's Manpreet Singh is a prodigy. After founding a dot com in high school called Desi Vibes, a south Asian social network, he went on to work with Profit Investment Management, a DC based investment management firm, growing assets from $20 million to 2 billion. He got his MBA from Wharton in 2009, and now he and his brother Gurpreet have launched Seva Call, which went live two months ago in the DC area and is expanding to Philadelphia. Singh calls it "a free virtual concierge service for people in need of service assistance. It’s like the Yellow Pages on steroids."
When Gurpreet Singh came up with the idea a few years ago, Manpreet says he didn't take it seriously. Gurpreet was running a small IT repair business, and spent a lot on advertising. But in about 40% of incoming calls, Gupreet found he could not help the consumer. He was too far away, or already booked. He wondered why there couldn't be a system to address a specific problem at a specific time, and Seva Call was born.
Say you have a clogged toilet and you want it fixed Wednesday morning. You plug in your request and the Seva Call algorithm connects you to a contractor.
Ranking of contractors has two components: Seva Call scrapes sites like Yelp, Google reviews, Facebook and Twitter to get consumer ratings, and contractors bid on a pay per call basis, which runs anywhere from $8 to 42 per placement. The system is also reactive, and will change the priority based on customer feedback, so a contractor's higher bid is not a guarantee of top placement in the queue.
"Generating revenue is not our main focus," says Manpreet Singh, who raised a $1.3 million Series A angel and VC funding round last fall.
Seva Call is launching in Philadelphia with more than 12,000 local professionals in 50 different industry categories, including computer repair, plumbing, roofing, maid service, and auto glass repair.
Seva means service in a number of South Asian languages, including Sanskrit, Hindi and Punjabi.
Source: Manpreet Singh, Seva Call
Writer: Sue Spolan