Tuesday, July 22, 2008
MyBuilder starts building
Ryan Notz applied to Seedcamp 07 with his Buildersite plan(since relaunched as MyBuilder). He came all the way through and got his funding and with it many column inches of publicity. Like the piece in the Observer. Ryan's presentations at Seedcamp will be remembered for the obvious passion and sincerity that he displayed for his project. His own experience as a Stonemason and his intimate experience of the way in which the building trade works and what a nightmare it generally is for consumers, has guided the development of the business. He has chosen the success-fee marketplace approach rather than the lead generation model believing that it particularly attractive to both buidlers and consumers because unlike the lead generation sites, MyBuilder is able to retain their builders through both the good and the tough times. Lee Dryden, a builder registered on the site says: "This site is great. I paid for lots of leads with another site and didn't get any work at all. I'm more than happy to pay MyBuilder's fee when I get work -it's fair!" Ryan says that the approach works better for consumers too. "If you want to find a great builder, you need a lot of choice. A lead generation site can only put you in touch with builders who have bought your lead. Worse, they can only sell your lead to a few tradesmen (or they'll get an even bigger drop-out rate). Consumers prefer to choose their builder based on feedback, distance, skills, qualifications and experience, rather than simply those who buy their lead. MyBuilder gets around this problem by providing an open platform where consumers can search the entire database of over 10,000 tradesmen, and tradesmen can look at and enquire about all the jobs (currently at 1000 a month and growing). It ensures a better match, with satisfied customers that come back, and tell other people about the site. The network effect with this model is powerful, and it also enables MyBuilder to publish search results of both live jobs and registered tradesmen, which helps implement valuable partnership deals." Key to MyBuilder's 'go to market' plan has been the partnership with Travis Perkins (including Wickes) who joined Alex Hoye, TAG and others in a post Seedcamp funding round. A major PLC with sales exceeding £3bn, Travis Perkins is a leading company in the builders’ merchant and home improvement markets, and is a main supplier to the building and construction market, one of the largest industries in the UK.
The Mail on Sunday covered Travis' investment in MyBuilder here.