Gurpreet Singh and Manpreet Singh are co-founders of an American Start-up Seva Search. Seva Search is focused on helping consumers find local service professionals. The company has raised $1.3 million in its series A funding from angel investors and is looking to grow exponentially in the coming years. Gurpreet Singh, in this interview talks to us about his latest venture Seva Search. Their website is sevacall.com.
Please tell us something about yourself?
I started my career like most entrepreneurs selling lemonade on the streets of the neighborhood. I have since gone on to start a number of companies and worked for a number of companies. I have been on my own since 2006.
My latest venture Seva Call was formed to help consumers find local professionals very quickly.
How did you start off as an entrepreneur?
I always wanted to be an entrepreneur. When I was a kid I did a number entrepreneurial things from selling lemonade, lawn mowing, to movie rentals. I went on to start my first formal venture in as senior in high school; it was online social networking site targeting the South Asian community.
What are your primary reasons for being an entrepreneur?
Control and flexibility. By being on your own you are truly in charge of what happens and you have the control so you can’t blame anyone else. I believe in larger organizations there is very little room for flexibility, in order to make a small modification it needs to go through 20 people.
Tell us more about your company.
The mission of Seva Call is to simplify the search process for consumers who need help finding service providers. For example, if a consumer has a broken toilet he often will get frustrated very quickly. There are so many plumbers in the area and yet it’s very difficult to decide which one to call first. Seva Call takes the consumers request over the web (mobile and over the phone is also available) and we call all the companies on your behalf and tell them your request. The companies that want to work with you will be connected to you over the phone. Before calling these companies, we research and rank them based on all the reviews on the web, that way we make sure we find you the highest quality company. By doing this we are saving the consumer time that can spent doing more important things.
When was the company started, in what year?
We originally hatched idea around Seva Call a few years ago, but did not formally launch the company in its current form until 2011.
What is the start-up capital of your company?
We originally seeded the business with $50K of our own capital to vet out whether this could really work. After doing a number of beta’s, we went out and raised $1.3m mostly from angels and a seed
Are you looking to raise capital?
We have already closed a round a few months ago. As with most start ups, another round is inevitable.
What are your future plans for company?
Ideally, we would like to be the first place consumers go when they need help finding a local service professional. This space is very crowded, but longer term we feel like we will be best suited to find the right professional for you. We hope to roll out additional products focused on making local search more efficient.
What have been your key learning’s since starting your business?
Constantly analyze and adapt if needed. There will be many people coming to you and will want you to change your product to fit what they want. Take their advice and follow it if YOU think its right.
Is there anything you regret?
I think its better not to regret and just do it differently the next time around.
What have been your biggest mistakes so far?
Ask me in a couple years, I am sure I will have some good ones for you.
What advice would you give a young entrepreneur just starting-off in business?
Just do it. Many entrepreneurs get bogged down early on. Put in those 100 hour weeks and it will be well worth it.
Skip the social events; attend the ones that are most important. There is always something you could go to and it is very easy to be distracted.
Who is your role model?
I never had a single role model, I like most entrepreneurs look to the Steve Job’s of the world as role models. The most important thing I learned was to always question. I always question everyone, its important for you to truly understand something and not just take it at face value.
Do you think marketing is important?
Yes, I believe marketing is very important. I have spent significant amounts of money marketing, trying everything from cups in restaurants to radio. No matter what your marketing strategy, track your spending and the subsequent revenue from that marketing. I own hundreds of phone numbers as I always make sure to use a different phone number for every marketing piece I use.