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Galway entrepreneurs Eoghain and Ailish Ryan have high ambitions and expectations for their unique new online marketplace for home building and improvements.
The siblings, who are also behind the most popular study website for Irish and UK secondary school students iRevise.com, want to take their latest project to Britain and the US in the coming months and years after it got off to a flying start here in Ireland.
Housebuild.ie offers home-owners direct access to construction professionals, products and services, in a one-stop digital hub – and tradespeople can also sign up to offer their services.
Since going live, the site has signed up over 2,000 professionals nationwide, from bricklayers, plumbers, and carpenters, to surveyors, engineers and architects.
More than 20,000 people have also logged on to the website so far to search for tradespeople in their area, buy from product partners and browse a dedicated inspiration section for home decor and interior design ideas.
Housebuild.ie also has a construction hub with practical guides and easy-to-follow ‘how to’ videos on everything from building regulations, planning, and costing to energy efficient, Passive House and NZEB projects.
Eoghain Ryan, co-founder and Director of Housebuild.ie, said that there is no comparable site in Ireland or the UK which offers everything you can possibly think of in one single online ecosystem.
“We have everything you need for home-builds, improvements and decor,” said Mr Ryan.
“From tradespeople you can rate and review, to furniture, fixtures, fittings and simple how-to guides designed to take the fear out of any project — it’s all there, and it’s badly needed.”
Housebuild.ie has been developed at a cost of €450,000 with help from James Whelton, the Cork-born founder of CoderDojo, and Joe Smyth, co-founder of Altocloud, the Galway SaaS start-up acquired by US firm Genesys.
Both Whelton and Smyth have joined the Board of Directors at Housebuild.ie, which is headquartered in Salthill and employs 15 people.
Whelton previously worked with Eoghain and Ailish Ryan on the development of iRevise.com (formerly Mocks.ie), the study site they run together with their brother Pádraig.
Launched in 2009, iRevise.com has since become Ireland’s biggest online educational resource for second-level students sitting exams in Ireland and the UK and has been used by 900,000 students.
Eoghain and Ailish also run Ryan and Associates, an engineering consultancy in Salthill specialising in fire safety. The siblings launched a free mobile app for construction professionals in 2015, offering a one-stop shop for building regulations.
Their building regulations app will now be rolled into the Building Regulations, Planning and Guidelines section of Housebuild.ie, adding further value for professionals using the site.
Ailish Ryan, Co-Founder and Director of Housebuild.ie, said that there is a “huge amount of due diligence in residential builds now but finding all the guidelines and detailed drawings you need to ensure a job is done right is not easy for professionals in the sector.
“We’ve been able to put it all together in a simple searchable format.”
Homeowners can use Housebuild.ie free of charge. Professionals can also sign up for free for now. A subscription programme will be introduced further down the line.
Engineer Kevin McDonagh has joined Housebuild.ie as MD following a successful 20-year career in the life sciences sector.
“For our retail partners like EZ Living and Tile Merchant, Housebuild.ie gives them a unique platform to reach their target customer,” he said.
“They don’t have to spend thousands on digital advertising trying to track the right customers online. We will also have an affiliate sales programme whereby we get a percentage of the sale of products featured on the site.
“We want to have full e-commerce capability and we’re in talks with mortgage providers and home, professional indemnity and public liability insurers.”
The Housebuild.ie team have ambitious plans for the tech start-up.
“The plan is to expand into the UK later this year with the launch of Housebuild.co.uk. From there, we hope to have the Housebuild platform live in the US by 2024,” added Eoghain Ryan.