Let’s face it: Finding a good, reliable electrician or HVAC pro is never easy. But get them we must—or that guest bathroom will stay frozen in the 1980s. So deep breath, let’s explore the options.
The truth is, if you’re going to look for the heat, it’s really the VC’s stumbling over themselves to participate in deals rather than clever business models. Porch gobbled up a bunch of complementary services, then IPO’d. Angie’s List was acquired. Series L on worn-out marginal ideas. The VC appetite to throw money in this area seems inexhaustible (can anyone say “tech bro problems”?).
Throw pillows with that faucet install? → Houzz
Houzz has been going since 2009, started by a couple who went the remodeling route and then some. They ended up creating the A to Z of experience, from inspiration to materials to installation to deco.
So, if you can keep focused and not get lost among Vegas-like distractions, Houzz has a decent experience. Here, you cruise lots of bios, pics of work, typical job cost, reviews, etc.—and shocker, can even access the contractor’s phone number and email for direct contact. Points for transparency and depth of services.
There is a whole lot more to Houzz. Cool house porn, loads of furnishings, slick tools for visualizing, and the crashlanding feature “Real Cost Finder.” Remember what I said about staying focused?
Venture status: This is a Series E company, which raised $400M thanks to the backing of Iconiq Capital and Sequoia—and about 50 others. The company went through a rough patch in Covid, but it’s roaring back. Houzz has not only blanketed the U.S. but has local versions in 14 other countries as well. Whispers are circulating on a SPAC or IPO.
Maintenance by the month. → Super
Super is basically repair insurance for your appliance and system needs. You choose your level of service from three packages priced by the month or year. And then abuse your dishwasher to your heart’s content.
So big caveats: Super is only in five states, and it doesn’t address the remodels and other problems that Houzz tackles. Basically, this is the package you buy your parents to ensure the air conditioning stays on.
Venture status: Super recently closed its oversubscribed Series C at $50M, with Wells Fargo in the lead. Didn’t hurt that it delivered 7X revenue growth since its April 2019 Series B. The secret sauce to the company’s growth is its real estate partnerships. That's pretty interesting, actually. Keep an eye on this one.
Jack of all trades. → Talklocal
Local it is, with a presence in 49 states. It’s a hodge-podgey kind of service, offering access to dentists, lawyers, carpenters, carpet cleaners, limo drivers, therapists, computer repair folk, accountants, vets, and—oh yeah—heating/cooling and plumbing pros.
Talklocal boasts a concierge service where you select days and times good for you to have your desired service performed. Talklocal contacts pros and then connects you with up to three on the phone. It kinda interacts with Google Maps to show you the pro’s distance from your location, but swears it doesn’t sell your data. Hmm.
Venture status: The youngster of the group with a $3.9M Series A in 2015 and hasn’t raised since then. That’s usually really good or really bad news.
Still a big problem area with not a lot of creative juice. Come on people, Boomer Daddy’s hot tub is leaking.
What happens to your digital assets when you die? Planning your digital death.