Uber Home … how every type of service can be innovated with an Uber-style business model

October 10, 2016

It’s a simple game … “Imagine creating an Uber-type of business model for …”

Entrepreneurs love it, and in particular see the home as a great place to innovate the way in which services can be delivered on-demand.

CB Insights, the research firm, identified dozens of startups aiming to offer convenient, on-demand options for everything from lawn mowing to plumbing to TV repair. Many of these startups operate within the 1099 or gig economy, relying on independent contractors rather than employees. In addition, some go further on the services side and position themselves as ways for non-professionals to earn extra money by completing short-term projects on their own schedules. All are hoping to make the home services process as seamless for the consumer as other types of online shopping.

Their infographic brings together start-ups that leverage an on-demand business model, that is they enable users to book services instantly online, and receive the service within a few hours or, for larger projects like home renovations, within a compressed timeline.


Construction & renovation – Startups such as Boston-based Renoviso ($5M in funding) provide on-demand quotes and booking for large-scale home construction and renovation projects.

General services marketplaces – These startups aim to connect people who have short-term, non-professional home improvement projects (and other tasks) to people willing to do the work, in real-time. The most well-funded is Thumbtack, which lets users post project proposals and receive instant bids to complete them; the company has raised $274M in funding from investors including Sequoia and Google Capital and joined our Unicorn Tracker in 2015. Another high-profile company in the category is “Uber for services” app Taskrabbit, which has raised nearly $38M.

House cleaning – Handy, with $109M in funding, and other startups offer on-demand home cleaning, with appointments generally available same-day as well as by subscription, and bookable online.

House painting – The New York-based Paintzen ($12M in disclosed funding) and others offer on-demand house painting services.

Interior design – These startups provide on-demand access to interior design professionals. Havenly, with $13M in funding, connects users virtually to interior design experts who help in creating design themes, by building online visualizations, making personalized shopping lists, and obtaining and ordering desired items. Cocontest lets users submit project proposals and receive personalized bids from interior design professionals, while Homee offers text message-based on-demand design advice.

Laundry – A crowded category, on-demand laundry startups generally promise to pick up users’ clothing, handle the laundering, and then deliver the finished bundles back to users’ doors. Despite several recent laundry startup deaths, such as Washio, we still see a good deal of companies offering similar services around the world, including Lenet ($6M in funding) in Japan, Edaixi ($123M) in China, Laundrapp ($14M) in the UK, and Rinse ($10M) in the US.

Lawn care – Led by TaskEasy, with $22M in funding, these startups offer on-demand lawn mowing and landscaping services, bookable online.

Moving services – Startups like the Seattle-based Dolly ($10M in funding) and Tennessee-based Bellhops ($20M in funding) provide on-demand services for moving homes or apartments.

Professional contractor marketplaces – Platforms like HouzzPorch, and Australia’s HiPages help users search for and connect with professional contractors for a wide variety of household improvement projects. These websites focus on professional contractors, in contrast to startups in the General Services Marketplaces category (above) which offer more amateur and peer-to-peer help. Houzz earned a spot on our Unicorn Tracker in 2014, and is currently valued at $2.3B.

Repair services – Startups like Serviz ($31M in disclosed funding) offer on-demand repair for large appliances, such as ovens and refrigerators, and plumbing issues. These startups focus specifically on repairs, while some of the broader home service marketplaces included in other categories of this market map may offer repairs alongside other services.

Storage – These companies offer on-demand help with item pickup and storage. Full-service storage startup Clutter, based in CA, leads the pack with $32M in funding.

Subscription home management – HappyHome ($18M in funding) and other startups offer subscription plans for overall home management. Subscribers receive on-demand access to a variety of home maintenance and repair services, all handled through their single subscription and personal home managers.

Tech support – HelloTech ($22M in disclosed funding) and Cellsavers ($18M in disclosed funding) promise to send on-demand tech support specialists to customers’ doors to fix their computers and smartphones within a few hours.


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