French startup StarOfService plans to provide a solid Thumbtack alternative for the rest of the world. To achieve this goal, StarOfService is opening its marketplace in 80 countries and just raised $1.2 million (€1.1 million) from Point Nine Capital, Kima Ventures, Oleg Tscheltzoff and other business angels.
When I talked with co-founder and CEO Lucas Lambertini, he doesn’t even hide that StarOfService is a Thumbtack copycat. If you look at the two homepages, the layout is exactly the same. StarOfService’s only innovation is that it is targeting new markets — and it’s working for now.
“We aren’t going to wait for our American competitor to bring its great innovation to the rest of the world,” Lambertini wrote in an email.
Here’s how StarOfService and Thumbtack work. These marketplaces help you find handymen, photographers, yoga teachers, interior designers and more. Yet, unlike with TaskRabbit and other directories, customers don’t have to waste time searching for different options for a job. Instead, they tell the platform exactly what they are looking for, and service providers have 24 hours to bid on the job. The client then receives multiple quotes, compares reviews and picks the right person. It is much faster for the client and supposedly more efficient as well.
As with every marketplace, there is a potential bottleneck if professionals aren’t actively interested in bidding for jobs on StarOfService. The company told me that it now handles 60,000 jobs per month and works with 190,000 professionals. It has mostly been focused on its home market for now, but is opening in Germany, the U.K., Italy, Spain, Russia, Brazil, Mexico and more.
But StarOfService is still a tiny competitor for Thumbtack. In August of last year, the American company raised $100 million in a round led by Google Capital. In February, Thumbtack told TechCrunch’s Colleen Taylor that it was facilitating $2 billion annually in services through its platform.
Thumbtack is only available in the U.S. for now. In other words, I hope that Thumbtack doesn’t expand to Europe any time soon, as the company has enough funding to crush the local competition. But StarOfService could also represent an interesting acquisition target for Thumbtack to drive its international expansion plans.