30 year old Irish entrepreneur Oisin Hanrahan, founder of New York based Handybook has just announced a Series B funding round of $30 million in one of the largest investments in an Irish led startup this year. Handybook is a platform for booking home-improvement and cleaning services.
This investment follows hot on the heels of a $10 million round secured earlier this year. This Series B has been led by former AOL chairman Steve Case’s Revolution Growth investment fund and further capital from previous investors General Catalyst Partners and Highland Capital Partners.
Dublin born Hanrahan is a finalist in the EY Entrepreneur of the Year competition this year, dropped out of one of the most prestigious universities in the world to build Handybook. Hanrahan had been attending the MBA programme at Harvard which includes prominent Irish executives Margaret Molloy (CMO Siegel+Gale) and Stephen McIntyre (Twitter) among its graduates. Hanrahan founded Handybook with Harvard roommate Umang Dua.
This investment capital will be used to keep pace with the rapid growth the company is experiencing. Handybook has grown from 50 employees at the start of the year to just under 100 employees currently.
IrishCentral recently caught up with a very busy Oisin Hanrahan to answer some questions about one of the fastest growing Irish led startups in the world.
What kind of changes did the company/product go through in early stages?
Any company goes through iterations and Handybook was no different. We are incredibly proud of our product, including our mobile app and have been further validated by the number of users interacting with the service each day. We are constantly striving to provide the best customer experience and continue to roll out new updates to improve the Handybook experience.
What kind of growth has your company experienced?
We're experiencing incredible growth; bookings have grown 60% month over month during 2014.
How many customers do you have now?
The Handybook website and Handybook mobile app handles over 10,000 bookings a week in 26 cities across North America.
Tell us about your industry: What was it like to break into?
The home service industry is an antiquated industry that has traditionally seen very little innovation. For years, finding a cleaner involved combing through Yelp reviews or asking friends for recommendations, then calling professionals to negotiate pricing and discuss availability. With Handybook, we streamline the process so you can find a trusted, background-checked cleaner in under a minute.
How many employees do you have now?
We have just under 100 employees and thousands of freelancers across North America.
What's the biggest challenge you've faced so far? The greatest victory?
We’ve put a lot of focus over the past year on scaling the business. We built this company from the ground-up, starting in Boston and now we are in 25 markets. As we continue to expand into new markets, we consistently work to ensure our customers have the best service possible.
It’s been great seeing our thousands of professionals build their customer base, develop their own flexible work schedule and work independently. Handybook provides a platform where our professionals can maximize their earning potential without spending time on the difficult back-end logistics including marketing, finances and scheduling that was formerly so time consuming.
What's been the most important lesson?
The importance of customer service itself cannot be overstated No matter how sleek a website or app is, if you don't have a great customer service team, customers won't come back and that's what we’re most proud of, our staggering number of repeat customers. We’ve seen a real need for Handybook as evidenced by our growth that has exceeded beyond our wildest dreams.
What are your plans for 2014?
A year ago in May 2013, Handybook was in three cities: Boston, New York and San Francisco. Today, we’re in 25 cities across North America including the 12 we just launched in April: Toronto, Baltimore, Portland (OR), Sacramento, San Antonio, Orlando, San Jose, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Austin, Tampa and Denver. We look forward to continue to provide great service in these existing markets while always looking at potential growth opportunities.
What international markets do you foresee the company expanding into?
At the moment, we’re focusing on the 25 North American markets we're in, but we’re always looking to serve more customers and listen to demand. ·
What advice do you have for other people/companies starting out in your industry?
One of the best pieces of advice I’ve received was "focus on the people.” I’ve really taken this to heart and believe that Handybook is truly the sum of its parts, the parts here being our tremendous team.
How can you scale?
We spend a lot of time thinking about the markets we want to expand to and how we can offer the best possible service.
Our vision isn’t just to build a home cleaning and repair service company, but a brand that takes care of your entire home.
Who do you think are your customers?
Our customers are folks just like ourselves. We started this company because we knew how difficult it was to find a reliable, trusted cleaning and repair professional. I had been involved with real estate in college and saw how difficult it was to find responsible and reliable handymen and cleaners to fix up apartments. This continued when I moved to Boston and met Umang, my co-founder. We were living in Boston and struggling to find people we could trust to clean our typical college-style messy apartment.