William S. Oesterle and Angie Hicks founded Angie's List in 1995. The idea resulted from Hicks's search for a reliable construction contractor in suburban Columbus, Ohio, on behalf of Oesterle, a venture capitalist who was Hicks's boss. Hicks moved to Columbus to join Oesterle in creating Columbus Neighbors, a call-in service and publication with reviews of local home and lawn care services. The name and concept were based on Unified Neighbors in Indianapolis, Indiana. Hicks went door-to-door, signing up consumers as members and collecting ratings of local contractors.
After Hicks recruited over 1,000 members in Columbus within one year, she turned to Oesterle to raise money from investors to develop the business. In 1996, the company bought Unified Neighbors from its creator and moved the company's headquarters to Indianapolis.
By 1999, the database of local services and reviews was moved to the Internet. In the following years, the customer base and business relationships grew throughout the United States, while expanding coverage to include additional services, such as health care and auto care.