5. March 2013–
A group of private German and Swiss investors have put €2.46m into peer-to-peer market Mila, a spin-off from Swiss cloud service Coresystems.
Mila is broadly similar to TaskRabbit in the US (or newcomers Sorted and TaskPandas in the UK). It lets people in a community list needs or offer services and products, starting with things like assembling IKEA furniture or installing a wireless network. Mila takes a cut from successful transactions – about six to eight per cent, depending on the country.
It is currently available for web and will release iOS and Android apps this month. Once the mobile apps are out, users will be able to make payments on the spot – at the moment, this happens via PayPal.
It’s still early days. According to Mila CEO Manuel Grenacher (also the CEO and founder of Coresystems), about 3000 services are currently listed on the site around the world. Mila is particularly active in Switzerland and is also making an early play in Germany, Indonesia and China.
The choice of those countries comes down to Coresystems’ existing network (it also has an office in Shanghai) and a desire not to go head-to-head with rivals in the US.
Grenacher hinted the company would try to differentiate itself by including product providers, not just service providers, and by focusing on specific communities, such as students and education professionals in China.
Mila will also be able to draw on Coresystems’ software-as-a-service resources if it wants to bring out more sophisticated backend tools for sellers, as well as Coresystems’ existing business contacts.
Mila’s new investors include Peter Zencke, a longtime executive board member of software firm SAP, and Swisscom Mobile AG CEO Adrian Bult. Previously, the project took funding support from Coresystems, which Grenacher said is profitable.
As well as making sure the right background checks are made and users are kept happy, Mila will need to make sure its layout and backend can scale up to thousands of listings in each city if it really takes off.
Still, Grenacher has built a financially successful company before. And why the new project? “My interest is to build up companies,” he said. “It’s more fun for me.”