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"I look for opportunities where there's an unmet need," said Rodio, in an interview with Vator News. "I felt I wanted to do a marketplace model and something that has to do with local."
Redbeacon, which received $7 million in funding from Venrock and Mayfield just over a year ago, has a marketplace model that matches home service providers (maids, plumbers, landscapers) with consumers at a local level. "This is an area of acute pain," said Rodio.
Rodio pointed to the lack of innovation in the area, particularly with Craigslist. "Craigslist is a bizarre jungle experience," Rodio said. "Now what consumers expect in services is very different than what they expected five to 10 years ago."
When asked how Redbeacon is different from Yelp and Angie's List, Rodio said that unlike those two services, Redbeacon brings quotes to its users. If someone is looking for a maid, they can put in their parameters - how much they'd pay, how often they'd like to book the service, etc. - into Redbeacon and receive a list of quotes from prospective service providers. On Yelp or Angie's List, a person has to get a list of service providers and make individual calls to each one. Redbeacon, essentially helps filter down that list.
Redbeacon, which has narrowed its scope from any service provider down to only home services, seems to be in for a few changes under Rodio's watch.
For instance, Redbeacon currently works with a lot of local TV station websites. They have a widget embedded on those sites for anyone looking for local service providers. Rodio said that this channel hasn't really worked because no one goes to their local news website to find a handyman. His job is to find "scalable" distribution partners to drive more users onto its system. He said he plans on focusing more on SEO (search engine optimization), SEM (search engine marketing) and social media.
More users would also be able to attract more service providers attracted to the marketplace. As of now, it appears that number is a bit low. Rodio would not comment on how many service providers are on the system, only to say it was in the thousands.
Additionally, Redbeacon will need to really ramp up its user base as the bulk of the jobs it books are "recurring" jobs, and Redbeacon doesn't get paid on recurring services.
Rodio would also not disclose how many jobs are booked daily or weekly. But he did say that the typical job booked costs $150 to $200. Redbeacon takes a variable fee on that amount.
If Redbeacon plans on focusing just on home services, then it will need to ramp up its audience base in its current locations, and expand to other cities. After all, how many handymen, maids, plumbers does one household need in a day, month, year or two years? Not many.
Rodio said he plans to expand Redbeacon to 10 cities by the end of the year, up from seven today.
"My long-term plan is to get the business to where it's scaling and cash-flow positive," he said, adding that the company will then soon be off to raising another round.
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Redbeacon will find the right business or person to handle any local service need.
Request a service (e.g., gardener, carpet cleaner, dance instructor) and interested local providers will receive your request and respond with their price to do your job at the time and place you need it done.
You can see information about each service provider, how much they'll charge for your job and book your appointment online with the one you like best. Best of all, it's completely free to use!
Redbeacon launched in September 2009 and won the top prize at the 2009 TechCrunch50 Conference.
Whatever you need. Done.