Clear-out underway in online cleaning market
* Germany's Helpling buys Britain's Hassle.com
* Move comes as U.S. pioneer Homejoy in retreat
* Signs volatile "Uber for home help" market maturing
By Eric Auchard
FRANKFURT, July 3 (Reuters) - Booking household cleaning services online, one of the more cluttered areas of start-up investment recently, is undergoing a clear-out of its own as two European market leaders merge, while the U.S. pioneer in the field appears to be in retreat.
Germany's Helpling said on Friday it had acquired Britain's Hassle.com to boost its early international lead in the market for busy urban professionals who increasingly go online to book service providers such as home cleaners.
Financial terms were not disclosed.
The two firms aim to do for home cleaning what Airbnb and Uber have respectively done for room-sharing and ride-sharing -- using Web or mobile phone bookings and user reviews to upend an established market.
But whereas Airbnb and Uber quickly built the scale to dominate their markets, online cleaning services is a more open field, with U.S. pioneer Homejoy apparently in retreat after a rapid expansion in the United States, Canada and then Europe. Continuación...