Rocket Internet-backed Helpling has dropped 32 million euros on the acquisition of its fiercest competitor in the on-demand marketplace for local cleaners space, buying UK-based Hassle.com in a deal that involves only stock changing hands, Tech.eu has learned.

(Update: mea culpa, it was mostly stock, some cash)

Hassle.com was in the midst of raising more funding, following a $6 million Series A round announced just over a year ago, when Helpling swooped in with an offer to acquire the London startup wholesale.

In a recent video interview with Tech.eu, Hassle.com co-founder and CEO Alex Depledge put up fighting words, saying that she didn’t feel threatened by Rocket Internet’s entry into the on-demand home cleaner market with Helpling, and noting how their strategies fundamentally differed.

But ultimately, Rocket Internet’s deep pockets and the opportunity to dominate this space in Europe led Depledge and co to sell their company to Helpling to tackle things together.

Helpling certainly has the funds to make these moves: it has raised just south of €60 million from Lakestar, Mangrove Capital, Rocket Internet and other investors.

Also a factor: in the US, there’s consolidation brewing with a pending merger of Handy and Homejoy (which Helpling coincidentally also tried to acquire at one point), so Helpling’s move is meant to undermine its American rival’s plans to attack Europe before they’re well underway.

It remains unclear whether Hassle.com will live on as a brand, but we understand its co-founders have committed to staying on board for the time being.

Update 2: the acquisition has now been officially confirmed:

“These complementary strengths of Helpling and Hassle.com will allow the company to further expand its leadership position in Europe. Together Helpling and Hassle.com will operate in 14 markets holding strategic cities such as London, Berlin and Paris. Over the next months, the company will deploy substantial capital to increase its leadership position with a clear focus on organic growth.”

And with regards to the fates of the brand and the founders:

“Hassle.com will continue to operate under its established brand. The founding team of Hassle.com will take on additional responsibilities within the group as global co-founders. Alex Depledge will assume CEO responsibilities for English-speaking markets, Jules Coleman will become group CPO and Tom Nimmo will lead the Hassle.com platform as CTO. Accel Partners will join the board of investors of Helpling.”

Featured image credit: Shots Studio / Shutterstock

  • Henry C

    US-based Handy acquired UK-founded mopp.com last year (2014) so they have beaten Helpling to the UK expansion punch. I understand that Mopp.com was doing better than Hassle at the time.

  • raiyani

    Thought I should do something about this.

    1. A year or so ago, I left a gold longines watch (lent to me by my dad) in my parent’s bedroom, in our flat in Marylebone, since my father would be arriving in London in a few days and he would find it there then.

    2. When I went back one day to that room, after the cleaner (sent from hassle.com, now helpling.co.uk) had left, I couldn’t find the watch. Only the cleaner had been to that room. No one else has come to my flat recently.

    3. I reported it to the hassle.com, and they asked me to report it to the police.

    4. I reported it to the police, who came to my place twice to ask questions etc. My dad was here then too, and we showed them pictures of my dad wearing the watch, etc.

    5. Anyway, after a lot of days, calls etc, the cleaner came to the police station, and she said (obviously) that she hadn’t taken the watch.

    6. The police also said that there was no criminal record of the cleaner, in their records.

    7. In the end, because of the above, the police said that the case had come to an end.

    8. I asked hassle.com for compensation for my stolen watch due by their cleaner, from insurance, which they said that they have, but the weird thing is, they want a receipt! They said that on producing the receipt, they would give 75%, and 25% would need to be given by me for the theft of a product done by their cleaner.

    9. Hassle.com mentioned that they had done a check for the cleaner, but no police check had been done for the cleaner.

    10. I think it’s a bit ridiculous for them to expect people to keep receipts for everything they buy; what would they do if family heirlooms would be stolen by their cleaners? We shouldn’t have to produce a receipt for a theft, which has happened due to their cleaner.

    11. Horrible service, and have stopped using them. At least hopefully otherwise should be aware of hassle.com’s substandard service.

    12. The British public should know about this sort of bad service, and lack of compensation by this company, for a theft committed by their cleaners, who did not go through a police verification.