Culture
Kaunas IN
2021 05 31
Discontract startup: a virtual job market reflecting global trends

Just two years ago, a team of talented professionals embarked on an ambitious idea to create a digital platform that would connect home service providers and customers of those services into a reliable network. This is how Discontract startup was born, having established its headquarters in Kaunas, operating not only in major Lithuanian cities, but also in Warsaw with a goal of expanding not only to Europe, but also to other continents.

The development of the startup began in early 2019 when two ambitious partners joined their abilities and competencies. Gediminas Jankus became the head of the company and is responsible for business development and marketing, and Laurynas Antanavičus, a graduate of KTU Gymnasium in Kaunas, a certified project management professional, who had previously managed large-scale IT projects, took over the startup’s finances and main business functions. They were soon joined by Tautvilas Mečinskas, another Kaunas resident (who also graduated from KTU Gymnasium), who has more than ten years of experience in developing IT projects in Lithuanian and foreign companies. He took over Discontract’s technologies and their development. Today, the startup’s team consists of professionals, who worked in such companies as Vinted of Wix. They all have one goal: to expand the business that was born in Kaunas and took root in Lithuania as well as Poland, throughout Europe and later in other continents.

Kaunas was chosen as the headquarters

When asked why Discontract was founded in Kaunas, G. Jankus says that the fast-growing city is extremely attractive for business development and the employment of good specialists.

“In addition, statistics show that there are more individual houses in Kaunas than in other cities, such as Vilnius. And individual homeowners are one type of our main clients. Before establishing the business, we organized meetings with service providers in Kaunas, Vilnius, Klaipėda and received a particularly high level of interest and registrations from Kaunas service providers,” head of the startup says.

According to him, the idea of a startup was born from observing the great need for domestic or house related service providers. The consumers are constantly looking for cleaning, transportation, plumbing repairs or similar services that need to be performed urgently or very urgently. At the beginning of the business development, the team determined that one of the biggest challenges would be to attract service providers, but thanks to insightful customer service and marketing specialists, the required number of providers was reached fairly quickly and continues to grow steadily.

“We accept challenges as opportunities, and we improve our product in such a way that makes it easier for service providers to receive orders and for clients to find and book individuals of companies simpler and faster,” G. Jankus smiles.

Interestingly, launched just a few months before the global pandemic, Discontract proved to be very timely. As the global economy slowed, the need for maintenance and domestic workers did not decrease but the search for them and the ability to complete the process – from finding and hiring to paying – on one platform became very appealing in a society immersed in social distancing.

“The Covid-19 pandemic is a global tragedy that has affected everyone. However, we are clearly seeing that people have improved technologically in recent years and started looking for new sources of income. Maintenance workers started using mobile apps, which allow them to earn extra income or even leave a paid job and start working independently, concentrating as much as possible on the quality of work,” creators of the platform say.

Virtual labor market

Currently, Discontract – a mobile app and website – offers the booking of maintenance workers and housekeeper services in Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipėda and Warsaw. In total, the platform currently has more than 16,000 registered users and over 470 service providers.

It is like a virtual labor market, which brings together two groups: freelance private service providers working on the basis of an individual economic activity certificate, a patent or as a legal person (housekeepers, fitters, carriers, supervisors, etc.) and customers who want to book a variety of services, including transportation, cleaning, assembling furniture, etc.

Startup creators say that customers did not take long to appreciate the convenience and reliability provided by a user-friendly search engine, fully automated payment system, time tracking, billing, and other necessary solutions. In addition, Discontract insures service providers with civil insurance. The coverage under the insurance contract automatically applies to all services ordered through the app. And this gives peace of mind to both the maintenance workers and the customers, who, having suffered losses due to the damage caused by the workers, can apply to the insurance company for compensation for these losses.

Users are also encouraged to choose the service providers registered on the platform because their identities are verified, the services are provided legally and after the work is done, the customer can evaluate the employee.

Focuses on global trends

The freelance work that has been gaining popularity both in Lithuania and the world, shows that this platform has a bright future ahead of it.

“It’s the so-called “gig economy”, which is thriving and gaining momentum. Statistics show that in the United States alone more than one in three people earn their income this way. The information provided by the Lithuanian Department of Statistics also shows a clear increase in the number of specialists providing individual services and their declared income,” G. Jankus says. According to him, the growing new mass of people working “for themselves” naturally grows various networks of service technologies around them.

“In our case, the platform helps a maintenance worker or a housekeeper to find a customer, and the customer – the necessary service provider at that moment, whether it is a good maintenance worker or a professional housekeeper. And it helps to do it safely, reliably, and without significant time costs,” G. Jankus talks about the appeal of the platform, adding that it is not a coincidence that it attracts a wide range of service providers. Currently, Discontract users can choose from more than 50 different services.

During its first year, Discontract attracted over 300,000 euros in investments from the Co-Investment Fund and private investors, which the company funneled at community growth and user base expansion in south-eastern Europe.

Source: Discontract photo.