Fairfax Media says Domain Group has acquired a 35 per cent interest in Australian online digital marketplace Oneflare for around $15 million. It values the business at more than $40 million.
Co-founded in 2011 by CEO Adam Dong, Onflare is focused on connecting consumers with local trade service providers. It claims to receive 1.3 million visitors a month across its sites and more than 80,000 registered businesses across 150 service categories.
Dong told StartupSmart he had been in discussions with Domain for more than two years.He says the partnership will extend beyond just the funding, with OneFlare becoming integrated into Domain’s ‘ownership’ section.
The funding will be used to help rapidly expand different aspects of the business, Dong told the startup-focused Australian website.
“It’s primarily to build out the products and we’ll have a hiring growth spurt, as well as a bit of marketing,” he says.
Significantly for the Australian property portal duopoly OneFlare’s biggest competitor hipages recently partnered with Fairfax rival News Corp (REA Group) through a reported $40 million investment in exchange for 25 per cent equity.
Dong told Australia's Financial Review newspaper Oneflare he is the middleman for 40,000 jobs performed for homeowners by 80,000 registered trade businesses but would not reveal how many of those pay a subscription to the platform in order to get a guaranteed number of leads.
Hipages founder and chief executive David Vitek says 80,000 jobs a month are generated for the 70,000 trade businesses on its platform, 35,000 of which pay a subscription.
The Financial Review also reports Oneflare transacted jobs worth $450 million in calendar 2015, which the business says represents 160 per cent year-on-year growth.
Hipages meanwhile transacted $1.4 billion in 2015 after being founded in 2004.
Fairfax Media Chief Executive Officer Greg Hywood confirms home improvement and trade services are a key growth area for the business with local trade services representing a substantial portion.
"Oneflare is very well positioned to take advantage of the growth in this rapidly-emerging digital marketplace," he says.
“For Domain, this investment allows Fairfax to broaden its consumer and agent offering across the property lifecycle, expanding beyond property advertising into the home improvement and trade services categories.”