My mother enjoys a codependent relationship with Umbrella, the company that connects senior citizens with $20-hour “neighbors” who do all the tasks that people like my mom need: minor home repairs, tech help, furniture assembly, moving large items.
IAC has taken note and recently acquired Umbrella for an undisclosed sum, the companies announced today, adding to its extensive portfolio of internet brands. Umbrella will join IAC’s ANGI Homeservices arm. As is fitting for these rainy times, the deal was negotiated via Zoom.
Umbrella stormed onto the scene in 2017 as the brainchild of Harvard Business School grad Lindsay Ullman, who previously spent a decade investing in and incubating other companies through Google Ventures and other firms. Members pay an annual $199 membership, and 75% renew.
My mom likes Umbrella because the “neighbors” are prescreened and charge flat prices. She has lately developed a psychologically complex relationship with a yard care “neighbor” named Bill. (I don’t delve beyond confirming that the yard does not resemble a wheat field.) I like Umbrella because my mother no longer says the words, “I pay him whatever he wants.”
Umbrella will now share a roof with Angie’s List, which IAC acquired for $781 million in 2017 and combined with HomeAdvisor, the company that, much like Angie’s List, connects customers with “trusted local pros.” IAC excels at owning many companies that do the exact same thing: Until seven months ago, it also owned Match Group, which houses Match.com, OkCupid, Hinge, Tinder, and PlentyOfFish.
A year-and-a-half ago, IAC was considering a spinoff of both ANGI Homeservices and Match Group, and then decided to hold onto ANGI until it finished cutting the cord with Match Group. IAC chairman Barry Diller has described his acquisition strategy as building up companies, “and when they deserve independence, let them have it.” Past spinoffs have included Expedia, Ticketmaster, and HSN. Expect Umbrella’s stint at IAC to be counted in seasons.
Exclusive: IAC acquires Umbrella, the popular household-help service for senior citizens The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ Fast Company.