Smart50 Awards 2017

29 Hipages

Revenue

$32.7 million

Growth

99.8%

Founders

David Vitek, 42 and Roby Sharon-Zipser, 41

Head office

Sydney, NSW

Year founded

2004

Employees

129

Industry

Technology

Website

hipages.com.au

Winner

Community Hero Award

Hipages has been in the direct-match service provider business for 13 years, but its founders know the importance of changing with the times: so much so the company has been spending its time in the past year on data science and building APIs.

The company’s employees have built a new API to connect its licensedtrades.com.au listing business with its admin and CRM systems, allowing integration with the sales process. Now, sales teams can get a licence check on tradies right on the spot, and be alerted when a licence expires.

This has saved the company 83 hours a week. For a 13-year-old company that kind of innovation can be hard to come by, but for founders David Vitek and Roby Sharon-Zipser, it’s a crucial part of doing business.

“Not only have we helped our team, but we have been helping our 100,000 customers each month ensure the tradies they hire are licensed in Australia…trust in tradies is a big issue in the industry,” they say.

Founded by Vitek and Sharon-Zipser in a garage, Hipages has now become the leading way for Australians to connect with tradies and service people with more than 100,000 customers per month.

The Smart50 alumnus netted $32.6 million in revenue in the last financial year and has achieved a three-year revenue growth rate of 99.7%.

Harvesting that growth has meant placing more money into key strategic tech investments – including artificial intelligence.

“We developed an artificial intelligence model called ‘Oracle’, which allows customers to describe their problem in just a few words, like “burst pipe in the kitchen” or upload a photo of what needs fixing, such as broken timber flooring,” the founders say.

“The machine learning algorithm is trained on our extensive database to recognise job descriptions and image attachments, before subsequently placing them into the correct category, in real time. The customer is provided with suggestions within seconds.”

Hipages lists a mixture of ‘hack days’, (which include a pitching session to the board), a flat management structure and a desire to maintain a 50% male/female ratio as some of the main reasons for the company’s continued success.

Giving every employee a voice is crucial, the founders say, in order to uphold the company’s key maxim: “a great idea can come from anywhere”.

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