Leaving the corporate sector to launch OneFlare, a national online marketplace for the home services industry, has proven to be a wise career move for its founders, recent UNSW graduates Marcus Lim and Adam Dong.
Launched in 2011, OneFlare connects customers with local services providers and facilitates the transaction between the two parties.
From cleaners and removalists to plumbers, pest controllers and electricians, the services register with their contact details and professional qualifications which are then listed on their public profile. Customers then request quotes and can pick the provider with the most competitive price.
Lim, a 2009 UNSW Co-Op Scholar and former management consultant at Deloitte, was inspired to create the website when renovating his own apartment, and found the services’ market fragmentation and lack of price transparency to be increasingly frustrating.
“I didn’t know what to look for, so I thought, ‘Why don’t we create a marketplace’?” he says.
Together with Adam Dong, a UNSW Law alumnus, he set about building the website they hoped would disrupt the current Yellow Pages directory model.
Since its launch, the website has grown significantly. Now with 10 employees, including fellow 2009 Co-Op Scholar Ken Tabuki, OneFlare has registered more than 35,000 businesses and has received in excess of $17 million worth of job requests.
The company has recently raised $500,000 from Sydney Angels Investors and has received significant grants from Commercialisation Australia and Singapore’s enterprise development agency, SPRING Singapore.
This year also saw the launch of the company’s iPhone app, which allows customers to take a photo of the job they need done while capturing their location.
“We’re now cash flow positive so this funding is really about scaling and becoming the number one marketplace for consumers and service providers to find each other,” says Lim.
“Launching OneFlare to the Australian public has been an incredible ride. We’re now looking towards moving up the value chain and moving into markets overseas.”