RedFish finds the right tradesman for South-African property owners

Seedstarsworld just released the names of the five Cape Town winners who will move on to the second and final South African round that will take place in Johannesburg on July 17th. One of them is RedFish, whose founder, Theunis Hanekom, kindly answered Nicolas Bry‘s questions to let us discover RedFish more in-depth.

1) Market, Target, Usage

NB: Hi Redfish, you propose a collaborative platform for home improvement: can you give us exemplary use cases for your service?

TH: We have over 30 categories Property owners can choose from when they have a project that needs to be done. For instance you need new floors: just post your job under the flooring category, indicate the sqm and what material with a brief description and our vetted tradesmen will respond to the job.

NB: What are the typical profiles of your home owners users?

TH: It varies between 18-65 years old, internet savvy.

NB: Are they located in large SA cities?

TH: Currently yes most of the projects comes from major city’s but we do get requests from more smaller towns now and again.

NB: What is the main benefit for them: a lower cost of the service? To find the right skills for the job?

TH: There are multiple benefits – verified tradesmen, ratings and reviews, cost and time saving searching for quality tradesmen, to get the right skills, support local tradesmen close by.

 2) Business model & Marketing

NB: Your business model is based on 2 main offerings: Basic Package (7.5% of any job awarded), and Premium Package (Pay per month, ZAR 299 per month). How many homeowners subscribers and tradesmen do you have?

TH: We have 2500 unique property owners and a growing number of tradesmen at 900: 42% growth rate per Quarter.

NB: How is its growing?

TH: at 386% per annum.

No marketing to date. All through word of mouth organic growth.

NB: Do homeowners subscribers post jobs on a recurrent basis, or the jobs bases renewing each time?

TH: Recurring and new. We have noticed that one customer will post 2 to three jobs at a time.

NB: To make your business work, how many awarded jobs to you need to process?

TH: It is not so much for us about the numbers right now but more about the national footprint in South Africa. To be the number 1 platform of choice where customers can find quality tradesmen.

NB: Does it mean you have to scale outside South Africa?

TH: When the timing is right we will definitely look outside the borders.

NB: How do you plan to market your platform toward homeowners, and tradesmen?

TH: There are various trigger points google ad words, social media, pr, competitions and media.

2) Competition

NB: Who are you competing with, online and offline?

TH: We dont have a true competitor in the SA market as what we do!, but we do see all directories (printed and on line), yellow pages, flyers, social media referrals, Google as our competition.

NB: What added value do bring compared to competitive offerings?

TH: Verified tradesmen, ratings and reviews, cost and time saving searching for quality tradesmen, to get the right skills, support local tradesmen close by.

3) Trust

NB: How do you build trust between homeowners and tradesmen, who do not know each other, in an environment where insecurity is high?

TH: This is very important to us and in future we will be much more stricter with Tradesmen. So verification is very important to help build that trust, visibility of profiles and ratings (clear for homeowners to review) and totally democratic from previous customers comments.

4) Team

NB: Tell us about your team, who you are, where you’re from, what are your skills, how you met, and what is your mantra?

TH: Our team is quite special – each one of them brings a certain strength and past experience that have put us where we are so far.


 Joost – ex werkspot partner in Holland (a similar site than ours based in Holland they call it a marketplace) and head of our technical and development.

PhilippPhilipp – head of digital with 10 years marketing and sales in this space.

TheunisMyself Theunis – MD, 20+ years sales and marketing, customer focussed direct marketing.


Our Advisor Nicholas – ex CEO my hammer Germany

Joost and Phillip have been mates for a while and both keen interest in surfing. Thats how Philipp ended up in Cape Town 12 years ago from Germany on Holiday and never went back.

Myself and Philipp have been doing work together for a while in SA and when i bought a house a few years ago i went through a very pain full, costly exercise finding a quality tradesmen and that is how was born due to that.

“Connecting people who wants stuff well done with people who do stuff well”

NB: What would you describe as a success for your venture?

TH: Great team, Authentic, real, there are no hidden costs agenda’s, taking it slow, testing, testing, testing the market, and as simple as possible. The Customer is our most important aspect of the business.

Follow RedFish at: @redfishSA


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