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Thumbtack Matchmakes Customers and Businesses

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Thumbtack CEO Marco Zappacosta looked for a business left to disrupt. Google leads a $100 million bet on him. (Published Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014)

    Last year, Google Capital invested $100 million in Thumbtack, a new startup that helps connect contractors and other services to consumers. So far, the new company is disrupting the service economy and challenging established sites like Yelp and Angie's List. 

    "(Businesses) are willing to pay Thumbtack for that introduction to consumers," Thumbtack chief executive Marco Zappacosta told Press:Here. "We send them customers."

    Thumbtack makes money by businesses buying credits to get introduced to customers, a sort of customer acquisition cost. Zappacosta said that businesses are willing to pay for something that works. Customers wanting a contractor or painter would be given a questionnaire and then would be introduced to appropriate businesses.

    He said their business differs from Groupon and Yelp because it doesn't have a sales team. "We’ve been able to achieve what we have without a sales force," he said. "We’ve created something that they understand. We don’t have to get on the phone and cram it down onto them."

    The self-serve model works for the two-year-old startup, he said. Thumbtack also hopes to include a social component where friends can trade information, but still includes other reviews on their site for a full snapshot of its businesses.

    "There's a matchmaking aspect to it," he said.