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On Demand Businesses 101

HinnerDu : A Peer-to-Peer Marketplace to Get and Give Help – Startup Story #22

“Help is just around the corner.”

Yeah, it is no longer just a saying but has been realized by HinnerDu in Sweden. Started by Sara Ohlsson this Peer-To-Peer platform makes it easier for people to Get help and offer help with various tasks ranging from assembling furniture or doing the dishes and so on.

In conversation with Sara where she shares her journey and everything that goes behind starting and running a peer-to-peer business such as HinnerDu.

Q1.Tell us a little about HinnerDu.se and your personal motivation for starting this business.

HinnerDu.se is a peer-2-peer platform for everyday tasks. Many of the tasks listed are of the ‘odd job’ variety – putting up shelves, assembling IKEA-furniture, walk the dog, lend a bike, drive to the recycling station etc.

HinnerDu fills the gap between asking a friend for help and hire a “professional” carpenter, painter, moving company etc. which is much more expensive and unneccesary when you only need help with simple tasks. You won’t find people on HinnerDu.se that can renovate a whole kitchen, but you will find people that can help you do the dishes after a party or lend you an ice cream machine for the weekend.

I believe that the future of work is to hire yourself out online. This isn’t just another startup trend, this is the beginning of a new way of buying services and selling ourselves – and it may even help save the economy.

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Q2.Can you give us a rundown of how HinnerDu.se works?
People that need help with something post a task on the website. They also decide how much they are willing to pay for getting help solving the task. After a while, usually a few hours, they will get answers from people in HinnerDu network who have signed up as “helpers”.

When the task has been solved the customer pays thru the website.
The task will then change status to DONE and PAID and the “helper’s” profile-page will be updated with feedback from the customer. This will help future customers in deciding which helper to chose.

The “helper” will get 84% of the price the customer pays, and HinnerDu will get 16%.

The persons that solve the tasks and runs the errands are mostly students, senior citizen and half time employees that have plenty of time and want to help.

Q3.What is HinnerDu.se’s biggest achievement to date? How did you go about accomplishing this?
Media has been very interested in writing about HinnerDu and I think that because of HinnerDu the people have now learnt about Collaborative consumption. We are very proud that we have driven this development in Sweden and Denmark, and that we were first to market. Today we have around 20000 members.

Q4.What has been your biggest set back? How did you deal with it?
We have no tech team/person in the company anylonger. Instead we buy this service. All development is done by a web bureau called Bombay works. We are very happy that we have a good relationship with this bureau. They almost feel like being part of the team.

Q5.Could you shed some light on the technology and tools used to build HinnerDu.se ?
Sorry, I do not know much about the tech behind it. We use PayPal for payments which has been a small challenge since PayPal is not widely known in Scandinavia. At the time when we started the business there wasn’t any other options but Paypal. This fall we will launch more payment possibilities, using a provider called Trustly which will make it possible for customers to pay with their regular bank account.

Q6.What was technically the most challenging part of developing HinnerDu.se ?
The balance between giving the user possibilities to change and update their errands etc, giving them freedom, with trying to limit all decisions to a few, and pull the user into the “tunnel”. You want the website to be simple to understand with few steps and clicks, and very straightforward, but you also want to give the user possibility to do some changes and adjustments without confusing them. This is a fine balance.

Q7.What are some of the hurdles and roadblocks you still face?
Reaching out to more people. Marketing is expensive! We are also first to market and since CC is a behavoiur change it takes time for people to understand what HinnerDu and peer to peer is all about.

Q8.What are some the current trends you see in the industry?
The term “sharing economy” originated in the mid-2000s and refers to the practice of people engaging in direct peer-to-peer transactions of goods or services, instead of going through corporate middlemen. A movement now enabled by web-based platforms. More and more people in Scandinavia are starting to use Peer-2-peer.

Q9. There are definitely a lot of companies similar to HinnerDu.se floating around right now. What are you doing that differentiates you?
In fact, In Scandinavia there aren’t that many. And not for running errands. In fact HinnerDu is the first and biggest today. I know that there are some small players in Stockholm which is just fun! The more peer-2-peer on the planet the better . )

Q10.Where do you see HinnerDu.se in five years?
I hope that HinnerDu is the “de facto” platform for getting help with errand.

Q11.If you had a chance to go back, what would you want to do differently?
Have more people on the team. And I wish I had open up in the whole country at the same time instead of city by city. When the press/media has been writing about us it was a big mistake that people, living in a city we had not opened up yet, that read the article could not try the website.

Q12.Any advice for startups trying to make it big or join the On-Demand space?
People have said it before, but make sure you start lean. Try your concept before putting to many developemnet hours and money into it. Build brick by brick.
Have fun!

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