The Story of Sulekha.com and how it doesn’t fear any of it’s competitors.
The Startup Bubble has formed in India and all of the world and it’s expanding in full blow. Through the rise of so many startups, there were a lot of new players in the hyper-local search industry. Though today there are some of them who have gained traction and gaining a loyal base of consumers through their work, there are some national big level players which are making it harder for new startups to beat because they could tap into their market when the market was itself a baby in India.
The Story of Sulekha.com
Sulekha.com has gone through some changes since it was born. It was at first a content writing portal. It later pivoted and became a portal for clients where they could open email accounts for free in the last quarter of 2000.
Satya Prabhakar, the Founder of Sulekha.com talked to Entrepreneur India on how he managed to grow his business over the last decade.
It all started in the year 1998 when Satya Prabhakar had the idea of a platform that will provide an array of local e-services, by bringing several businesses together. They decided to go with the plan and so the Foundation of Sulekha.com was laid!
What makes Sulekha stay ahead of its competition?
The industry in which Sulekha operates is seeing some large players come up. 3 of them being UrbanClap, Renticle and AskLaila. On what makes Sulekha stay ahead, Satya said “I think all start-ups, which have witnessed an early rise, provide a lot of new services like cleaning up cars, houses and even bathrooms. But, we are far more sophisticated technologically and are doing a lot more than other players in the market to fulfill our users’ needs. The range of e-services we offer and the number of users we have keep us much ahead in the race. Our competition is only with Google.”
“Portals like Asklaila and Askme are focused mainly on providing e-services, but Sulekha.com uses technology that helps us understand our clients better. We keep technology in the forefront to ensure our visitors have all the ease in browsing our website. I think there are many areas — home décor, rentals and a wide range of classified e-services — in which Sulekha will feature on the top of clients’ preference list,” said the confident entrepreneur.
“Sulekha is a platform which allows its users to write about their needs and feedbacks,” he added. As for the valuation, Sulekha is now valued at $30 Million and it is one of the 3 digital companies in India making profits apart from InfoEdge and JustDial.
The Past and The Future of Sulekha
Sulekha, headquartered in Chennai (Tamil Nadu) and in the US, runs its 14 offices across India with over 1,300 employees. Sulekha.com, formed during the internet boom, comes under the category of early startups in the e-service provider segment.
Prabhakar, being an NRI himself, launched Sulekha with a want to get the NRI as their Target Audience. But later realizing the Opportunity in India, he began Sulekha’s expansion in 2007.
On being asked how he could tap into the market’s opportunities, Prabhakar said “Expecting a single, virtual platform for several businesses in 1998 was being ambitious. We wanted to create a platform where end-users and owners of various entities could connect with each other and a customer could get multiple e-services under one roof portal.”
“You have to be at the right place at the right time — that’s the key to start a business,” said Prabhakar.
Being One of India’s largest and fastest growing digital platforms in the sector and promising to stay one, Sulekha raised its third round of funding in April 2015. The company raised INR 175 crore from Singapore’s GIC and venture capital firm Norwest Venture Partners for its expansion plans.