon
Suneera Tandon is a New Delhi based reporter covering consumer goods for Mint. Suneera reports on fast moving consumer goods makers, retailers as well as other consumer-facing businesses such as restaurants and malls. She is deeply interested in what consumers across urban and rural India buy, wear and eat. Suneera holds a masters degree in English Literature from the University of Delhi.
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Published: 11 Oct 2023, 11:48 PM IST
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