JOBOY is riding the startup wave successfully. The service provider app with its differentiating business model and myriad services aims to be a trusted personal assistant to everyone. Co founders, Jees V Kariyil and Jeevan K Varghese talks about their startup, the team, and the challenges and rewards of their entrepreneurial journey.
Give a brief info about your startup?
JOBOY means “Someone who knows everything”. In technical terms we may be called a Hyperlocal Aggregator platform, however we believe we are more than that. You can use JOBOY for almost everything from getting services and repairs, local shopping, deals and events, travel etc. We would like JOBOY to be a trusted personal assistant to everyone.
At JOBOY we solve the pain in finding a trusted service provider, and getting quality repairs done. When you have an electrical or plumbing problem in your house, you either ask around for the contact details of an expert, or go looking for a service provider. Even if you find one, you will have to wait for them to turn up at their convenience, after multiple follow ups, after having you wait endlessly. And when they finally turn up, you pay them excess charges they ask for (or bargain unnecessarily), without having any confidence on the quality of work done. We take care of all these issues. We help you find expert service providers right in your locality, without having you make multiple phone calls or follow ups, with pre-determined low pricing, and with a service warranty.
There are a few competitors in the industry, but we have managed to keep our business model different. It is easy to see that you are doing things right when you know that your competition is trying to copy your model. . Our service providers have reached a customer doorstep in as low as 8 minutes, which itself is an achievement.
What made you start your startup and what problem does it solve?
Like most innovative ideas, our own experience and needs lead to the idea of JOBOY. Realising how difficult it is to get trustable services when you are in a new city, or in your own city, helped us create the concept. We wanted to JOBOY to be a personal assistant to every individual, at the same time making it affordable for customers and creating more jobs for service providers.
Tell us about yourself, your previous jobs/ventures? What were you doing before this startup?
We both have been working in different industries before the idea of JOBOY was born. Jeevan was in the Finance & Accounting domain working in the outsourcing industry and myself (Jees) was in the banking & payments industry. Our experience in these areas have helped us put JOBOY together.
Where is your startup based out of? Why do you think that is the best place for you?
We are currently based in Kochi, with offices in UAE and South London. We are trying to create a global organisation, so there is a bit of flexibility about base locations. Kerala is a good market for us to experiment, due to technology awareness of users, better standard of living, and mobile phone penetration. We also made this decision for the availability of resources with excellent technology skills.
As a startup founder, what are you paranoid about? What keeps you awake at night?
Any budding startup has many things to worry about, from product innovation, customer satisfaction, funding, meeting deadline, employee management, etc. All these are part of the game so it is better to get used to it that be paranoid. We do spend quite a lot of time brainstorming customer satisfactions issues
Who are your competitions and how are you better than them?
There are a few competitors in the industry, but we have managed to keep our business model different. It is easy to see that you are doing things right when you know that your competition is trying to copy your model. . Our service providers have reached a customer doorstep in as low as 8 minutes, which itself is an achievement. Ours is a business model that keeps our customers and partners committed for long term.
How hard is it to have a work-life balance as a startup founder and how do you manage it?
When you are a startup founder, you have to expect yourselves to be working on the go 24 hours. There is always something or the other waiting for your attention. It is easier to go with the flow and find time for yourselves in between, than to stick to a schedule.
Have you raised funding? If yes, then we would like to know the details. If no then please tell us if you’re looking to raise?
JOBOY is currently bootstrapped, with seed funding support from KSIDC. We wanted to be known for being a sustainable and expandable business before we looked for external funding. With the positive traction and stable business model, we think we are ready to look for funding
What’s the biggest misconception people have about you? Why do they have that? What’s the reality?
Our community is still not completely ready for technology based services. There is a fear about cost of services being high, easy to say fear of the unknown. Many people who have used our services have said they expected it to be more expensive. In fact when you use our services, you will realise that our costs are comparatively cheaper than what you end up paying for a regular service, not even considering the pain you go through to get the regular service.
What gets you excited about this company?
We believe we have an excellent opportunity lying ahead of us, and that we have the right business model to do well. We have been actively hiring good resources across departments, are testing our marketing strategy, and are also discussing with potential partners for launch in other countries. We are also working on making our technology more efficient by incorporating the various learning over the past years. All these are exciting factors, and every simple achievement feels worth working for.
Tell us how a day in your life looks like? Your schedule for a day right from the time you get up till you hit the bed at night.
A typical work day starts with taking a quick look at operations for the day. It gives us a sense of how our performance is. That has become a habit. We have set areas of responsibilities for each so focus is on that for the rest of the day. There are meetings with partners and corporate customers, that happen almost every day. We spend our lunch time with someone or the other from the team, so that becomes productive too. The day ends a little late in the evening, with a look at the operational metrics, reviewing the highs and lows, and planning better for the next day
Tell us about your team and how did you meet each other?
We have a very dedicated team, that is ready to go the extra mile to meet our targets. It is a challenging environment and everyone is ready to put in their best. Most of our team came to us through people we knew from our past experiences, or through references.
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