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PROFESSIONAL SERVICES/LEGAL | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong
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On-demand services mobile app OKSir secures $5M in funding

Users can already choose from more than 6,000 providers.

When one Hong Kong woman lost her keys and was locked out of her home at 2 AM, she avoided the hassle of waiting till morning to phone a locksmith through the on-demand services mobile app OKSir. There, she was matched with a service provider willing to fix her problem quickly at an agreeable price.

“We actually arranged a keymaker in 30 minutes to her doorstep," said Arun Kapoor, CEO and founder of OKSir, which went live October in HK, the app's first regional territory and its new headquarters in East Asia.

The mobile app, which is available in Android and iOS, was born in India, where it is available in five major cities and fulfills up to 3,000 service needs daily.

In HK, OKSir users can already choose from more than 6,000 providers alone that offer upwards of 300 services spanning errands, events, finance and legal, healthcare, travel, professionals, beauty and housekeeping.

"We are the Uber of services,” said Kapoor, referring to the popular mobile app that connects riders with driver-partners.

This robust provider pool has helped draw investor interest to OKSir. This includes C.P. Batheja, managing director of electronics and telecommunications conglomerate Conplex International Ltd, who Kapoor said has personally committed a US$5m investment in the Hong Kong version of the app.

The HK version of OKSir is not a copy of the original in India. There are some HK-exclusive services such as Chinese fortune-telling, China visa processing, Chinese medicine therapy, and postnatal care.

With what the company sees as a successful foray in Hong Kong, it said "an expansion to the world is in the works." Its HK base of regional operations now employs a team of more than fifty qualified local talents in Hung Hom, which the company expects to increase in the coming months.

Sharing his vision for OKSir, the CEO said the app tries to address the concerns of people who find it difficult to find service providers, those who have just newly arrived in a city and do not know whom to rely on, and want providers with quality, reasonably priced work.

The company said households across the city, especially those with needs to take care of the elderly, stand to benefit a great deal from OKSir, as the app places great emphasis on elderly support with respect to the city's aged economy.

Kapoor said the company launched in Hong Kong due to the readiness of the market to spend online, citing how nearly 9 out of 10 smartphone users have researched a product or service online, he said, and that 11% of the total salary of Hong Kongers is spent on domestic services.

But beyond tapping into a growing market in HK, OKSir found it important to attract more qualified service providers. The company established the OKMen platform, a training and rewards membership of sorts. Providers can join the network can boost their branding without shelling out cash for marketing, Kapoor said, and can be assured of receiving fair prices for their services as well as training and certification opportunities.

“All vendors are screened for legitimacy, service quality, and professionalism, and receive training in uniform operating procedures, adding a much-needed degree of trust for customers.” said Kapoor.

OKSir also has a unique ranking and feedback system, which lets vendors know if they’ve performed their tasks well and discover areas of improvement.

The company said service vendors in HK have reported a significant increase in business opportunities and engagements, particularly among those who have very few promotional avenues.

Apart from independent contractors, a number of service companies have also signed up for the platform. Among them are Far East Laundry Group Limited, WaiKa Dry Cleaning and Laundry, Wah Sing Environment Engineering Company, Pestokill Pest Specialist Limited, Environmental Energy Pest Control Company, and One and One Cleaning Services Limited.

Meanwhile, on the app user side, OKSir packs a lot of conveniences: It accepts several modes of payment and available 24/7 service. The app also claims to have the widest reach in all service categories, making it a “one-stop shop” for service seekers.

And for Kapoor, OKSir’s mission of "enriching daily lives of people so that they can spend quality time with their families," is something that each and every employee strives to achieve - starting with himself.

"I myself drove as a driver when we started,” recounted the CEO and founder, “We were short on drivers and it was an urgent need." 

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