JoBhiHo, a search engine company, founded by Ray Vaz, Deron Almeida and Gareth Vaz, is one of the few local startups to make a foray in the online services sector, finds out Serilda Coutinho
Online services portals are doing very well among consumers currently. Most of them are pan-India companies based out of metros. So it is good to know of a local startup trying to make a place for itself in the online business.
JoBhiHo Servider Solution, a sales and marketing startup portal, based in Santa Cruz, is started by young trio of entrepreneurs Ray Vaz, Deron Almeida and Gareth Vaz. The co-founders hope to connect with residents who require any kind of service.
It has around 80 service providers on board of which, 20 are in the handymen category. The customer base is of 3,800 registered users curently. “We receive about eight inquires on an average through calls or online. Most of these Inquiries are for handymen such as carpenters, electricians and AC repairs along with high demand for professional services in real estate, travel, printing and painting,” says Ray Vaz, managing director.
He points out that, within a year of operation the company has managed to earn a turnover of Rs 15 lakh. The service providers who are on board are recognized names. They include DJ Ryan Nogar, Sparkclean a cleaning service company, Varanda Do Mar, a boutique hotel, Kandida, a corporate and promotional gift store. There are many more names but the list is too exhaustive to go into detail.
Vaz who owns a travel agency in Panjim, attributes the idea of the startup portal to his experience in business. He adds “Since I was already into business I understood the importance of getting inquires from customers to generate revenue. Salaried employees do not have to worry about their daily source of income but for a business man inquires are the only means to sustain in the business once it grows old. Understanding this struggle myself I felt that through this platform locals would get an opportunity to build contacts and network easily.”
Jo Bhi Ho is a recognized startup. It has a certificate of recognition from the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion and plans on registering itself as a Goa startup as well. “As and when we get benefits from the government as a registered startup we will be looking to pass these on to our employees,” says Vaz
On the Jo Bhi Ho website, consumers can feed in their requirement ranging across segments like automobile, real estate, events, travel and tourism, electronics and education, among others. To get started the user needs to feed in the requirement into the search box available on the home page while selecting the location from the dropdown list. Based on availability of a particular service in the area, consumers are connected to the service provider through SMS and vice versa, viz. basically acting as an intermediate to match the search requirement. Through the portal, service providers can get inquires and network easily while customers can compare prices through the options provided on the website to make the best choice.
“Under manufacturers we have listings for agarbatti manufacturers, furniture while in the financial services one can find services related to loans, insurance and tax listed” says Vaz. He further adds that the company makes use of customized software that helps them to update customers with the progress of their search and to assign tasks to members on the platform.
The sales and operations of the company are headed by Deron Almeida, director, sales and marketing and Gareth Vaz, director, operations. “Before we started executing the business idea we conducted a market research to built contacts and understand the customer’s requirement. Having a real estate business background I knew the requirement of consumers in this sector as in the past my clients have approach us for contacts of tile fitters, water proofing and other services. I understood the demand for this model along with marketing because of real estate.” says Almeida.
Apart from the core team and a dedicate team of about four members the company also has a team of IT, financial, business and advertising advisors for smooth functioning of the organisation.
Another initiative that the company has taken up is to provide a source of regular income for the handyman community who are not easily accessible to local residents unless referred through word of mouth.
This category includes drivers, carpenters, plumbers, tailors, toddy tappers and tile fitters among others. Owing to the high demand the company plans on hiring a team of handyman to provide them employment and hence regular income.
Along with fulfilling the service requirement of the consumer the company also maintains safety measures while registering members on their portal. “We maintain the address proof along with proof of business for all our service providers so that the customer does not have to worry about getting a stranger into the house for repairs,” says Almeida.
The company also provides a physical platform for its service providers to interact and network through meetings focused for different categories every week. “We have meetings for members once a week that focus on segments such as hotels, industries, real estate and schools among others,” says Vaz. He adds that, the effort is on to get more service providers on board looking at the demand for services.
To become a part of the JoBhiHo team, vendors need to pay a membership fee for two years that could range between Rs21000-Rs 26000. While for a handyman a yearly membership fee amounting to Rs 3000 needs to be paid to get associated with the company’s network.
“In the future we plan to get on board products from local NGOs that we can list without a membership fee. We would also like to encourage participation from local craftsman to get their products listed on our portal,” says Vaz. The company is also working on launching their own app to provide services at the figure tip.