Update: This article incorrectly stated Urakkamaailma was acquired by Alma Media. It has now been corrected to Alma Mediapartners
Renovations are a fact of life all over the world, but Finland is weird when it comes to their plumbing. It's bewildering to foreigners living here that that it's so common to be kicked out of your apartment for a month or two so they can fix the pipes while in the meantime, great cities like London are still using plumbing built by the Romans.
What's clear is renovations are big business in the Nordics, and Finnish startup Urakkamaailma has been able to tap into the business by providing a meeting point between renovators and renovatees. Seeing this growth, Alma Media has purchased an undisclosed 15% stake in the company, which co-founder Kalle Koivuniemi and the press release have been calling an acquisition, suggesting a closer relationship between the two companies than just an investment round.
As to why the acquisition took place Koivuniemi points out Alma Mediapartners owns Finland's largest real-estate site Etuovi. "It's natural we did collaboration since we’re in the same market, with a different sector. This acquisition gives us turbo engines for growth and for future expansions to other countries."
In Urakkamaailma, Both property managers and consumers are able to publicly ask for bids for their renovations, helping contractors find new customers and giving owners a better deal. To date there are almost 2,000 contractors registered in Urakkamaailma.fi.
Business has been steadily growing for the company, and it should be going up and up during the next ten to 15 years. Giving some insight into this business, Koivuniemi tells us that pipes apparently last about 30 to 60 years, and the last big renovation boom took place in the 60's and the 70's - meaning Finland's old buildings should be giving contractors plenty of work.
There's likely a conspiracy run by "Big Plumbing" in Finland, but regardless renovations are working out for Urakkamaailma. "I’ve always considered we’re not the most sexy, but time has shown that its a business and a good business model, and you can really make money and grow," says Koivuniemi.
toilets destroyed in a disused factory in Magdeburg photo by shutterstock