One of the most basic functions an app or website can do is connect people together. This is why it’s not surprising that many Israeli startups want to help connect – connect service providers with consumers directly. The growth of independent service providers has been in tandem with the growth of platforms to connect them with consumers in Israel. In Israel, for many years the Yellow Pages both before and after the Internet was a place for consumers to find service providers. However, with apps and the internet, there has been a growth of consumers to independent provider apps and websites that focus on more narrow verticals.
Among these apps, there is a subset of apps that connect service providers with potential customers. Many versions of these types of service-oriented apps and sites have opened because the service provider to the consumer marketplace is growing. The growth of an intermediary, an app or site, isn’t something new. But what is new, is the large number of or providers who find that having an online presence is non-negotiable. Whether it’s a Facebook page, Yellow Pages listing, website, listing on a professional website, or classified ads, service providers find many benefits.
What kind of services can you order with an app or through a website while in Israel? Compared to other industries, consumer-based start-ups seem to be growing at a smaller rate as tech-oriented, data-focused, and B2B consumers dominate investments towards the end of 2019. However, service apps are still an area with opportunities where creative entrepreneurs are bringing disruptive ideas to make life easier for consumers.
One such app creating a lot of buzz is MissBeez, which focuses on beauty and lifestyle services that include manicure, pedicure, lashes, hairstyle, make-up, and massages. This popular app, founded in Israel and acquired by Il Makiage in October 2019. Inspired by the success story of MissBeez, other Israeli start-ups aspire to become a go-to app or website for consumers seeking on-demand services.
Some notable companies in Israel continue to open as the market for self-employed service providers continues to grow. Manu brings massage therapists to you in as little as two hours. Fit Action helps people find a qualified personal trainer. TinyTap offers a direct to consumer library of educational games handmade by teachers and has grown an impressive global community. The thing that these sites have in common is a vetting process that means that your massage therapist, trainer, or teacher-creator have been reviewed by professionals in the field.
The old way, or “Yellow Pages” was to list all providers together, but lacked any kind of special knowledge in the field of the providers. With massage therapists and personal trainers, it’s especially important that they are well-qualified as they both help consumers take better care of their health. The need for an authority in a country where massage therapists, personal trainers (and even therapists!) can work without government oversight could fuel growth in this industry.
While other countries have stricter standards, I do think that these types of sites can scale up. Providers could upload certificates, have them validated. When it comes to services that can affect our health, whether beauty, lifestyle, massage, or personal training consumers want qualified people.
While investments in Israel might be going more in the direction of cybersecurity, data analytics, and B2B products, there are still many opportunities for service-oriented apps. Years ago people thought that Google would provide this role, but now with the growth of service apps, particularly when it comes to the independent workers.
Prediction for 2020: I predict more start-ups will look at consumer issues in light of the growth of the independent provider, particularly in consumer services industries.