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On-demand is in demand: How Uber has helped this hot start-up hit 30,000 hours

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Noga Edelstein and Elke Keeley

On-demand cleaning, gardening and handyman service provider, UrbanOutsource recently hit 30,000 booked hours across its range of services as the on-demand service sector takes flight in Australia.

The start-up, which received $500,000 worth of venture capital in an oversubscribed raise in October 2015, has enjoyed tremendous growth (30 per cent quarter-on-quarter with Q4 growth hitting a record 42 per cent) over the past 12 months.

Research firm BIA/Kelsey estimated that the total market for in-home on-demand services was worth as much as $465 billion at the start of the year. In addition to UrbanOutsource, there are fast growth on-demand service providers across all categories including; Suppertime (food delivery), Divvy (parking), and Airtasker (general tasks) to name a few.

Riding the Uber wave to success

Co-founder of UrbanOutsource, Noga Edelstein believes the Uber-effect has played a major part in that growth.“There’s no doubt that brands like Uber have played a key role in educating Australians about the on-demand service space. More and more people are starting to see the convenience and cost savings that can be garnered and it’s exciting to be a part of that,” she said.

Over 80 per cent of first time customers book a repeat service with UrbanOutsource, which Noga believes is critical to the successful growth of the brand.

“We insist on putting customer service first which our customers value immensely, allowing the brand loyalty to follow naturally,” Noga highlighted.

“Currently servicing Sydney-wide, we have plans to expand into new markets in 2016, and this will be enabled with the launch of our sleek new platform in the coming months,” she added.

The UrbanOutsource team
The UrbanOutsource team

It’s not just the service providers that are benefiting from the sector boom. Service professionals working with UrbanOutsource have also experienced significant growth in recent months, with some even doubling their business revenue.

Wagner Neves from Clean For Good said, “I’ve been running a cleaning business with varying success for the past two years. In the four months since partnering with UrbanOutsource, I’ve doubled my revenue while being able to implement a working schedule that meets my work-life requirements.”

Who are the people behind UrbanOutsource?

Noga Edelstein and Elke Keeley are the co-founders of UrbanOutsource, an on-demand marketplace that makes it quick and easy to instantly book a trusted household services such as cleaners and gardeners.

A lawyer by training, Noga worked at top-tier firms Allens in Sydney and Slaughter and May in London, before moving in-house to become General Counsel at Yahoo!7.

Elke brings over 15 years’ experience in marketing and communications, and has lead teams throughout Asia-Pacific to deliver multiple award winning campaigns, propelling the profiles of brands such as Samsung, Coca-Cola, Apple and Yahoo!7.

It was at Yahoo! that they caught the start-up bug, and after bonding over their difficulties in finding a good cleaner, the concept for UrbanOutsource was born.

Launching two years ago, Noga started pitching UrbanOutsource at start-up competitions and the business quickly started gaining traction when they won the Women Pitch event, as well as being a top-10 finalist at Sydney’s premier startup event, SydStart.

UrbanOutsource is a Portfolio Company in Heads over Heels, a prestigious organisation supporting women in high-growth businesses.

Elke Keeley and Noga Edelstein, UrbanOutsource
Elke Keeley and Noga Edelstein

How did UrbanOutsource come to life?

As a busy professional juggling work and family, Noga was frustrated by the time consuming process of sourcing and booking quality home help. Questioning why we can book goods online but not services, Noga looked at the trend booming internationally for on-demand. This was the “ah-ha” moment as it was only a matter of time before Aussies would be embracing the on-demand phenomenon. Then Uber arrived… and it all began.

Initially bootstrapped to prove the model and traction in an untested local market, UrbanOutsource then raised its seed funding in October last year in an oversubscribed round, and strategically partnered with marketplace experts Grand Prix Capital.

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