Tradie marketplace hipages acquires business directory StartLocal

- March 3, 2016 2 MIN READ

Just a few weeks after entering into a strategic partnership with real estate group Ray White, tradie marketplace hipages has announced its acquisition of Australian business directory StartLocal and related assets, including Home Service Engine and Aussie Tradesman User Guide. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Founded in 2008, StartLocal has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from VC firm Right Click Capital. Its database of over 180,000 verified local businesses, which receives 600,000 monthly visitors, will be integrated into the hipages offering, turning StartLocal into a two-sided marketplace that will allow customers to find quotes and book services from businesses they find on the platform.

As well as its directory and business search engine offering, StartLocal allows businesses signed up to its platform to notify consumers of sales, and send coupons and discounts.

A statement from hipages explained that the integration complements the company’s existing services across the home improvement, natural, and pet sectors and gives it “an opportunity to expand into other fields in the future.”

Brad Slade-Smith, cofounder of StartLocal, said, “Robin [Sallay] and I have worked hard to build a site that Australians can trust to help connect them with local businesses. Joining hipages will help us complete the goal of connecting all Australians with great local businesses.

“We are excited to be part of hipages mission, connecting homeowners with the best local tradies for any job they need done.”

The acquisition is the latest move in what have been a busy few months for hipages. First launched in 2004, hipages now reports generating $1.35 billion worth of jobs annually, and people are taking notice: in a deal valuing the startup at $160 million, News Corp acquired a 25 percent stake in the startup for a reported $40 million in December.

News Corp highlighted the potential for hipages to integrate with its other business assets in its Future Focused innovation event last month.

With its Realestate.com.au platform, for example, looking at how virtual reality can help prospective home buyers inspect properties and virtually renovate a room, the potential to connect in the hipages platform to help users receive instantaneous quotes is there.

The startup is already looking at this space, having partnered with Ray White Group last month. The partnership has seen hipages’ database of 70,000 qualified tradespeople working across 240 categories integrated into Ray White’s Concierge Service, giving the real estate giant’s network of buyers and sellers easy access to the hipages service.

Image: hipages cofounders David Vitek and Robert Sharon-Zipser. Source: Provided.