David Vitek, 41 and Roby Sharon-Zipser, 40
- Head Office
- Year founded
Top Digital Innovator Award
Online service directory Hipages was years ahead of Uber and Tinder in its quest to become the ultimate direct-match service provider. The business, founded by two mates in a garage in 2004, booked $24.2 million in revenue in the last financial year and is a firm reminder of why telephone books have fallen on such hard times.
The business connects users with trade professionals in their area after clients upload a job and photo of work that needs to be completed.
Initially the business worked as a more static directly and was bankrolled by small amounts of personal savings and credit cards from the two founders.
Growth came quickly and that often meant the team had to come up with quick solutions with a plan to go back and revise these later.
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“Sometimes we have had to accept function over form,” say the founding partners.
“Finding the time to go back to do these activities can be challenging as you want to build the next feature or product.”
Now that the business has evolved into a more automated service, in which algorithms match up clients with the best available tradie on the books, the team have started to gamify the search for the next big ideas.
“Our Hack–Tank days are a combination of “Hackathon” and “Shark Tank”, to help foster better relationships between our company board and those in the R&D teams,” says Vitek.
The novel idea is paying off; winners of previous “Hack-Tank” competitions actually produced a tool that increased the number of jobs being booked through the site.
The founders are conscious of the complicated relationship between customers and tradies – and know continued success of the business comes down to how it can genuinely make customers’ lives easier.
“This is particularly true when personally helping a customer who might have had an issue with the product or a tradie,” says Vitek.
The founders believe this sustained customer satisfaction would be of interest to the market too, indicated their desire to list through an initial public offering within the next two years.
In the meantime, it’s hoped customer enthusiasm will continue to grow the number of people who recognise the brand.
“We believe that the way we will succeed is to allow our community to tell the story of our product and help them promote it,” the founders say.
“Awareness in the great products of the future will not be built through billboards but users telling stories in their networks.”