Umang Dua, Co-Founder, Handy and Chief Review Officer, ANGI Homeservices recently joined NewsX for a special conversation as part of NewsX India A-List. Recognised for excellence in home care services, Handy is the leading platform for connecting individuals looking for household services with top-quality, pre-screened independent service professionals. From home cleaning to handyman services, Handy instantly matches thousands of customers every week with top-rated professionals in cities all around the world.
Reflecting on his journey to becoming the co-founder of Handy, Umang said, “I was at Harvard Business School and I was going to do a regular MBA programme. My roommate and I in 2012 started talking about ideas and one thing led to another. We both wanted to do something entrepreneurial. We started talking about an idea, which Handy eventually became. Handy is a platform for booking homeservices where people can go when they need something at home and within 60 seconds they can make a booking. This as a concept did not exist earlier. Usually you have to wait. We were trying to make it instant. There were two big jumps, one was to drop out of Harvard Business School and the second big jump was to start a business outside of India. We ended up starting it in New York.”
He added, “We started in 2012 and it has been 8 years. The journey was fun with a lot of ups and downs. The thing with business is that you are always changing plans. We started in one city but became nationwide, across the US, in the UK, Canada and we ended up raising 110 million plus from all kinds of investors. It has been amazing to watch people use the service. You had an idea and now millions of people are using this idea and people getting value from it. It has been a very satisfying experience”.
Speaking about ANGI Homeservices and the rationale behind it, he stated, “ANGI is a large public company, biggest home services, deep presence in the US itself and unlike Handy, it provides all kinds of services. As an entrepreneur, you are always thinking about how can you just be quicker and reach more customers and thinking about the business strategically. The technology we had built and the ability to book services and we tried to bring everything together. It was a chance for us to go a little bit faster and do it with a partner”.
When asked about his thoughts on becoming the Chief Revenue Officer at ANGI Home services, he expressed, If you think about homeservices, there are about four to five hundred billion dollars spent every year just in the US. If you think about it globally, its trillions. No one has actually built a brand that has reached millions of people globally and I think this is a chance ahead of us. The more it became obvious to me, I told myself that we have the chance to build something truly iconic. I feel fortunate to be a part of Handy but lead ANGI”.
2020 had been a difficult year for organisations around the world. Sharing how he spent his 2020, Umang said, “I remember I was sitting in my apartment and everyone was suddenly working from home. That in itself was a different experience. From a purely business perspective, people have spent a lot of time at home. Home services, as an industry, has done really well and we have just been grateful that we have built this platform and people can get these home services. Working for home for a large team has its own set of challenges and we all had to get used to that. We feel fortunate to be in that position and that is not something we could have predicted at all”.
When asked about his views on the startup culture in India, Umang expressed, “The pace at which things are happening in India, companies are starting, companies are getting funded and create value for all the stakeholders has been incredible. The market, I mean, everything started to move online. We are seeing this accelerated pace across every industry and while I think it is easy to look at markets in the U.S. or other countries, you have to take into account the growth rates people are seeing in India and so I feel that the world is different than it was in 2012”.
On a parting note, Umang shared his mantra of entrepreneurship and said, “If people are willing to start businesses in India, you obviously want to be thoughtful while you make sure you give the right amount of time. Think about the idea and who you are doing with it. The market is there and so is the opportunity. I don’t think there has been a better time than this so go for it”.