Puls Technologies has raised $50 million to grow its business that brings on-the-go technicians into your home to perform tech support. In short, the San Francisco-based company is seeking to out-geek Geek Squad by fixing anything with an “on” switch.
Like retailer Best Buy’s Geek Squad, Puls sends technicians to your home to help you install or fix technology. But Puls isn’t tied to a single brand or type of tech, and it has a network of more than 2,500 vetted professionals operating as contractors in 50 metropolitan areas. They can be summoned to install or repair products such as smartphones, big screen TVs, HD antennas, garage door openers, and smart home devices, including voice-activated speakers, video door bells, keyless locks, AI cameras, smart thermostats, and security systems. The target is to fix 85 percent of problems within the allotted appointment time.
Temasek led the investment round, with participation from existing investors Sequoia Capital, Red Dot Capital Partners, Samsung Next and Viola Ventures. The round also includes investments from Hanaco Ventures and Hamilton Lane.
Puls operates the whole chain for customer support. Puls’ technicians are available for on-demand service seven days a week. Their vehicles are like “mobile warehouses,” stocked with the parts they need based on Puls’ sophisticated inventory system, said Puls CEO Eyal Ronen in an interview with VentureBeat.
“We deliver a technician to your door, to fix anything,” said Ronen. “We started with mobile devices only, offering service as a standalone company. We guarantee the service and repairs and have thousands of freelancers on call.”
The new investment will fuel Puls’ vision to transform the service industry by bringing frictionless support to the full life cycle of every device or appliance. Puls is capitalizing on two global trends: widespread adoption of affordable connected devices and ever-increasing consumer expectations for on-demand services.
“We have an inventory system where we can see who has the right tools and inventory in an area to do a job,” Ronen said. “With machine learning, we can estimate what is most likely to be used or needed.”
Puls said it is poised for growth because it stands at the intersection of the on-demand home services market, estimated at over $400 billion, and the $50 billion home automation markets. By the end of 2018, there will be 11 billion connected devices globally — more than the number of people on earth. That’s forecast to double by 2020, when the average household will have 50 connected devices, creating an explosive need for integration, support, and repair services.
“We’re delighted to have Temasek leading this round,” said Ronen. “As investors in global online leaders, Temasek brings incredible expertise to our board. It’s a huge vote of confidence in our vision, team, and execution, as we accelerate our direct-to-consumer business and expand strategic partnerships with big name retailers, insurance companies, and hardware OEMs.”
This combination positions Puls to deliver unmatched quality and convenience to every customer, wherever and whenever is right for them, whether they are buying new products, getting them fixed, or have decided it’s time to upgrade.
This investment is the largest round to date for San Francisco-based Puls. In August 2017, the company announced a $25 million round.
Itai Hirsch and Ronen founded Puls in 2015. The company has thousands of 5-star reviews on Facebook and Yelp, and it has raised a total of $93 million to date. The company has 62 employees.
“We would like to add more and more verticals, like home appliances next year,” Ronen said. “We want to cover 80 percent of the U.S. population and be a well-known household brand.”
Rivals include Angie’s List, Home Advisor, Geek Squad, and local repair shops. Puls’ technicians can make $70,000 to $80,000 a year. For the most part, customers pay a flat fee for the service, depending on the type of job.