Customers are becoming increasingly comfortable with the idea of booking services on the web and on their phones, so companies like Handybook are taking off. It’s for that reason that the on-demand home services startup has decided to hire former Amazon exec Jeff Pedersen as its new CFO.
It probably seems early for a startup like Handybook to add a CFO with such extensive experience. After all, it’s just two years old and is nowhere near going public. But the company was scaling quickly and CEO Oisin Hanrahan believed it could benefit from having someone to handle its finances.
“We really needed to add some talent in terms of financial operations for the business,” Hanrahan said in a phone interview. “The business has scaled pretty significantly. It’s 10 times bigger than it was on the first day of the year. We’re processing millions of dollars a month and we felt it was time to add some serious horsepower to the team.”
The CFO appointment comes just a few months after Handybook raised a big $30 million round of funding led by Steve Case’s Revolution Growth. Altogether it has raised about $45 million, with other investors that include General Catalyst, Highland Capital, David Tisch, and Bullhorn CEO Art Papas, among others.
With that funding and its new CFO, Handybook will be looking to expand beyond its current base of 27 markets, including increasingly moving into new overseas markets.
Admittedly, Hanrahan says that Handybook is “hiring ahead of the curve,” but believes the hire will help the company pull ahead in an increasingly competitive market. Rival Homejoy recently started encroaching on Handybook’s turf by not just offering cleaning services, but also launching a series of handyman-type services.
Pedersen held a variety of roles while at Amazon, but he served most recently as the company’s head of hardline finance. In that role, he oversaw financial operations for a $30 billion chunk of Amazon’s overall sales. He also held various operational finance roles at Dell and IBM.
According to Hanrahan, it was that combination of operational and financial expertise which attracted Handybook in pursuing Pedersen. And it’s his experience handling high transaction-volume businesses that ultimately led the company to hire him.
“It’s one thing to have a finance background, and it’s another thing to have operational finance background,” Hanrahan told me. “You really want your CFO to be operationally excellent, and Jeff comes with a deep operational finance background at Dell, at IBM, and at Amazon.”
For Pedersen, the decision to join a startup after working in major public companies will be a change. But he also sees promise in the two-year-old startup. In an email to TechCrunch, he wrote:
“I am thrilled to join the Handybook team. As the leader in on-demand home services, Handybook is a great example of a company transforming a traditional industry through the use of technology… In so many ways, the ambitions of Handybook remind me of Amazon’s own beginnings and I look forward to assisting the brand that has emerged as the leader in this space as they grow and scale.”