Berlin-based startup Helpling may not yet be a household name, but bolstered by a massive amount of external financial backing, the cleaning marketplace went from nothing more than an idea to a global firm in just six months. Here is how they did it.
Helpling does not employ cleaners, but rather connects independent cleaners with potential customers. Those interested in having something cleaned specify the date and location and someone will show up and do the job. Pretty simple. All told, the service costs customers 14,90 Euro per hour for a single booking or 12,90 Euro per hour if they opt to make it a regular occurrence. What is interesting about this particular service is that certain countries offer customers tax reimbursement, but the percentage greatly varies, ranging from 0% in Italy, Austria, the Netherlands, and Spain to 20% in Germany to 50% in France and Sweden. For their part, Helpling chooses to take a 20% commission on the hourly rate, which covers costs like liability, marketing, and other expenses. To date, the company reports more than 50,000 households have taken advantage of the service, while more than 5,000 cleaners have used it to find work.
Raising external funding is often useful when it comes to getting a startup off the ground, but most companies can only dream of the sum that Helpling has taken in to date. Last December, the startup announced that they had raised 13.5 million Euro in a Series A round and then followed that up in March with a whopping 56.5 million Euro in a Series B. It is perhaps unsurprising that Rocket Internet, along with Lakestar, Kite Ventures, and Mangrove Capital Partners, were the investors who were unafraid to pump such a serious amount of cash into a still-young startup.
This kind of external funding can buy quite a bit and, in the case of Helpling, turned a mere idea into an multinational company within a matter of weeks. Helpling launched on March 29, just 80 days after the idea was conceived, and, within four weeks, had expanded to the major German cities. Within another four, the startup had already gone international, branching out to a host of countries, including Italy, France, the Netherlands, Austria, Canada, Brazil, UAE, Australia, Singapore, Sweden, and Spain. The service is largely limited to the major cities in each of those countries, but the startup says that they are operating out of 200 cities and counting.