Skillpages, an online marketplace for local skills founded back in 2010, has been acquired by a newer entrant to the space, Bark.com (born in 2012), which focuses on attacking the same problem from the other way round: i.e. pushing skill-seekers’ requests to providers, rather than providing a skills listing platform.
Terms of the acquisition have not been disclosed.
Dublin-based Skillpages had raised several rounds of investor and state funding over its lifetime — more than $40 million, according to Bark.com founder Andrew Michael. It also claimed to have amassed more than 20 million customers. But evidently found it tough to generate enough revenue to keep on trucking when it ran out of runway.
“Skillpages was a bit like a LinkedIn for local service providers where individuals and companies could list their skills and build connections. Their problem was that they had over $40m in funding and they didn’t focus on monetising it early enough, they just wanted to build the network,” says Michael.
“Bark on the other hand has a proven model for attracting buyers. People come to Bark and set out their needs (e.g. I’m looking for a guitar teacher for my son on Tuesday’s after school) and we then source potential suppliers for them and connect them.”
The acquisition is an obvious fit for Bark.com, given the shared local skills focus. Michael specifically references Skillpages’ “extensive community of suppliers” as the draw.
A note about the acquisition on the Skillpages website says the two services are being combined, with Skillpages brand going away, the user data being transferred over to Bark.com, and logins reactivated for the latter service later this week. Michael adds that the company is in discussions with Skillpages staff but notes CEO Laura Sheesgreen has departed.
Bark.com is self-funded by Michael who has founded multiple startups, and last year sold another of his companies — an online backup and file syncing business called Livedrive — to J2 Global for an undisclosed sum.