How Anymaster Is Redefining Service Marketplaces In Cyprus

by Marios Roussos
How Anymaster is Redefining Service Marketplaces in Cyprus

Transitioning from challenges to innovation with an entrepreneurial spirit

A startup that exemplifies innovation and strategic partnerships, Anymaster is poised to redefine service accessibility in Cyprus and set new industry standards for efficiency and reliability.

We talked with the Founder and CEO, Diana Verkhoturova, and discovered the story of how Anymaster was born and the challenges the company faced during a corporate relocation to Cyprus. This experience revealed significant gaps in the service provider market, inspiring the creation of a platform designed to streamline access to reliable services.

Anymaster’s unique approach addresses the common “chicken-and-egg problem” of marketplace platforms by forging strategic partnerships with major retailers like Superhome and Leroy Merlin. These collaborations ensure a steady flow of orders for service professionals, enhancing reliability and efficiency. This model sets Anymaster apart, positioning it as a market leader in Cyprus.

The competitive market in Cyprus, driven by skilled migrants and digitalisation, presents both challenges and opportunities. Anymaster’s strategic use of short-form video content and successful retailer partnerships have secured its market share and improved customer satisfaction.

Facing typical startup hurdles, Anymaster employed creative marketing strategies and leveraged the supportive business environment in Cyprus. Despite occasional nationality and language challenges, these efforts have facilitated its growth.

“Chicken egg problem”

Tell us a bit about yourself and how you came up with the idea for Anymaster.

My journey with Anymaster stems from a familiar entrepreneurial genesis: identifying a problem and striving to solve it. As the CEO of Lumi Software back in 2022, our relocation to Cyprus brought forth a multitude of challenges. From sourcing new office spaces to facilitating the seamless transition of our employees into their new homes, the process was inundated with complexities.

One of the most significant hurdles we encountered was navigating the landscape of service providers. We found ourselves grappling with the ambiguity of fair pricing and the reliability of the services offered. The urgency of our situation demanded quick solutions, yet we often encountered reluctance from service providers to accommodate our needs promptly.

This experience illuminated a glaring gap in the market: the absence of a streamlined platform that connects individuals and businesses with reliable service providers efficiently. Drawing from my prior experiences utilizing service marketplaces in other countries, I recognized the immense potential for such a platform in Cyprus.

And thus, the concept of Anymaster was born. Our mission is to revolutionize the way people access and engage with service providers in Cyprus, offering a convenient and transparent solution for all their needs.

What solution does Anymaster introduce in the market? How different is it from other similar platforms?

Anymaster offers a novel solution to the market’s persistent “chicken-egg problem”. This challenge arises from the need to balance the demand for services with the availability of skilled professionals on the platform. Unlike many other marketplaces, Anymaster has effectively overcome this hurdle by forging strategic partnerships with major DIY stores like Superhome and Leroy Merlin.

Through these partnerships, Anymaster provides its software to facilitate after-sales services such as home deliveries, furniture assembly, and installations. This arrangement ensures a steady flow of orders to register service professionals, motivating them to remain active on the platform.

The symbiotic relationship benefits all parties involved: service professionals stay engaged and motivated, stores streamline their after-sales processes, and Anymaster clients receive prompt and high-quality service offers from loyal professionals in less than 1 minute. This unique business model sets Anymaster apart from other similar platforms, making it a preferred choice for both service providers and customers in Cyprus.

Solidifying its position

Do you think that for the volumes of Cyprus’s market, the competition is high?

The competition in Cyprus’s market is indeed notable, fuelled by an influx of talented migrants and the increasing adoption of digital solutions across various sectors. When Anymaster was launched, it entered a relatively untapped market but quickly faced emerging competitors.

Within the same year, we observed the emergence of new service marketplaces, including players from Greece and local startups. This trend underscored the demand for such platforms, prompting us to intensify our efforts to secure a significant market share.

In any marketplace, there’s typically room for only 1-2 main players. Currently, Anymaster is focused on solidifying its position as the primary choice in the market. We believe we’re on the right path to achieving this goal.

What is the key to your strategy that led you to your success?

The cornerstone of our success lies in our strategic approach to overcoming the classic marketplace challenge: the chicken-and-egg dilemma. Anymaster tackled this obstacle head-on by implementing a bold content strategy, predominantly focused on short-form video content across platforms like Reels. This initiative significantly boosted our brand visibility.

One pivotal moment came when a particularly successful video, filmed at Limassol’s Superhome Center, garnered an impressive 120,000 organic views. This caught the attention of the Superhome Center team and led to a fortuitous partnership. Anymaster was appointed as the exclusive provider of after-sales services for Superhome Center across their six locations.

This partnership resulted in tangible benefits for all parties involved. Anymaster experienced a steady influx of orders, while Superhome Center drastically reduced their average delivery time from seven days to just two, thereby enhancing customer satisfaction. Additionally, clients enjoyed the convenience of accessing professional services effortlessly, while professionals benefited from a consistent flow of orders and improved reputations through Anymaster’s review and rating system.

Encouraged by the success of our collaboration with Superhome Center, Anymaster replicated this model with other prominent retailers like Mangas, Mr. Bricolage, and Leroy Merlin. These partnerships further solidified our position as a market leader in Cyprus.

Challenging environment

In your experience, how inclusive and supportive is the business environment in Cyprus for women looking to create their businesses or be entrepreneurs?

In my experience, the business environment in Cyprus is generally inclusive and supportive, with little to no discrimination based on gender. Despite the country’s traditional culture and mentality, I have not personally encountered any obstacles or biases in my entrepreneurial endeavours.

However, challenges may arise for individuals based on nationality, particularly if there are political tensions in their native country. This can be more prevalent, especially in sectors like finance. Nevertheless, these challenges are typically navigable and often just require additional time for resolution.

Overall, while there may be hurdles to overcome, the business environment in Cyprus remains welcoming and equitable for entrepreneurs, regardless of gender.

What are the main challenges you had to face during your first steps? From creating your company to approaching specialists.

The main challenges we encountered during our initial steps stemmed from the need to establish awareness and traction in the market, despite the necessity and demand for our product.

With limited marketing budgets, creativity became our ally. We explored various unconventional approaches to showcase our presence. For instance, incentivizing our service professionals with discounts for displaying Anymaster stickers on their vehicles proved effective in enhancing offline visibility. Additionally, leveraging billboards along Cyprus highways yielded positive results, capturing the attention of potential users.

Our partnerships with stores also played a crucial role. Utilizing these collaborations, we strategically placed posters in tool sections, enticing service professionals to join our platform.

Another challenge for an expat is navigating the foreign language market. Good thing that 80% of the island can speak English, and it helped us a lot before we hired our first locals. But you shouldn’t underestimate the language barrier, as speaking the native language also brings much more trust to your clients.

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