Phillipe De Chanville and Christian Raisson founded ManoMano in Paris in 2013. De Chanville and Raisson were both doing DIY projects and noticed that they were having a challenging time buying products online to complete their tasks. The company is now leading the market for Online DIY and gardening items. In 8 years, they have expanded to the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, Spain, and Italy. Phillipe Collombel of Partech is the co-managing partner. When the company first started, they approached Partech Investors. According to their website, Partech is the leading global venture capital firm founded in 1982. They have offices in Europe, The United States, and Israel. They chose Partech because they knew the company focused primarily on information technology. This early investor was one of the best moves they made because as the company evolved so has their technology. Partech is an investment firm that has consistently been at the technological forefront. Additionally, they are constantly looking for companies who shake up current industries. Through tech above retail, the company has found a unique way to create a better platform. Since they are focused on the experience, it creates a diversified platform for customers to have their needs met when seeking supplies and information for their projects. According to Medium, the DIY gardening market in France is a 2.5 trillion dollar market. Another reason they started ManoMano was that there were very few players in the European DIY sector. They work with almost 4000 retail providers offering more than 10 million products. These are 20 things you didn't know about ManoMano.
1. Know your market
One of the groups ManoMano caters to is professional builders. The company launched ManoManoPro in France in March 2019. The following year the company launched in Spain and Italy. ManoMano is hoping to launch in The United Kingdom soon. The company feels its heads and tails above other similar platforms. Some features include 55000 products specially curated for contractors, free delivery, a loyalty program, and free delivery mostly within 24 hours.
According to Ascend Software, a small to medium-sized company takes just under a month to process an invoice manually. Unfortunately, this means they have a high ratio of late payments and accrue more costs for the business. In 2018 ManoMano launched an invoice service to help their merchants solve the time-consuming process of issuing multiple invoices each day. Much like other parts of their platform, their intention isn't to just help customers and businesses with supplies and DIY knowledge. ManoMano wants to help customers take control of issues not currently met on other platforms.
3. Brick and mortar
One of the things many people don't like is shopping for home and garden items online because they cannot truly feel comfortable the item will work in their space or be the correct item for their need. ManoMano's platform is designed to replicate the same experience you would get if you went into the store. They offer detailed descriptions with a Manodvisor if you get stuck. Even though this isn't lacking in the traditional model, having a platform this extensive is absent on many online stores like this. It's hard to create a brick-and-mortar experience online. However, as ManoMano adds new features, they are making that vision more of a reality.
4. Raising capital
According to Tech Crunch, in one of their latest round of funding, ManoMano raised $139 million. Temasek was the leading investor. General Atlantic, Eurazeo, Piton Capital, Bpifrance participated. In 2019, the company grew 50% with almost 700 million dollars in capital. Part of the funding will assist the company with hiring additional employees in Barcelona and Bordeaux. As ManoMano expands, more investors see the value and are quick to invest in these
5. Pillars of success
The company works to make people feel like they are shopping in a traditional home improvement store; they also work to make sure that since the customers can't get the products immediately, they get them in a relatively short time. ManoMano works with third-party retailers, then uses their logistics platform, also known as Mano Fulfillment service.
6. Unlikely partnership
DIY and home improvement platforms are not typically ones that are a good investment. So, Partech was an unlikely choice to invest in. However, the company is shaking up the market with ever-expanding platform features, and the investment firm took notice. Since Partech typically invests in new technology that disrupts the market, they invested in the company and decided to invest. Moreover, Partech has transformed the retail market with other verticals, and ManoMano hopes they can bring that experience to their company.
A Unicorn startup company is a privately traded company that has an evaluation exceeding 1 billion dollars. According to BBC, ManoMano is the latest French Unicorn, currently valued at 2.6 billion dollars. One of the driving forces to help them reach this success was COVID. Since more people were isolated in their homes, growing bored, they looked for any activity they could do to keep busy. Even though the online DIY home improvement sector was not very popular, it spiked during the pandemic. This helped scale ManoMano to what it is today.
8. More funding
In 2021, ManoMano did two rounds of funding. The second was led by the SanFrancisco investment firm Dragoneer. Currently, the firm has also invested in companies like Airbnb, Slack Technologies, and Spotify. This brings the total amount raised to 725 million dollars.
9. Competition is fierce
Globally, Amazon is a one-stop-shop that was a go-to during the pandemic. They provide almost every product one can dream about. However, ManoMano is going head to head with the company in the home improvement category. Additionally, they stand out against two other large brick-and-mortar DIY companies, Adeo and Kingfisher.
10. Revenue versus sales
Even though Mano Mano sold most of its products in France, the company started gaining revenue of 60 percent. Their next target is The United Kingdom, where they see an upward trend. Online sales in the United Kingdom were 20 percent, double that of other European countries. As co-founder Christian Raisson said, "our goal is to focus particularly on growing in the United Kingdom as well as in Germany."
One of the things that are helping to propel the company forward is that they don't have their own inventory. Since they work with many different retail companies, ManoMano can connect with buyers and sellers, making a commission off everything they sell. This is known as the marketplace model, which also allows for a more significant number of items they sell.
12. Reinventing the wheel
Although ManoMano has earmarks of traditional online retail platforms and e-commerce sites, it has expanded its reach by adding additional features making it a standout. The usage of third-party retailers has often been set aside because some companies feel it is not worth their time. However, ManoMano has added many features that caused other sites to fail, including human interaction or a chatbot if the company is outside hours. In 2019, customers had a million conversations on the site. They also encourage people to become an expert and help them grow their team of advisors.
13. Taking roots
Some people have dogs, cats, and other pets that need looking when they go on vacation. Others worry about their plants. ManoMano has its customers covered. Not only do they have a thriving plant market complete with a plant care market, but they also offer plant sitting to make sure owners come home to healthy plants after they come home from vacation.
14. Give the customers what they want
ManoMano has dubbed May 24 International DIY day in their company. Most likely, this decision was because as spring approaches, many people are ready to get outdoors and start working on projects they let slip during the winter months. They decided to do this after asking their customers to look for DIY inspiration. 75% said Facebook and other social media sites, less than half looked at YouTube, and less than a quarter of respondents said it was on a DIY site. Since ManoMano is customer-centric, they wanted to give their customers a better platform helping them gravitate to their site instead of other social media avenues.
15. Looking out for its employees
ManoMano wants to employ more experts creating a more extensive help network of Manodvisers. However, they are also focused on professionals who know their stuff. The candidates need to have certification in DIY, gardening, plumbing, heating, or electricity to sign up on their site. As long as they have internet, doing this service can also benefit them greatly. They earn commission on any product they sell.
16. Numbers don't lie
Since ManoMano opened, their sales have been steadily increasing. According to Up My Tech, the company's sales rose 50% between 2018 and 2019. Moreover, they saw a 70% rise in their site visitors, bringing the total to 7 million, a 100% increase.
17. David and Goliath
Currently, ManoMano is outselling giants like Amazon and eBay in the home and garden sector. The company's focus on a single product has helped them outsell two of the most enormous titans of online sales. Using this approach can add quality and value because they focus on a single market and closely with their vendors. Moreover, as the company expands, they are always looking for new technology to increase their sales and help their customers have a better experience.
There is nothing traditional about ManoMano. In fact, it is not considered a retailer. Instead, they are tech companies that use their technology to focus on the DIY Home Improvement vertical. One example is that it doesn't matter which facet of the company their employees work in; they must have SQL programming certification. This helps everyone in the company to have an equal footing when collaborating.
19. Don't want to DIY, no problem
Besides empowering customers to finish DIY tasks, the company also offers SuperMano. This service helps people through their most challenging questions and allows them to hire someone for the job. The company maintains transparency, assuring that the specialist their customers hire and adequately trained. The company also doesn't use an outside service for payments. Instead, they have an additional feature built into their platform, ensuring that their tasks are done to their satisfaction.
20. One of the best
ManoMano is listed as one of the top 40 startup companies in France and has been since 2019. One of the things the company attributes this success to is hiring professionals cross-trained to work in all facets of the company. Moreover, they are consistently working to overthrow the traditional mindset of online DIY businesses. Their level of customer service surpasses that we see in conventional brick and mortar businesses like Home Depot since they not only have tips but experts who are ready to make anybody's DIY vision come true. These things wouldn't be possible without creating a working environment that encourages growth in the company.
Richard Branson once said, "my biggest motivation? Just keep challenging myself. I see life almost like one long University education that I never had-everyday I'm learning something new." The co-founders of ManoMano have adopted a similar philosophy. As their company has grown, they haven't rested on past successes. Instead, they consistently turn to their most valuable assets, their customers and their employees. Many companies like ManoMano arise out of a need that the co-founder wants to see met. For this company, it was the problem with wanting to have a better experience while renovating. Having this foundation of passion has given them an inside edge and helped them understand their customers better. With that mindset, they have outpowered companies that are typical go tos for this type of product.
Written by Dominique Scappucci
Read more posts by Dominique Scappucci