March 25, 2015 / 4:00 PM / 3 years ago

Rocket Internet-backed Helpling raises 43 mln euros in funding

FRANKFURT, March 25 (Reuters) - Helpling, an online marketplace for hiring home cleaners backed by Germany’s Rocket Internet, said on Wednesday it had raised an additional 43 million euros ($47 million) from a group of top-name European investors, including Rocket.

Helpling, which offers its services in 200 cities, provides a vetted online directory for booking cleaning services and is aimed at young professionals who are increasingly comfortable with researching and buying services via their mobile phones.

The Berlin-based company said the Series B round included new investors Lakestar, a backer of music streaming service Spotify, and Kite Ventures, an investor in food takeaway service Delivery Hero. Repeat investors were entrepreneur Lukasz Gadowski, co-founder of early German Facebook rival StudiVZ, as well as ecommerce investor Rocket.

The new financing, together with 13.5 million euros Helping raised in December to fund international expansion, brings its total venture capital fundraising to 56.5 million euros.

Helpling is one of several start-ups looking to open up the often opaque market for household cleaning services. It offers comparable services to U.S.-based Homejoy, backed by Google Ventures, and other memorably named firms such as TaskRabbit, Handybook, Direct Cleaner, Hassle and Mopp.

Helpling’s latest financing makes it the best funded start-up in online cleaning services market, based on publicly disclosed investments.

Benedikt Franke, the company’s co-founder, said Helpling plans to use the new funding to increase uptake of its service in the 12 countries where it operates. The company will invest in marketing, both online and offline, using both television and outdoor billboard campaigns, he said.

Earlier this month, the Berlin-based company said it was expanding beyond its base in Europe to set up operations in the Middle East and Asia, aided by the acquisition of a rival Singapore start-up. ($1 = 0.9117 euros) (Editing by David Holmes)

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