START-UP PROFILE: StarOfService, the French Marketplace Conquering the World

Courtesy of StarOfService

StarOfService connects service requesters with the ideal professional through very precise matching. Created in 2012, this French start-up is now on the rise and aims to become the leading service marketplace in the world. We spoke with Lucas Lambertini, co-founder and CEO.

Who hasn’t struggled all day to find the perfect professional? Who hasn’t dreamed of a simple system to find any service professional at any time? Whether it’s pruning a tree, organizing an event or installing an electrical system, finding the right fit can often be a real challenge. It was precisely from a personal story (the need to quickly find someone to prune a cherry tree) that Lucas Lambertini, CEO and co-founder of StarOfService, came up with the idea of creating an online platform to find the right professional at the right time, in the right place, at the right price. For Lucas, StarOfService responds to a real gap in the market.

This type of offer already exists in the product field with Amazon, Leboncoin, eBay. On the other hand, for services, there is not much except directories and classified ads sites. There was clearly a market opportunity for us.

The start-up was launched in 2012 with 3 partners (Lucas, a former business school classmate and a developer). They did a test of the service in Paris first. The goal from the start was very ambitious: to become the Amazon of services, explains Lucas,

Our vision is to become tomorrow’s leading marketplace for services in the world.

Lucas Lambertini, CEO StarOfService

The company then turned to fundraising and managed to convince major investors in the sector to join the adventure. First with 400,000 euros from BlaBlaCar in 2014, then a million euros in 2015 from German and French investment funds. A final round in 2016 brought other funds with the addition of the former CEO of Just Eat onto the company’s board. In total, the company raised over 10 million euros.

Today, StarOfService offers 900 services and 1 million professionals in over 130 countries. In France, the platform has nearly 200,000 professionals. 20 million requests are posted each month. From 3 partners in 2012, the start-up has now grown to 120 employees worldwide and is expected to be profitable this year. The company has even purchased an advertising campaign for French media and television such as TF1 or BFM TV.

How Does it Work?

Lucas explains:

Our matching technology is similar to that of dating sites. Our platform offers the ideal pro, the one that meets all your criteria. We’re really moving towards singularity.

Service requesters post their requests on the platform that displays the professionals who meet all their requirements. The applicant can then compare prices and opinions and make the choice to hire the right professional.

The economic model is based on payment for interaction by the professional.

The professional on StarOfService only pays when service requesters contact him by sending a personal message via the platform. The idea is to get closer to the signed contract. Then it is up to the professional to convert this relationship into an effective contract.

For Lucas, the challenge is to be able to charge a commission on the final service contract.

Which is quite easy to do when it comes to products. And not yet too easy to do in the field of services.

For the time being, the company receives a fee from the professional for the connection, which differs according to the nature of the service. Between roughly 5 euros for example for yoga classes, and 25 euros for a renovation.

For the professional, the model is beneficial as it provides, in addition, digital visibility to craftsmen who are not very digitally oriented, allowing them to find new opportunities and increase their turnover.

The American Market

The future looks bright for the company, who plans to open other services in 2019 including in the «drones» category, a very trendy sector at the moment. Another challenge is to tackle the American market, where their biggest competitors are present. This does not seem to worry Lucas who is confident in his product and teams.

We know that our competitors are Amazon, Facebook Services and Google Home Services which is growing. But we’re trying to do what Airbnb did when they started. At the beginning, Airbnb was not alone on the market and yet they won in the end. We want to develop a better quality product that offers a better customer experience. And we have teams who believe in it and who want to beat historical players in their sector throughout the world.

The company has just announced it is now profitable.


About the Author

Journalist and the Editor-in-Chief for DirectIndustry e-magazine. She has years of experience in business issues for various media including France 24, Associated Press, Radio France…

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