Pathjoy, a Y Combinator-incubated startup that makes it easy and affordable to have your home cleaned, is announcing that it has raised $1.7 million in seed funding. It’s taking on a new name that sounds like a better fit for its mission — goodbye Pathjoy, hello Homejoy.
The funding came from Andreessen Horowitz, First Round Capital, Mike Hirshland/Resolute.VC, Max Levchin, Paul Buchheit, Saba Software CEO Bobby Yazdani, and Pejman Nozad. CEO and co-founder Adora Cheung told me that the investors seemed to be particularly excited about connecting unemployed and underemployed people with work, and about a service that’s spreading thanks to word of mouth.
The company offers a simple web interface for booking cleanings. It charges $20 an hour, and before the appointment, you can view the profile of the person who’s going to be cleaning your home. (Cleaners are also background checked and rated by customers.) Cheung previously said that the company has done a lot of work behind the scenes to take some of the inefficiencies out of the system, so that it can offer cleanings that are significantly cheaper than most other services.
I’ve actually become a big fan of the service myself, and I’ve used it several times since I covered the company in October. (I converted my roommate, too — the last time our apartment started looking a little scruffy, he was the first one to suggest using the service again.) It takes only a few clicks to make an appointment, and I was also impressed by the cleaners.
On the other hand, I’ve never actually paid someone to clean my apartment before, so I don’t have much to compare it with. After the initial coverage, other people seemed a little skeptical, basically asking: Really? You just built a website for a cleaning service?
When I asked Cheung today if people are misunderstanding the company, she responded, “I’m less worried about whether we’re a tech startup. We’re certainly not building a search engine, but we are using technology to make things more convenient and much simpler.” (It’s also worth noting that Exec, which started out as more of a general assistant/errand service, has been doing more to create unique interfaces and workforces for different services, particularly cleaning.)
One of the things that Cheung highlighted last time we spoke was the process that the company has developed for moving quickly into a city, recruiting cleaners, and finding demand. In fact, Homejoy is now available in every major West Coast city (San Francisco, San Jose, San Diego, Seattle, and Los Angeles), and it’s launching this week in New York.