Meet hipages, or short for Home Improvement Pages, an Australia-based online portal for matching homeowners with tradesmen (or affectionally known as ‘tradies’ colloquially in the country).
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, the company has recently announced securing A$6 million (US$5.6 million) from Ellerston Capital, KTM Capital and Australian Ethical Investment to further reach out to a potential market of 8.3 million homeowners in Australia, by increasing their marketing and public relations efforts.
In addition, Robert Sharon-Zipser, Co-founder and COO, hipages Group, shared that the firm has seen a growing revenue at an “average of 30 per cent per annum”, and that the new injection of funds will help “accelerate growth”.
Previously known as Viteknologies, and later rebranded to hipages Group in 2012, the 10-year-old company generated more than A$15 million (US14 million) in revenue in fiscal year 2013. According to The Australian Financial Review, the website charges ‘tradies’ a member’s fee.
With about 90 employees in its payroll, hipages Group will also look to “invest in new staff and features on the site”.
David Vitek, Co-founder and CEO, hipages Group, told e27, “After 10 years of hard work growing the business this A$6 million vote of confidence from some of Australia’s most respected investment funds is validation that we have solved a real problem for consumers.”
At the moment, the website claims to attract more than one million visitors each month, and connect more than 40,000 ‘tradies’ with 500,000 consumer members.
Vitek said that there is a strong demand for these trade professionals in Australia. He added, “Our approach is to source three tradespeople for the homeowner, who get in touch and provide a quote for their job. This is popular as people lead busy lives and appreciate the convenience our service provides.”
However, there is also an issue of trust at play. He explained that hipages screens every business that lists on the site, “This ensures that the business is registered and has all the appropriate licenses where appropriate.”
While there might be demand in Asia or even neighbouring country New Zealand, hipages only has eyes for home market Australia. Vitek shared, “… we believe (that) there’s potential for significant growth in consumer awareness of our service and product (in Australia).”
In Southeast Asia, there is a similar Singapore-based home improvement portal Kluje.com, which presented at Echelon Singapore Satellite 2014 and will be exhibiting at Echelon Startup Marketplace this June 10-11.