UAE’s ServiceMarket raises $4 million for its online home services marketplace

ServiceMarket, a Dubai-based online marketplace for home services has raised $4 million in its latest funding round. The round was joined by one of ServiceMarket’s existing investors AddVenture and Emaar Industries & Investments, an associate of Emaar Properties. The investment takes total funding raised so far by ServiceMarket to $8 million. They had previously raised a $3 million Series A in 2016 and seed and angel rounds in 2013 and 2015.

Founded in 2013 by two former McKinsey consultants, Bana Shomali and Wim Torfs, the startup had originally started with moving services for Dubai residents and was known as MoveSouq back then. But it has since expanded into many new categories including maids and cleaning, painting and handyman, garden and pest control, and home and car insurance; and has these services available across 8 cities in 5 GCC markets including UAE, Saudi, Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar.

The startup claims to have helped more than 150,000 customers book a home service online last year alone, generating more than $30 million in sales revenue for their partners.

Speaking about the investment, Bana Shomali, founder of ServiceMarket commented, “Our platform today allows UAE residents to book over 35 different home services online. This investment will allow us to offer an even wider range of services to our customers, further establishing ServiceMarket as a one-stop home services platform. We will also be investing in our customer experience to ensure we retain our competitive edge in that area. We will also continue to build out our technology platform not only because it underpins the strength of our business, but also because it has revolutionized the way customers can now book services online.”

She considers Emaar joining the round a big win for ServiceMarket, “We are extremely excited by Emaar Industries & Investments joining our investor group. Not only does this investment inject capital into our business, but it also unlocks the potential opportunity for ServiceMarket to serve residents of large communities with a unique online solution for home services.”

Waleed Dhaduk, the Acting CEO & CIO of Emaar Industries & Investments, commenting on the investment, said, “We have been following ServiceMarket’s traction within Dubai and they have received positive feedback from users on its ease of use, speed and convenience. This investment makes strategic sense for EII under our technology platform, since ServiceMarket offers services that complement our ecosystem.”

As ServiceMarket’s press release points out, there are many recent international examples where offline leading players in this space have partnered with startups and technology companies to offer better customer experience to their customers or expand their sales channels. This includes IKEA’s recent acquisition of home services marketplace TaskRabbit and Home Depot investing in Homee, an on-demand home maintenance app.

“The size of the home services market in the GCC region is around USD 20-30bn annually, and less than 1% of these services are found and booked online. Compare that to travel, hotels, flights and entertainment where 50-80% of these services are bought online in developed markets. ServiceMarket’s ambition is to deliver home services online to consumers in the region. Our platform does so by making the pricing and the quality of these services much more transparent to consumers, through our quote comparison and user-rating engine,” added Bana Shomali.

Late last year, two Dubai-based on-demand cleaning services startups; Matic and Justmop also raised their Series A investment. Their services overlap with some of those provided by ServiceMarket.

Zubair Naeem Paracha
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