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Helpling heads south

Posted by on Oct 23, 2014 in Articles, Services | Comments Off

Helpling, Rocket Internet’s online platform for booking local cleaners , expanded its operations to Brazil, Italy and Spain, the company announced.

The location-based service, which is headquartered in Berlin, will initially be available in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Madrid and several Italian cities. In Sao Paulo, Madrid and Milan Helpling opened offices for cleaner recruitment, and business and marketing services. The local teams are also working to bring the service to more cities within each country as soon as possible.

Benedikt Franke, Helpling co-founder, stated: ‘‘We are excited about expanding to Southern Europe and to South America. In the past month we have rapidly increased our availability in Europe. We launched our service in more than 150 cities and our local partners have already cleaned tens of thousands of flats. Now we are going across the Atlantic to Brazil, which means that we have truly become a global player.”

Until now Helpling only operated in five countries in Europe, namely Germany, France, Netherlands, Austria and Sweden.

We’ve written several stories on Helpling to date. Here they are in chronological order:

And the niche job sites keep coming… (this is behind our paywall)

Homejoy launches in U.K. and Germany

German government to compete with Homejoy, Helpling

Helpling expands at blistering pace 

German government backtracks on homecleaner site

Christo Volschenk

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Angie’s List loses less, transitions sales team

Posted by on Oct 22, 2014 in Articles, Financial results, Marketplace, Services | Comments Off

The standard  “Isn’t that great, we didn’t lose as much money this quarter!” message was part of yet another Angie’s List earnings call, this one for the third quarter of 2014.  So the Q3 $5 million net loss was far more humdrum than the earnings call discussion of the Indianapolis expansion,  and the changes in sales tactics.

The City of Indianapolis and the State of Indiana are providing about $25 million in the form of city-bond financing or tax incentives to Angie’s List so it can double its staff and expand into a larger east-Indy location. This will begin in 2015. Angie’s sales staff is in transition, and this is admittedly hurting sales.  What has been a strict division of forces by category is to become a more cohesive, multiple-product staff that will grow by 1,000 members over the next four years.

While service providers signed on or stayed on, not as many consumers bought their services as was expected in the quarter.  And, while the Angie’s List executives declined to quantify, one analyst in the audience spoke of 97 providers that left the e-commerce Big Deal platform that was supposed to lure non-members into membership.

Nor is the lure working as expected. Again, without clarifying the extent of the problem, CEO Bill Oesterle said that they “had some issues with the Big Deal performance.”  Cheerleader (err… CMO) Angie Hicks said that those consumers who joined Angie’s List as a result of the Big Deal prompt at checkout made up a “small part of all membership.”

The call was full of pointed investor and analyst questions answered with vagaries –  “looks goods,” “We’re happy with” and “significants” thrown around in place of real numbers.

SnapFix

SnapFix

The new free IOS and Android SnapFix mobile app, for example, was met with “good consumer adoption,” those of us on the call were told. Nor were general mobile-access figures forthcoming.

The positives:

  • Service provider numbers and their inventory doubled year-over-year (YOY)
  • Consumer membership jumped 25 percent YOY’
  • Marketing spend, for which the service marketplace has been severely criticized, was reduced to $22 million for the quarter
  • Total revenue was up 24 percent YOY to $81 million for the quarter

In what seemed highly unusual behavior, two analysts in the audience hinted to the Angie folks that there might be a better business model for the struggling marketplace. Angie-ans didn’t take the hint.

“Is SnapFix offered to non-members, and are you thinking about dropping the marketplace fee?” one analyst asked.

“We love the membership model, we are going to stick with that,” said Oesterle. ” These are people that are the most engaged members and they tell us by paying us. We’re certainly going to hang on to that.”

“Are you considering perhaps moving to a more short-term contract structure or Pay-for-performance model?” another asked. “Are you thinking of alternatives to entice people to join?”

Oesterle responded that they were always thinking about contract structure, but then blamed low revenue on the transitioning structure of the sales force.

In response to the mention of competitors and their contrasting business models (translation – they don’t charge people to use their sites) Oesterle said that Angie execs basically paid little notice to the competition , and actually didn’t see them because each service marketplace was a drop in the vast service-marketplace ocean.

“It will take awhile for any of us to make a big dent,” he said.

AngiesList.com has the earning release.

 

 

 

 

RentPath gets new half owner, Providence

Posted by on Oct 22, 2014 in Articles, Investors, Marketplace, Rentals | Comments Off

Providence Equity Partners, which recently sold its way out of the former AutoTrader Group, has converted at least some of that 300 percent profit into partial ownership of rental marketplaces.  We’re not surprised, as we reported on the possibility earlier this month. RentPath owner TPG, a leading global private investment firm, has just agreed to sell half its stake in RentPath and its top-trafficked ApartmentGuide and Rent.com sites to Providence.  The deal should close by the end of this year.

Here’s the announcement: 

RentPath Announces Equity Investment from Providence Equity Partners, Now Equal Owners with TPG

Atlanta, GA, October 22, 2014 – RentPath, Inc. (the Company), the premier vertical search company for apartment and home renters, announced today that Providence Equity Partners (Providence), a leading global private equity firm focused on media, communications, education and information companies, has agreed to purchase a stake in the Company from existing owner TPG, a leading global private investment firm.

Under the terms of the agreement, Providence and TPG will own equal shares of RentPath, with management continuing to also have a stake in the company. No other deal terms were disclosed. The transaction is expected to close by the end of the year.

“We are thrilled to have Providence join TPG in owning RentPath, and extremely gratified by the vote of confidence in our business reflected by their investments,” said Charles Stubbs, CEO of RentPath. “Having two of the preeminent private equity companies investing in and guiding our growth will help us drive even greater value to our consumers and advertisers.”

“RentPath is an exceptional company with a strong leadership position in the online rental property marketplace,” said Michael Dominguez, a Managing Director at Providence.  “We are excited by the opportunity to back RentPath’s talented management team and help support the many growth opportunities they are pursuing.  The business has a similar marketplace model to AutoTrader Group, another successful Atlanta-based online company that we helped to grow and succeed.  We look forward to partnering with Charles and the team at TPG to add lasting value to the company.”

“Working with management, we have transformed RentPath during the short time we have owned it, but also remain excited about the prospects for continued growth in partnership with Providence,” said David Trujillo, partner, TPG. “This transaction allows us to return significant value to our partners, while retaining a meaningful and equal ownership position in this vibrant enterprise.”

TPG first invested in RentPath in July 2011. Under TPG’s stewardship, RentPath has transitioned from a largely print-based rental resource to a pure digital media company. During this time, RentPath acquired former eBay subsidiary Rent.com, as well as Lovely, the first mobile-powered end-to-end rental marketplace.

Moelis & Company served as lead financial advisor with support from BofA Merrill Lynch, and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP served as legal counsel to RentPath. Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP served as legal counsel to Providence.

About RentPath

RentPath, Inc., a leading digital media company, has a long-standing heritage in the real estate industry of empowering millions of people nationwide to find apartments and houses for rent.  RentPath’s category-leading brands include Apartment Guide, Rent.com, Rentals.com, RentalHouses.com, LiveLovely.com, and New Home Guide.  All total, its network of websites reaches over 7 million unduplicated unique visitors monthly.

The company’s flagship brand, Apartment Guide, is the most trusted rental resource that connects apartment consumers to their ideal place to live. With an unmatched search capability, amplified by constantly refined tools and industry insights, Apartment Guide provides consumers with a clear and simple guide to apartment living through content-rich apartment listings in a user-friendly format with Internet, mobile and social media solutions.  Leading the industry with first-to-market mobile introductions of iPad™, iPhone® and Android™ applications, as well as Certified Resident Ratings and Reviews® and AG Sites™, Apartment Guide’s multi-platform search capability allows renters and property managers to connect wherever they are, whenever they want, in the medium that works best for them. The brand’s commitment to maximizing owner and manager value makes Apartment Guide a leading multi-family housing industry partner.

RentPath is headquartered in Norcross, Georgia (outside of Atlanta).  For more information, visit www.rentpath.com, www.apartmentguide.com, www.rent.com, or www.livelovely.com.   For additional insight on moving and more, visit Apartment Guide’s blog and connect with Apartment Guide on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and Google+.

 About Providence Equity Partners

Providence Equity Partners is the world’s leading global private equity firm focused on equity investments in media, communications, education, and information companies. The firm manages funds with over $40 billion in commitments and has invested in more than 140 companies globally since its inception in 1989. Providence is headquartered in Providence, RI and also has offices in New York, London, Hong Kong, Beijing, and New Delhi. Visit www.provequity.com for more information.

About TPG

TPG is a leading global private investment firm founded in 1992 with $66 billion of assets under management and offices in San Francisco, Fort Worth, Austin, Dallas, Houston, New York, Beijing, Hong Kong, London, Luxembourg, Melbourne, Moscow, Mumbai, São Paulo, Shanghai, Singapore and Tokyo.  TPG has extensive experience with global public and private investments executed through leveraged buyouts, recapitalizations, spinouts, growth investments, joint ventures and restructurings.  The firm’s investments span a variety of industries including healthcare, energy, industrials, consumer/retail, technology, media & communications, software, financial services, travel, entertainment and real estate.  For more information visit www.tpg.com.

 

SmartRecruiters links to LinkedIn

Posted by on Oct 21, 2014 in Articles, Mobile, Recruitment | Comments Off

Cloud recruiting system SmartRecruiters has more deeply integrated LinkedIn into its services for hiring firms. Now LinkedIn profiles will be viewable on the SmartRecruiter platform, and a search of LinkedIn will tell recruiters which candidates are already in the SmartRecruiter database. LinkedIn job posting via SmartRecruiter will be easily enabled, and any LinkedIn member will be apply to any job post within the SmartRecruiter platform and with integration of his or her LinkedIn profile.

Here’s the announcement:

SmartRecruiters and LinkedIn Expand Integration

SmartRecruiters Becomes a More Comprehensive Applicant Tracking System for LinkedIn Sourcing and Recruiting

SAN FRANCISCO, CA–(Marketwired – Oct 21, 2014) – SmartRecruiters, the company that empowers the new way of hiring, today announced an expansion of its integration with LinkedIn, which operates the world’s largest professional network on the Internet with more than 313 million members in over 200 countries and territories. SmartRecruiters, as a Certified Talent Solutions Partner, provides organizations with more seamless management of their LinkedIn-related sourcing and recruiting activities.

“Companies are demanding comprehensive solutions to improve recruiting performance,” said Jerome Ternynck, CEO of SmartRecruiters. “Traditional ATS tools are siloed, ineffective and prevent recruiters from collaborating to engage the best candidates. Our integration with LinkedIn redefines ATS integration and brings our customers the solutions they need to find the right people to propel their business forward.”

This expanded integration creates multiple benefits for recruiters, hiring teams, and candidates. It includes:

  • LinkedIn Cross System Awareness: Joint SmartRecruiters and LinkedIn Recruiter customers can now both easily view LinkedIn member profile data and recruiter activity directly within the SmartRecruiters platform and also know when a candidate already exists within SmartRecruiters while sourcing within LinkedIn. This not only allows a recruiter to quickly find candidates in LinkedIn but also easily bring them into SmartRecruiters for evaluation by the entire hiring team.
  • Quick Post for LinkedIn: Any SmartRecruiters customer can easily purchase and post an open position to LinkedIn. Pro customers can utilize their pre-purchased LinkedIn job slots directly from within the SmartRecruiters Store, reaching LinkedIn’s 313 million members as potential candidates.
  • LinkedIn Apply: Any LinkedIn member can quickly apply for an open position simply by connecting their LinkedIn profile to the position within the SmartRecruiters hiring platform. By using LinkedIn Apply combined with SmartRecruiters’ innovative design, customers recognize an industry-leading 44 percent click-to-apply ratio.

“LinkedIn continues to integrate with leading recruitment platforms that complement LinkedIn Talent Solutions,” said Scott Roberts, Head of Enterprise Business Development at LinkedIn. “We recognize SmartRecruiters as a leader and we welcome the opportunity to serve joint customers in their efforts to acquire top talent and to help candidates find great opportunities.”

To learn more, visit www.smartrecruiters.com/linkedin and register for the live webinar “LinkedIn for SmartRecruiters” on October 28 at 10am PT.

About SmartRecruiters
SmartRecruiters empowers a new way of hiring with a one-stop shop cloud platform that makes it possible for smart businesses to find and hire great people. The centralized workspace spans the entire recruiting process, including deep integration of a marketplace where a company’s best recruitment partners are never more than a few clicks away. Unlike traditional outdated systems, SmartRecruiters delivers a collaborative experience for hiring teams where they can successfully discover, engage and close top talent. More than 70,000 companies including 1-800-FLOWERS, Associated Materials, Goodwill, NAPA Auto Parts, NewsCred and The Onion rely on SmartRecruiters to hire enough of the right people fast enough to support their business goals. Founded in 2010, SmartRecruiters is backed by Mayfield and Rembrandt Ventures and is based in San Francisco, CA. To learn more, visit www.smartrecruiters.com.

 

Yelp adds bookings for hotels, wineries

Posted by on Oct 21, 2014 in Articles, Marketplace, Social | Comments Off

By way of its one-year-old Yelp Platform for site transactions, the online review giant has gone beyond restaurant reservations to the ability to book hotels and winery tours or tastings. Food delivery options have grown as well, with the collaboration of services by Eat Street, ChowNow and Order.In. Hotel reservations, by Yelp app or desktop, are enabled by Hipmunk. CellarPass collaboration makes winery bookings possible.

yelp winery res app“We’re continuing to add new partners and categories of business in order to bring consumers more ways to transact directly on Yelp and drive more leads to local businesses,” Yelp blogged.

About 28,000 businesses in all major US markets are available for booking on Yelp Platform, and 250,000 transactions have occurred in the past quarter. More than half of those were by way of mobile device.

While Yelp hasn’t clarified exactly what’s next on the booking drawing board, perhaps renters-to-be will eventually have an opportunity to schedule a tour of an apartment community; maybe car shoppers will be able to book a test drive of their favorite vehicle – presumably after reading the Yelp reviews of the apartment communities or  the local auto dealers.

Yelp’s Official Blog has more. 

Schibsted hits front page over user data

Posted by on Oct 21, 2014 in Articles, Big Data, Strategy | Comments Off

Big Data equals Big Headlines. So, it seems. Well, at least in Norway it hit the headlines of a newspaper not owned by Schibsted this week. In the Monday edition of Dagens Næringsliv, a nationwide business paper, the headline all over the front page read: “Schibsted sees you”.

It went on to say: “Norway’s biggest media company gathered 136,000 bits of information on one person in one year…”.

A reporter of the newspaper, Björn Eckblad, had written to Schibsted and asked for all information the company had collected on him via his SPiD account. After a couple of weeks a big envelop arrived from Schibsted, with all the details Schibsted had collected on it’s Cassandra servers.

His subsequent article, which has a critical undertone, reported what had happened, but also asked why it was necessary to collect all this information on him. The data gave a complete picture of what he had read and what he had searched for in the Schibsted universe.

We asked Lars Vinden, data protection officer at Schibsted, whether the company received more enquiries after the article about the Big Data collected by Schibsted. He said Schibsted had received enquiries that ran into the double figures. And that Schibsted replied to the enquiries in print, because it was required to do so.

Today Schibsted carried a story (here) on its site on how Schibsted helps the user to get a better experience by collecting data.

The newspaper then did a follow-up story, telling its readers exactly how and what to ask for to get the information from Schibsted. It also reported on new, tougher measures which come out of the E.U..

The story was well done, and we can imagine that others might copy the reporter. The fact that the report was placed behind the paywall, might have limited its impact.

Inman Startup Alley names members

Posted by on Oct 21, 2014 in Articles, Marketplace, Real estate | Comments Off

The first eleven innovative startups named to Inman News’ Real Estate Connect NYC Startup Alley have just been named.

Here’s the announcement:

Inman News Announces the Real Estate Connect NYC Startup Alley

Emeryville, CA (October 21, 2014) – Inman News®, the leader in independent real estate and technology news, announced the first 11 companies that will participate in Startup Alley at Real Estate Connect® New York City, January 27-30. More companies will be announced in the coming weeks.

Startup Alley is a sponsorship opportunity available to the newest companies to enter real estate tech. These companies are breaking new ground and the Founders will be there to demonstrate their cutting-edge technology to over 2,000 of the sharpest minds in the industry. Real estate and technology leaders will meet at Real Estate Connect NYC in January to discuss How to Build It  – a theme that puts the focus on creating the next big thing. Companies featured in Startup Alley are today’s promising companies doing just that.

“Each year, the most promising technology companies share their vision for improving real estate at Startup Alley,” said Brad Inman, Publisher, Inman News. “There’s no better place for these changemakers to showcase their products and vision than Real Estate Connect NYC, where thousands of leaders in real estate will gather to talk about How to Build It.”

Companies featured in Startup Alley will include:

AgentPair AgentPair
You’re a busy real estate agent. The AgentPair mobile app will make you busier. Real time leads a touch away. Schedule tours, share your ETA, and improve customer service. Download our home tour app now and open the door to happine$$.
AM Open House AM Open House
AM Open House is the most efficient Open House management app. Using a simple interface that keeps track of your properties, consumer and broker Open Houses, the app allows buyers, or brokers, to easily sign in and sign out. Available on multiple platforms, this app enhances the Open House experience nationwide.
CurbCall CurbCall
Curb Call is a mobile app that allows curbside real estate buyers to request showings on-demand, from nearby real estate agents. Agents can choose when and where to be available. Brokerages anywhere in the world can license the app for their agents to use.
Fast Forward Stories Fast Forward Stories
Fast Forward Stories provides affordable real estate content to reach the on-demand digital customer. The service delivers hundreds of brand-ready “explainer videos” clarifying key real estate concepts for homebuyers and sellers on websites, social networks and mobile apps. They offer video libraries, languages, branding and technology options ranging from local brokerages to large national enterprises.
Fuel451 Fuel451
Fuel451’s technology has the power to learn your ​customers’ online behavior. We take what we learn to find you new customers across the Internet. How do we reach them? We create a dynamic ad with your message and display it across top websites, so your name and brand is top of mind for both buyers and sellers. ​
HomeBinder HomeBinder
HomeBinder is an online home management tool that also delivers valuable reports at the time of home sale. HomeBinder helps homeowners store all their home/property/project/contractor information in one place, get reminders for maintenance items, perform home inventory and enhances the process of selling your home when it is time.
Real Estate Ally Real Estate Ally
Real Estate Ally is a zero-data-entry management tool to empower brokers to build better businesses. We use MLS data to create simple, powerful metric dashboards that instantly show how your brokerage is performing. With REAlly, staying on top of your business is as quick and easy as checking Twitter.
Sindeo Sindeo
Introducing Sindeo, a modern Mortgage Advisor. We’re creating a transparent, high-tech mortgage experience paired with stellar service. We work with borrowers to understand their goals, find the right loan and close at blazing speeds. Borrowers get a hassle-free mortgage. REALTORS® get a dependable partner. Everyone gets peace of mind.
SpeakingPhoto SpeakingPhoto
SpeakingPhoto lets you easily turn your pictures into stories. This free App available for iPhone and Android lets you add voice-overs to your photos and combine them into a slideshow that can be shared on social media or through text and email in just minutes.
Yapmo Agent Yapmo Agent
Yapmo Agent is the most comprehensive, easy-to-use tool for agent collaboration leading to enhanced recruiting, increased sales, and improved company culture. Agents share listings, referrals, vendor recommendations, and more with targeted user alerts. Yapmo Agent also integrates seamlessly with existing software giving agents centralized access to all their business tools.
Zumper Zumper
Zumper.com is a new destination site for apartment rentals, bringing real-time search to renters without the spam. ZumperPro is next-generation mobile software for landlords and agents enabling them, for the first time ever, to market listings directly at the property.

Real Estate Connect New York City will take place at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square from January 27-30, 2015. The best and the brightest in real estate and technology are expected to attend. For more information on how to launch your startup at Real Estate Connect or other sponsorship/exhibitor opportunities, please contact sales@inman.com. For information on how to receive a press pass, please contactmaya@inman.com.

About Inman News | Inman News is the leading source of independent real estate news, information, advice, research, technology, opinion and commentary for industry professionals and consumers alike. Inman’s award winning, unbiased and hard-hitting stories are known throughout the real estate industry. Agents and brokers globally trust Inman News as their first source of accurate, innovative and timely daily real estate news. For more information, visit www.inman.com

U.K. court decision to raise costs for classifieds?

Posted by on Oct 21, 2014 in Articles, Fraud, Scams and Abuse, Marketplace | Comments Off

In what media called a landmark decision, a court in the U.K. ordered Internet providers to block six websites selling counterfeit goods (rip-offs of luxury brands). The case was brought by Richemont, owner and marketer of luxury brands, such as Cartier and Montblanc watches.

The court decision may force online marketplaces all over Europe to step up the vetting of listings to keep counterfeit products from their platforms…

This content is available to Classified Intelligence Report clients.

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The man behind MercadoLibre

Posted by on Oct 20, 2014 in Latin America, Marketplace | Comments Off

There are many executives who use a brand to become famous. For Argentinian Marcos Galperin, founder of MercadoLibre, “the EBay of Latin America,” it’s exactly the opposite. “We want the company to be famous. The lower our personal profile, the better,” he told BBC News recently.

At a young company, which has just turned 15 years old, Marcos Galperin goes to work at MercadoLibre’s main office in Buenos Aires wearing jeans and trainers. And according to BBC, he certainly doesn’t arrive in a chauffeur-driven limousine.

The BBC story features a side of Mercado’s founder that many investors and executives might not know. There are also other details about Mercado, which make the read worthwhile.

To read the full story click here.

 

Leboncoin wins “Core business innovation” with a robot

Posted by on Oct 20, 2014 in Articles, Strategy | Comments Off

‘Driven by innovation’ was the main theme when Schibsted boss Rolv Erik Ryssdal presented to leaders in the company at the annual K3 Leadership conference in Barcelona on Wednesday last week.

LeBonCoin won the category “Core business innovation” with its Serenity – a robot which makes the ad review process much faster, and improves the quality, thereby avoiding fraud. This was the first time in Schibsted Media Group that a robot was able to make decisions on its own, lifting the automated reviewing process to new levels, according to the jury.

A happy Renaud Bruyeron of LeBonCoin received the prize. The Serenity product also holds a potential for significant cost savings across the group. The project is already bringing good results, and other organizations in Schibsted have already started using the same technology.

In the category “New Business Innovation” Aftenposten in Oslo won with its new Aftenposten+. Here is the link to the press release.

Schibsted has also produced a new report with the simple name The Future Report. The company created a special site called Schibsted Future Report, which gives a valuable view into the thinking of the media company. It is a very good way to celebrate the 175 years of Schibsted history.