Wirkle co-founder Sunil Goyal has launched a services marketplace called Near.in. As of now, the marketplace is limited to service providers from Gurgaon across categories like Home Needs (home services, architects & interior designers) Health & Wellness (dieticians, physiotherapists and zumba classes) and Events (photographers, makeup artists, tattoo artists, event planners).
Goyal told Medianama that they will expand this to include service providers in Delhi by early 2015 and then move onto other major cities across India. The Near.in iOS app is currently pending approval from Apple and is expected to be released by early next week, while the Android app is expected to be available by end of this month.
The site claims that it offers a curated list of service providers based on feedback from social groups like Facebook and consumer forums. The service providers are then thoroughly vetted by Near.in’s in-house team through calls, visits to their offices/stores, clicking pictures & capturing prices before they are listed on the site.
Each merchant page provides a list of services offered by it, along with pricing, operational days, timing, address and phone number. It also provides a rating on a scale of 5 and user reviews.
Goyal had earlier co-founded the app development company Wirkle with Lomesh Dutta, which was acquired by location services company Location Labs in October 2011. Following the acquisition, Goyal worked as the Director of Engineering at Location Labs for over 2 years before quitting to start Thumbspot Inc., which runs Near.in, along with Dutta and Akshay Khanna. Besides the founders, Near.in has a team of 10-20 employees working on technology and content.
Justdial’s Search Plus suite of services is Near.in’s primary competitor. It offers services like flower delivery, doctor appointment, laundry pickup, grocery shopping and pharmacy supplies among others, and allows users to complete the transaction online. Getit Infomedia* owned local search engine AskMe is also a competitor for Near.in. There are several services marketplaces in India focused on particular verticals, like event management solutions marketplace Explara, relocation service providers marketplace RelocateXP & EZMove, and home services marketplace Timesaverz, among others. What sets Near.in apart is that it aggregates service providers across a number of verticals and has plans of expanding to other categories like hobby classes.
*Disclosure: GETIT Infomedia is an advertiser with Medianama