Homejoy says it is on a mission to free you from housework.
The tech-savvy home-cleaning service has raised $38 million.
“Homejoy is on a social mission to make homes happier everywhere,” cofounder and CEO Adora Cheung told VentureBeat. “We do this by giving people back time at home to do things they’re more passionate about and by giving cleaning professionals access to opportunities to better support their own homes.”
Housework may not be the most enjoyable task in the world, but it is necessary. YC-backed Homejoy connects people with professional home cleaners through an easy-to-use platform that streamlines the finding-and-booking process. Clients enter a few basic details about their home, select a convenient time, and for $20 an hour, a vetted service takes care of the dirty work.
The cleaners are personally selected for a client’s needs, and they all are bonded and insured, undergo background checks and in-person interviews, and must receive good reviews to stay on-staff.
“Busy people go home, and their homes may be dirty, the toilet may be broken, or weeds may be growing out their front lawn,” Cheung said. “The last thing they want to do is take care of it themselves. The next to last thing they want to do is do all the research required to find someone who can be trusted, reliable and will offer price transparency.”
As Cheung mentioned, Homejoy offers employment to people looking for extra income and flexible work hours, much in the way sharing economy startups like Lyft and TaskRabbit do.
She showed how one of their cleaners, who used to provide in-home care for the elderly but wanted more time to spend with her son, now works for Homejoy. I myself am a Homejoy client and have had cleaners range from students to professionals who have been cleaning for a decade.
Homejoy now works with 500 cleaners around the country. It is currently active in 31 markets across the U.S. and Canada.
A home-cleaning service may not be the most innovative or sexy idea in the world, but Homejoy is an example of a startup taking an offline, inconvenient, fragmented industry and modernizing how business gets done.
“The home cleaning industry is a $15 billion market, and we not only want to participate but we want to expand it,” Cheung said. “Many of our customers are those who’ve never used cleaning services before because it was never convenient or affordable. However, it’s not just about cleaning. We want to be the ‘get help’ button for your home.”
Homejoy launched in San Francisco in July 2012 as Pathjoy, and rebranded to Homejoy in March 2013. Cheung said when she and cofounder, Aaron Cheung (her brother), were starting out, she took a full-time job as a cleaner at a national company.
“We learned how to clean and came to appreciate how hard and labor intensive it is,” she said. “I saw how ‘the old guard’ does it and began thinking of ways we would improve it through technology. Everyone in our company cleans as well – they really understand how it works, which is a critical part of our company culture and helps us design processes and technology to make the company as efficient as possible.”
Homejoy announced last week that it established the Homejoy Foundation, a 501(c)3 that supports “home happiness” initiatives for veteran and military families. All administrative and operational costs are provided by Homejoy the startup, so donations go directly to organizational and individual grants.
Redpoint Ventures led this round, with participation from existing investor Google Ventures, Max Levchin, First Round Capital, Oliver Jung, Mike Hirshland, and others. This brings the total capital raised to $40 million.