The best description of Handy is as a house cleaning service, insofar as cleaning is by far its most popular features. But Handy is, ironically enough, not quite correctly summed up so handily since its vision is a bit broader. In short, Handy is a platform for connecting various types of consumers to various handymen who can do around the home tasks that mostly require patience and perseverance.
Or as their own website lightly puts it.
We admit that "handyman" is a pretty generic word, but that's because the professionals on the platform can accommodate a wide range of requests. From assembling that new couch that looks more like a 3D puzzle kit, to hanging the TV you bought to watch from said couch, to installing the mood lighting for the room with the TV and the couch, these professionals can get it done, and they can get it done the right way.
Handy has its limits — this isn't a site to seek out if one is looking to get their house rewired or re-plumbed, and this isn't a service for licensed professionals so much as it for the generically handy. The sorts of things everyone feels like they should be able to do, but when push come to shove — or when it comes to actually putting together that couch you bought at Ikea — many consumers quickly realize that whether or not they can complete the task is secondary to how very little they want to have to.
A year and half ago, it seemed as though any mobile application that could describe itself reasonably as the Uber of something could snap up a few million (or hundred million) to test and see if consumers like things.
Flash forward, and while Uber is growing strong, services that were perhaps less scalable even in concept (Uber for kids, springs to mind) have started to flounder and buckle, while firms with a capacity to go broad and continue scaling up their customer base (and 1099 workforce) and approach profitability are the businesses that are now keeping investors' cooling attentions.
Handy is certainly one of the on-demand players standing at that crossroads. In an environment where growth costs are high but margins are thin, the startup has raised $110 million so far to be one of the last players standing at the winning end of the coming consolidation.
Which has in turn seen Handy steadily broadening its base of services beyond cleaning, which is its bread and butter, more toward a plethora of handyman-ish services. This over time has meant snapping up some smaller competitors, and Handy is now quietly and slowly building out a portfolio of services to bring in more users. Apart from the expanded menu of services on offer, users can choose specific "Pros" to to be their regular service provider.
It has also, as of yesterday, acquired the customer list of Move Loot, a furniture consignment platform that never quite made it off the ground.
Moov Loot was designed as a market for selling furniture on consignment, meaning that it, too, once offered a kind of storage service of sorts. However, as Move Loot ran out of cash, it eventually pivoted to a peer-to-peer sales model.
Out of the box it was able to raise about $22 million in funding from a list of big name investors — Y Combinator, GV, Index, Metamorphic and Sherpa — Move Loot went up for sale earlier this month and has officially decided to sell its customer list to Handy. As far as all reports indicate, not staff or assets were part of the deal.
“We’re sorry to announce that as of today the Move Loot furniture marketplace is coming to an end and we have ceased operations,” noted a public letter posted by co-founders Shruti Shah, Bill Bobbitt, Jenny Karin Morrill and Ryan Smith. “We are partnering with Handy, the much-loved home services marketplace, to help our customers with all things home — from cleaning services to moving help to furniture assembly.”
Handy will not automatically sign on Move Loot customers into Handy accounts. Instead, it will offer said customers a free hour of service as an introduction. That hour can be put toward any service Handy offers, and sources close to the deal note that Moot Love was particularly desirable to Handy because of its burgeoning interest in the storage business.
Because for Handy — a firm that last raised funds in November of 2015, shortly before the great freeze came on on demand investing — staying around and on a path toward profitable growth is the name of the game.
So far, they've played a smart and long game, and other than the occasional piece in Slate implying the firm is moments away from a personnel riot at all times, they seem on track to do so in the future.
If Amazon decides to start offering AmazonCleans? Or UberMovers hit the market?
The economics could continue to get tougher.