One year ago, Book A Tiger, a Berlin-based start-up that enables customers to hire cleaners on demand via a web platform, made an announcement that raised eyebrows in the tech scene.
Founders Nikita Fahrenholz and Claude Ritter said the start-up would hire the cleaning staff it rents out as its own employees, rather than Uber's model of classifying the people providing services as independent contractors.
Now it seems the bold gamble has paid off. Book A Tiger has raked in €20 million in venture capital, Mr. Fahrenholz told Handelsblatt.
Besides long-time investors, the private equity fund Coller Capital has also participated in the latest round of investment, the founder said.
We have already won 500 companies. Nikita Fahrenholz, Founder and CEO, Book A Tiger
Book A Tiger has enough financing to be profitable in the next 10 to 12 months, the 32-year old entrepreneur added. They will use the funds to continue converting the company to a provider of cleaning personnel for offices.
“We have already won 500 companies,” which include start-ups such as Deliveroo, but also large law firms, according to Mr. Fahrenholz.
Mr. Fahrenholz and his business partner Mr. Ritter are well-known among Berlin tech entrepreneurs. The pair co-founded Lieferheld, Delivery Hero's predecessor, which is now worth €3 billion, or $3.2 billion, and is Germany's most valuable start-up.
In 2014 they left the food delivery platform and dedicated themselves to Book A Tiger.
With a stronger focus on corporate customers, the two founders are also moving back towards their entrepreneurial roots. The practice of connecting catering companies with office workers makes Book A Tiger "a platform that is very similar to Delivery Hero," Mr. Fahrenholz said.
Despite their new focus, more and more private households are turning to Book A Tiger to hire cleaners too. One year ago, Mr. Fahrenholz said the company's workforce would grow to 600 employees by April 2016. Now, that figure is nearing 1,000.
The founder said the company's bet had been to offer more reliable cleaning personnel thanks to their status as formally employed cleaners.
And according to Mr. Fahrenholz, it was a risk worth taking, as customers' return rate has more than doubled.
Alexander Demling is a reporter for Handelsblatt. To contact him: [email protected].