Each year, Americans spend roughly $30.1 billion dollars paying for yard work. It’s a huge amount of money that’s typically handled by a variety of local vendors who are mostly finding work through word of mouth referrals.
Well, Yardbook, a one-year-old company launched by serial entrepreneurs, Mark Ke — who left his job at Yahoo to start the company — and Brian Gamido, is looking to change that system, and capture a huge chunk of that revenue.
Yardbook’s the latest example of a thesis that’s been popular among valley investors for a few years — namely bringing software as a service companies to small and medium-sized businesses.
With the penetration of mobile phones, and simply the falling costs of hosting and managing and online business, new verticals are opening up to young companies at prices and scales that would have been unheard of even a few years ago.
In YardBook’s case, it’s the lawncare industry.
And the customer adoption of YardBook shows that, at least in this instance, the thesis might be proven correct.
In just over a year, the company has managed to snag 11,000 customers and processed $65 million in payments across the platform. Today, the company is launching a tipping feature for payments so that even more money can be captured by lawncare service providers without the need to resort to grubby cash payments (filthy lucre!)
This isn’t Gamido’s first time launching a startup. The entrepreneur previously started the bitcoin-based remittance company Palarin (which is closing its doors). Meanwhile, Gamido’s co-founder, Mark Ke, was a senior architect at Oracle, Siebel and Yahoo where he built a number of field applications for businesses.
“For Palarin, we ran into a couple of issues. Number one, the rate of adoption of bitcoin wasn’t as drastic and as large as we anticipated,” says Gamido. Ultimately “[bitcoin] was too big of a technological hurdle to catch on.”
Already, in the months since the January launch of YardBook, the company is doing much better than Gamido’s previous turn at the helm.
“We’re operating nationwide. We’re in 46 out of the 50 states,” Gamido says.
For small business users in the lawncare industry, YardBook provides a suite of tools, including an estimated cost feature based on geolocation and satellite views of properties along with record keeping for the small business owner.