Skin in the Game


I was in my final semester in college, back in 2015. I didn’t sit for any of the pre-placement talks or interviews since I was leaning towards pursuing my Masters. There was this one, however, that I did end up attending. And it is during the course of that pre-placement talk that I got to know about Urban Company (formerly UrbanClap). Abhiraj had come to conduct the talk, and over the course of the next hour, he shared UC’s vision of disrupting the home services space.

He spoke about how they wanted to  empower individual service professionals to become micro-entrepreneurs and how the team, which was 15-member strong at that time, was going to make it happen. Right then I knew that I wanted to be a part of UC’s vision.

Cut to a couple of months later, I graduated from college, I didn’t pursue my Masters and instead joined the business development team at UC.

I remember sometime during my first couple of weeks, the BD team was scraping to get the momentum going. At the time, one of our oversights said something that has held me in good stead and something that I keep going back to whenever I find myself in a tough spot.

He said, “Guys, most people would be lucky to impact even a couple of lives over the course of their entire career, and you have the opportunity to do that for hundreds of professionals and their families every week.”

I didn’t understand the gravity of what he said at the time, and it took me a while to experience what that really meant.

Over time as we worked towards setting up our partners for success while ensuring that every customer is having a stellar experience, a lot of our partner’s success stories started coming in. I had professionals that I had onboarded, telling me how their lives had completely turned around after joining UC. How they had been able to provide better opportunities for their kids and how they had been able to take care of their families and support their extended families as well. We hear numerous such stories everyday. It’s heartening to see the impact created on our professionals’ lives and this is what keeps us going.

For us, a large part of driving that impact comes from having ownership in the success of UC. ESOPs have played a large part in instilling that ownership across the team and have helped gradually in building a culture where we build the organization, like it was our own. I am no expert on ESOP policy, since the only first hand experience I’ve had is at Urban Company. What I do know is that I have skin in the game, and that’s what enables me to go above and beyond everyday.”

Over the course of the last 5 years, I have covered 6 different roles in 2 different verticals across 5 different major cities. In the same duration, Urban Company has spread its foot print to 3 more international geographies and 18 cities in India, and it still feels like Day 1!

What keeps us going though, are not the insanely smart people we get to work with everyday, or the thrill of hitting new milestones. It’s the sense of responsibility that we have towards our customers & our partners and that is the one thing that has been constant since day 1, in an otherwise insane roller coaster ride.

We still have millions of professionals to empower and millions of customers to delight. Whatever may be the case, I’m glad I decided to skip that lecture and attended that talk.