In the wake of Exec’s sale to Handybook and Homejoy’s big $38 million round, there are still plenty of other startups doing home services on-demand from your mobile phone. Housecall, out of San Diego, is a startup that handles the long-tail of services like electrical or swimming pool work and carpet cleanings.
The team came out of Qualcomm Labs, where CEO Ian Heidt had been working on a context-awareness platform called Gimbal that would infer meaning from a smartphone’s sensors.
“We wanted to start our own new thing. That initiative had done really well,” he said. “We were super intrigued by people making new mobile businesses out of these older-school ideas. With Housecall, we really wanted to accentuate that relationship between the homeowner and the service provider.”
The six-person startup currently offers more than 20 types of services, including housekeeping, junk removal, plumbing, painting, locksmith work, window cleaning and so on. So while other platforms like Homejoy laser in on cleanings, Housecall has a much more expansive range of offerings. They follow in the footsteps of other web-based platforms like RedBeacon, a TechCrunch Disrupt winner that went on to be acquired by Home Depot.
“When we launched it, it was literally just us addressing any of the places where home and technology like home automation intersect,” Heidt said. “Then we started bringing in all these other professionals from other categories.”
When you sign up with Housecall, you pick categories that you want work finished in and then you’ll see service providers. You can look up their services and prices, and then book them if they seem appealing. So far, Housecall is only available in San Diego, and they’re expanding it carefully by ZIP code after ZIP code. They haven’t disclosed their fee splits with providers.
“At the outset, we were basically marketing it through our personal networks and the people they knew well,” Heidt said. “That has carried it a long way.”
The company has raised $1.5 million from investors, including e.ventures, and was part of EvoNexus, a pro bono technology incubator based in San Diego.