There’s been a lot of activity in the peer-to-peer marketplace space, with startups increasingly wanting users to outsource their daily chores, be it cleaning or handyman work around the home, to others. Exec, which provides a general service marketplace as well as a standalone app that connects people with house cleaners, is one of them. BetaKit recently covered the startup when it launched its housecleaning iPhone app and hinted at expansion plans, and this week the company announced its service is now live in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Boston.
BetaKit caught up with CEO Justin Kan, formerly the founder of Justin.tv, who spoke about the challenges the startup faced to scale its service, and the solutions it implemented to automate both the recruiting and onboarding process for its field staff. “We spent all our time in the office to see what activities we actually do on a day-to-day basis and how we could solve those by software,” said Kan in an interview. “The operations people are primarily responsible for hiring, quality control, making sure the jobs are done well, and doing the evaluations. What we’ve done is built a system on the back-end to make them more efficient.”
With more than 7,000 applicants and a hiring process for those completing tasks, or “Execs,” that includes an online application, phone interview, web-based and video testing, and an in-person review, Kan said the new set of tools Exec built were a major driver behind the expansion. Hence, the startup has gone from one to three to now seven cities without adding core team members to its staff headquartered in San Francisco. To better manage the Execs and cleaners in the cities to which it has expanded, it has built a dashboard for Execs to receive automated feedback where they can see all their payroll details and updates. Kan added saying that someone from their operations teams still goes out to do in-person evaluations.
Over the past week, BetaKit has also covered the launch of Handybook’s iPhone app, a home services booking platform, in addition to seeing a new player in the Canadian market, Kutoto, launch its service marketplace. And as the trend grows, Kan believes startups are increasingly fitting in two streams, either as a one-click service provider where users submit a job and someone in the network picks it up, versus online marketplaces where individuals search for the exact person they want to complete their task and negotiate the deal themselves, like Skillpages.
According to Kan, Exec’s more ‘Amazon-like’ approach is what he believes will eventually win out. “Ultimately I think that the things that are more push a button and forget about it are going to win. I think that’s how people want to consume and shop,” Kan added. “If you look at Amazon, you browse Amazon, you click something, and if you’re a Prime member you receive it two-days later. I think that model is going to win out over an eBay-like model which is what’s more like a marketplace that brings together buyers and sellers. That’s our goal, to be the Amazon of local services, where it’s just something that’s a little more straight-forward offering.”
The underlying answer to the question of whether people prefer to pick a time and have the service done by whoever is available over going through a list of bidders and deciding who has the better qualifications will continue to play out as these startups continue to grow. Ultimately, it will come down to convenience and quality, and with an expansion now to four additional cities, Exec is out to prove that its approach is preferred.
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