Italy-based services marketplace ​​Ernesto aims to expand internationally, with France, the U.K. and Portugal its initial target markets, according to founder and CEO Riccardo de Bernardinis (LinkedIn profile).

Ernesto aims to connect such professionals as plumbers, electricians and bricklayers with consumers seeking their services.

On the site, these professionals can create a profile, list the services they offer and receive requests for quotes from potential customers.

Its business model is pay-per-lead, with registered professionals paying Ernesto to obtain the contact details (email and phone number) of users requesting a service.

Founded in 2017, Ernesto joined Vittoria Hub, the accelerator program of Vittoria Assicurazioni, in 2020, integrating it into the insurance company’s website and app. In 2021, it raised €310,000 (€332,000) in a seed round, valuing the company at €3.0 million.

To date, users have made 115,000 requests for services on Ernesto, according to De Bernardinis.

28-year-old De Bernardinis said he got the idea for Ernesto while trying to find someone to fix a broken pipe in his own home.

“I realized I had no idea how to find the expert I needed. I searched online, but in addition to finding very few options, the greatest difficulty was choosing the professional best suited to my needs,” he told recently.

“We realized that many local professionals and businesses in Italy and other markets are dissatisfied with current marketing tools to find new customers. Often, using Google Ads, professionals end up spending large amounts of money without getting any return on investment.”

De Bernardinis’ first book, “It’s Never Too Early,” will be published later this month. It is aimed at young people seeking to start their own business.

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