UrbanYou connects homeowners with cleaners and gardeners and includes a built-in booking and payments system.
It was founded by former Yahoo executives Noga Edelstein (LinkedIn profile) and Elke Keeley (LinkedIn profile) in 2014. It operated predominantly in Sydney and Melbourne. The site expanded to Brisbane last year, through the acquisition of rival HomeHello.
The consolidation of UrbanYou and OneFlare is expected to help accelerate the latter’s growth trajectory over rival sites HiPages — which is backed by News Corporation, the majority owner of Domain rival REA Group — ServiceSeeking and AirTasker.
“We looked at them very closely toward the end of 2017 when it became obvious that, of the million-or-so visitors we had coming to OneFlare for expert help, an increasing number wanted us to provide an end-to-end service.
“Customers didn’t just want quotes, which we do brilliantly; they wanted someone to select a quality service provider for them, make a booking, manage payment, and guarantee the work.”
Edelstein and Keeley will continue to operate UrbanYou as a separate entity to OneFlare, but the two businesses will share technology. Businesses registered on one site will also have access to the other’s customer base and vice versa.
The online trades and services market in Australia is still highly fragmented, due to issues around trust and the quality of workmanship. OneFlare has tried to combat this by verifying the licenses and certifications of the businesses registered to its site, but distrust of the sector remains.
For real estate groups Domain and REA Group, backing the winning horse could prove especially lucrative, with the home improvement market in Australia estimated to be around $130 billion AUD.