Exec — the Y Combinator-backed app that does your errands on-demand — just launched a cleaning-only app. It’s a decision that makes sense as housework has ended up being about 50 percent of the startup’s overall gross sales.
Cleaning has a totally different user experience inside Exec. Unlike Exec’s other tasks, which you can call up whenever you want (like Uber), cleaning tends to be a service that people schedule in advance. So Exec’s new cleaning app walks a user through the basic steps of listing how many bedrooms and bathrooms they have, scheduling the cleaning, and then paying for the service directly inside the app.
Justin Kan, the company’s CEO, admits that he’s kind of taking a page from Facebook’s playbook. After trying an all-in-one approach to building apps, that company created a portfolio of standalone apps like Camera, Poke and Messenger.
Similarly, having apps for specific tasks makes it easier for new users to understand what the apps do. It’s just easier for marketing to new users and then also getting them through the transaction quickly. He wouldn’t say what the company is exploring next in terms of task-specific apps.
“With cleaning it’s straightforward. People are already familiar with the concept of a cleaning service,” he said. “Having apps for different things I need to do can make it easier to get things done without talking to anyone.”
He added, “That’s where the future is going. If you look at our demographic, younger people don’t want to talk on the phone anymore. They want to quickly look it up and then book it.”
Cleaning also happens to be a good way to upsell Exec customers into paying for other tasks. Kan says there’s about a 20 percent crossover between the cleanings and other Exec tasks.
Expanding To Seattle
The other piece of news is that Exec is expanding to Seattle. Initially, when Kan set up the company, he avoided taking VC money and instead went for a $3.3 million “friends and family” round from other Y Combinator alums, because he wanted to ensure the concept was logistically and financially sound before expanding. (A large slug capital from an established firm can sometimes mean pressure to scale too quickly.)
He says he’s finally reached the point where he feels Exec is a sound concept that he can quickly expand to other markets without too much on-the-ground effort.
“A lot of the tools we’ve built are around managing people remotely. That’s why it took so long to get to a second area. But now it will take much less time to expand to new cities,” he said. “Our goal is to be able to manage the entire experience remotely.”
Those kinds of tools include ways for Execs to get continuous feedback from customers and make sure their ratings stay above a certain threshold.