Irishman’s NYC start-up Handybook raises US$30m

12 Jun 2014

Oisin Hanrahan, CEO and co-founder of Handybook

Irishman Oisin Hanrahan’s New York-headquartered ‘Hailo for handymen and cleaners’ start-up Handybook has succeeded in raising US$30m (€22m) in new investment.

Handybook provides housecleaning and handyman services much the same way the app Hailo quickly provides users with taxis, via a few taps on an app.

The new investment from Steve Case’s Revolution Growth fund brings the amount raised by Handybook to US$49m. Handybook’s previous investors include General Catalyst Partners and Highland Capital Partners.

The company has seen employment growth surge from 50 to 150 staff members in the last six months and is operating its service in 18 cities across the US.

Prior to co-founding Handybook, its CEO Hanrahan worked with Dublin Web Summit founder Paddy Cosgrave on a short-lived voting website called MiCandidate.

Having extricated himself from MiCandidate, Hanrahan went to study at Harvard University, where he met Handybook co-founder Umang Dua. The other co-founders of Handybook are Weina Scott and Ignacio Leonhardt.

Describing the room they shared as “messy as hell”, Hanrahan and Dua discovered how hard it was to find someone trustworthy to clean rooms and do DIY work, such as hanging a flat-screen TV on a wall.

After raising US$50,000 in seed capital, Handybook was born.

Right time, right place: the emergence of the on-demand economy

Speaking with in December, Hanrahan said thousands of service professionals are using the Handybook platform to meet consumer demand.

“These on-demand services that you are starting to see emerge on mobile devices are just incredible. Push a button and I could have a Hailo cab pick me up from wherever I am standing to whisk me off to the airport,” Hanrahan said.

“I would say you are definitely seeing a movement where offline business models are colliding with new technology-driven services delivered by mobile apps, where efficiencies are being enjoyed at the push of a button and consumers are being amazed.”

Hanrahan said Handybook is already the dominant player in New York when it comes to getting home-cleaning services online.

He said the cleaning/handyman market Handybook targets is valued at US$50bn a year and in the same way mobile is enabling a shift away from radio cabs with Hailo, he said being in the right place at the right time is critical.

“It’s a marketplace business and it’s about hitting liquidity. Once we hit liquidity in a geography like a city that needs a technological shift it is very hard for other businesses to come in and compete with us.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years