Irish entrepreneur raises €22 million for home improvment services start-up

Handybook fundraising led by AOL chairman Steve Case’s Revolution Growth

Umang Dua and Oisin Hanrahan of on-demand home improvement and cleaning service Handybook

Umang Dua and Oisin Hanrahan of on-demand home improvement and cleaning service Handybook

Thu, Jun 12, 2014, 08:41

Irish entrepreneur Oisin Hanrahan, founder of the US-based Handybook, which provides home-improvement services, has secured €22 million in development funding.

The fundraising was led by former AOL chairman Steve Case’s Revolution Growth fund and has also attracted further capital from previous investors General Catalyst Partners and Highland Capital Partners.

Mr Hanrahan (30), a native of Dublin and a finalist in the EY Entrepreneur of the Year competition, also created the annual global Undergraduate Awards. Now based in New York, the former Trinity College student founded Handybook with Umang Dua while the two were roommates at Harvard Business School.

The Series B investment round will help further develop the company, which has expanded from 50 employees earlier this year to 150, spreading to 26 US cities.

Mr Hanrahan said last night the deal was in process for about two months and closed last week. It was announced in the US yesterday.

“It’s a local business building an international brand and I don’t know anyone who has built a local business better than Steve Case, ” he said.

Handybook is designed to introduce those looking for home services including handymen, cleaners and plumbers, with reliable service providers.

“We feel very good about the vision. This is all about building an incredible customer experience and a great customer machine that works faster and faster,” Mr Hanrahan said.

Macro trends

As to the secret of early success, he said: “It is very important to make sure that what you are doing matches with the macro trends around the world. You are seeing people buying services for the first time on the web and on mobile and that has helped us advance very quickly.”

The latest round of capitalisation has brought total company funding to €36 million. Its principal rival is Homejoy, a San Francisco-based outfit that has raised some €30 million from the likes of Google Ventures and Redpoint Ventures.

“Our model is very different. What we have really focused on is to give our customers the option to tick on what time they want [the service delivery] rather than just a date,” Mr Hanrahan said.

The company has expanded by 10 per cent every week for 20 weeks and, while spreading into Toronto and Vancouver, the focus for now is on developing the service where it already exists.

Mr Hanrahan began entrepreneurial life as the founder of Clearwater Group, a real-estate development company in Budapest and Hungary, where he says he first noticed a market for hiring reliable cleaning and repair professionals.

He also founded of MiCandidate, which became the leading source for online election information across Europe in 2009.