The Happy Home Companyisaiming to eliminate the headaches of home maintenance and improvement, and its raised $3.5 million in seed funding.
The companyhas been relatively quiet, at least in terms of talking to the media, since I wrote about it a year ago. CEO Doug Ludlow told me today thatthis was intentional he wanted to work out the kinks in the model before making a big marketing push.
Ludlow previously sold his startup Hipster to AOL (which owns TechCrunch). With The Happy Home Company, hes said that his goal was to takethe things that can be mystifying and terrifying to the average homeowner and to make them more accessible. His team achieves that by assigning home managers to each customer. When something needs to fixed, those managers can help identify the issue and hire the right expert for the job, and they can also work with you on a more long-term maintenance plan.
Other startups seem to have struggled in this market, with Purch making significant layoffsand Homejoy shutting down. (Homejoy was less of a direct competitor, given its focus on cleaning, but it was in the broader home services industryand alsoattempted to expand into handyman services.)
Thats why Ludlow said it was important to get the business model right. One encouraging sign: While it took Happy Home 384 days to reach 1,000 users and $1 million in projects, it only took 38 days to reach its next 1,000/$1 million. He also said that as people start trusting the service more, theyre using it for bigger jobs the biggest so far has been $36,000.
And the model has evolved. For one thing, the startup no longer charges a monthly fee. Ludlow said that while the $9.99 fee wasnt a big cost compared to spendingtens of thousands of dollars on home maintenance, it still scared people away, so it made more sense to make money from transactional fees. The startup has also axed its mobile app, because users were more interested in interacting with their home managers via text message.
Next up is expansion beyond the Bay Area. In fact, Ludlow said that since The Happy Home Companyconnects users with existing handymen and service providers, it should work anywhere in the United States, although response times will probably be slower in some markets.
Here are the seed investors:
Chris Sacca and Matt Mazzeo, Lowercase CapitalBrian Pokorny, SV AngelDavid Tisch, Box GroupDave Morin, Slow VenturesJosh Felser, Freestyle CapitalAaron Levie, BoxRobert Stephens, Founder of Geek SquadMatt Coffin, Founder of LowerMyBillsFabrice Grinda andGimar Vaca SitticJai Choi of Partech and TektonSazze PartnersFeatured Image: Happy Home Company