independent

Friday 18 April 2014

Dubliner raises $10m for US maid start-up

DOMESTIC SERVICE: Sophie McShera plays Daisy Mason, 'Downton Abbey's' kitchen maid

DUBLINER Oisin Hanrahan has raised $10m (€7.2m) in a second round of fundraising for a start-up that plans to revolutionise how Americans book pre-approved cleaners and handymen online.

Hanrahan founded his company, called Handybook, along with Indian Umang Dua, after they met while studying in Harvard University.

They raised $2m in seed funding from General Catalyst Partners and Highland Capital Partners last year before securing a second round of support from the same backers.

"It was a competitive process," Hanrahan said, "but we went with our existing investors."

Hanhran said booking cleaners or other handymen was a "clunky, messy" process which Handybook reduced to "one click." "We've build a better way for people to buy services," he said.

He explained that Handybook approved only 3 per cent of the 100,000 service providers who had applied to be listed on its site in order to ensure that customers could rely on it.

Hanrahan declined to say how much revenue Handybook was earning but said average order values were between $85 and $90 each and thousands of bookings were taking place every week.

"We allow people book instantly online and not have to worry about whether the people who show up will do a good job," Hanrahan said.

"For three months in a row over the summer we doubled in size every month," Hanrahan said, "and we're still growing very fast." The biggest market was in New York but it was also available in Boston, San Francisco, Chicago, LA, Washington DC and Miami.

"We think this has huge international applications. It could work in London, Toronto or Dublin but we don't plan to go outside America in the next six months," he said.

Handybook has increased its staff from six to 32 in six months and expects to double again in less than half a year."

Hanrahan, a TCD economics graduate, worked in real estate in Eastern Europe before working on start-ups with Paddy Cosgrave, the founder of Dublin's Web Summit. He also worked in venture capital with Accel Partners in London.

Sunday Independent

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