On-Demand Cleaning Startup Hassle Merges With Rocket Internet’s Helpling

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The on-demand cleaning space in Europe just got a little less messy. According to multiple sources, the U.K.’s Hassle.com, which also operates in Ireland and France, has been acquired by Rocket Internet’s Helpling. Both companies declined to comment. However, TechCrunch understands that this is now a done deal.

That also tallies with what I had been hearing as far back as March. Armed with $45 million in new funding, adding to a $17 million Series A raised shortly before that, Helpling was believed to be embarking on an acquisition spree as means to further expansion, in what might be considered typical Rocket Internet fashion.

At the time, it was thought that those acquisitions would be modest, as Helpling looked to mop up a number of much smaller competitors in European countries and beyond where it had yet to establish a presence or there was no clear leader. However, Hassle doesn’t quite fit that bill, to say the least.

The London-headquartered startup is backed by prominent VC fund Accel Partners, after it raised a $6 million Series A round last May. And, by some accounts, Hassle is roughly equal in size to Helpling. Although both companies operate in France, Hassle’s biggest market is the U.K. where Helpling is yet to launch. That’s likely a major driver behind this deal.

Also, don’t be distracted by Helpling’s expansion into 200 cities, after first launching in Berlin in March 2014. As Helpling co-founder Benedikt Franke told me in March, the majority of cleaning jobs booked happen in its “top 20 cities”, which doesn’t currently include London, a major market for domestic cleaning and where Hassle is at its strongest.

In fact, from what I understand this is more a merger of sorts — the price remains unconfirmed, though one source pegs it in the $25-40 million range — rather than a Helpling/Rocket Internet acquisition, creating a clear and formidable European leader in the on-demand cleaning market.

(Update: Tech.eu is reporting that it was an all-stock deal, but that doesn’t tally with my sources, cash certainly changed hands.)

Whatever you might think about the German ‘startup factory’ and e-commerce behemoth, Hassle joining forces with Helpling sets up an interesting battle with Silicon Valley rivals.

In the U.K. capital city they include the likes of TaskRabbit, Homejoy, and Handy (via its acquisition of Mopp). And, to add a little more intrigue, Handy is also believed to be in talks to buy Homejoy, so we can probably expect more tidying up of the on-demand cleaning space soon.

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