Nancy Peterson shares the ups and downs of launching HomeStars at #TechTO


Every entrepreneur goes through ups and downs during their startup journey, but that doesn’t mean they should give up, according to Nancy Peterson, founder and CEO of HomeStars.

Speaking at the latest TechTO, Peterson walked the audience through the highs and lows she faced when launching HomeStars, as well as the importance of not giving up.

HomeStars allows homeowners to find home renovators and retailers through a database of contractors and service providers. Peterson said she left a high-paying corporate role to launch HomeStars, but encountered several challenges during the initial stages of her startup journey.

“I think anybody that’s jumping in the deep end is going to feel these ups and downs and really difficult times.”
– Nancy Peterson, founder of HomeStars

“I’m going to tell you a little story about somebody I know,” said Peterson, speaking about herself. “This person left a corporate job that was high-paying. They had a company car, stock, a big team, and they had a great idea. I thought it was a great idea so I said, go for it.”

When Peterson started building HomeStars, she said the company was sued for defamation, and in its first year, it couldn’t close a deal with a leading venture capitalist in Toronto. In addition, Peterson’s husband lost his job and her parents fell ill.

Even though Peterson experienced several roadblocks along the way, she didn’t give up. “I think anybody that’s jumping in the deep end is going to feel these ups and downs and really difficult times. It’s part of the journey,” said Peterson.

During her presentation, Peterson explained that she came up with the idea to launch HomeStars after doing a home renovation. Alongside learning about defamation law and ensuring they had a good team, Peterson was also focused on building a strong product.

“That was really our focus in our early years, to protect homeowners when they want to write negative reviews and get a great system in place, and also to protect ourselves from litigious companies,” said Peterson.

Fast forward to 2018, Peterson said HomeStars, which was acquired by HomeAdvisor in February 2017, is now in the scale-up phase as it looks to expand its team and continue working towards meeting its customers’ needs.

“We’re actually now in the scale-up side because we were bought by HomeAdvisor, and I really wanted that marriage to be a marriage that was going to the take the company to the next steps,” said Peterson. “[You] really want to make sure you keep the culture and you stay true to your mission and values…So now we’re in the throws of building a marketplace and that’s really exciting because consumers demand it and they want instant connections.”

Watch the full presentation below:

The next TechTO takes place on August 13. Get your tickets here!

Amira Zubairi

Amira Zubairi

Amira Zubairi is a staff writer and content creator at BetaKit with a strong interest in Canadian startup, business, and legal tech news. In her free time, Amira indulges in baking desserts, working out, and watching legal shows.