Zirra Spotlight On Thumbtack

Thumbtack is a platform that provides users with access to local professionals in their area for any type of job they need done, such as painters, re-modellers, music teachers, event planners, graphic artists and more. The service aims to be a simple one-stop-shop for users who need to find someone who can help them with a specific task. All professionals on the site display ratings, and after the customer enters the type of job which needs to be completed, they are provided with names of several local professionals in the area who are suitable to help. Users can then choose from those professionals and receive a free quote for the price of their services for undertaking the job.

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Thumbtack’ratings according to Zirra


Competitive Position: Thumbtack has a number of direct and indirect competitors. These include Task Rabbit, previously called RunMyErrand, which is a platform that allows users to receive help with their everyday chores. Task Rabbit was founded in 2008 and has raised $37.6 million and has acquired One Jackson and Skillslate. Another competitor is Zaarly, a marketplace for home services, which was founded in 2011 and has received $15.15 million in funding and also acquired Workables. Handy, which was previously called Handybook, is a tool which allows users to book cleaners, plumbers, handymen and other house-focused service providers, it was founded in 2012 and has received $110.7 million in funding. Handy acquired Mopp and Exec. Pro Referral, formerly called Redbeacon, connects professionals with homeowners looking to improve their home. The company was founded in 2008, has raised $7.4 million and was acquired by Home Depot in 2012.

Business & Marketing Strategy: In the last 12 months, the website has received 118.2 million visits. In the last 6 months, the site has generated an average of 9.67 million visits MoM, this compares to the previous 6 months in which the monthly average was 10.03 million, indicating on average a monthly decline. Thumbtack is effectively building communities across social media, specifically Facebook, for which they have over 500,000 likes. The company worked with OrionCKB, a digital agency, to strategize and implement an acquisition campaign to drive growth of professionals in the marketplace, in new cities and who offer niche services. OrionCKB stated that their Facebook advertising campaign generated 320,000 professionals and there was a 311% growth in total number of conversions, year-over-year. Their previous business model included Thumbtack taking commission from a completed job, but the company found it difficult to track the finished jobs. The company now charges users to send out quotes to potential clients.

HR Situation & Reviews: Glassdoor reviews suggest that Thumbtack employees are happy at the company. The company scores an average rating of 4.7 out of 5, which is particularly high. 99% of those who reviewed the company approve of the CEO, while 93% would recommend the company to a friend. Employees note the ‘amazing’ and ‘inspirational’ people they work with, suggesting they hire talented people and are managing their team effectively.

Inside Scoops: A New York Times article published in September 2015 stated that the company doesn’t disclose revenue and is unprofitable. Although the valuation of the company is high, it does suggest that the company still has considerable work to do in regards to making its service profitable. All three current Co-Founders went to Ivy league universities: Jonathan Swanson went to Yale University and Oxford University in the U.K, Marco Zappacosta attended Columbia University and Sander Daniels went to Yale University, in the U.S.

Market Forecast & Exit Indicators: A Techcrunch article named ‘Our marketplace obsession and bubble’ published in August 2015, highlighted that although the home services space was extremely popular with investors and was estimated to be worth around $800 billion, there was a pattern emerging, with companies quickly rising and falling at the same rate. Interestingly, the article noted that most of the services provided by these marketplace platforms are recurring by nature, some on a regularly occurring schedule (e.g., home cleaning, landscaping, dog walking, etc.). Therefore a relationship is created between the customer and professional, with the professional no longer needing the marketplace site to drive that particular relationship. In addition, customers are motivated to move their professional relationships off platform so they no longer need to pay fees. There is no mention of an exit in recent press however their high valuation suggests that an exit could be on the cards in the near future.

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Assaf Gilad

An ex-journalist from Calcalist, a leading business and tech news outlet in Israel, I'm now writing about startups for Zirra.com.