One of the technology byproducts of the COVID-19 pandemic is that it has raised the game for businesses to have better digital tools in place to interface with customers, and their own work, to get things done. Today, a company called Jobber, which has built a platform doing just that for a particular segment of the market -- home services professionals -- is announcing a round of funding as it finds its business growing.
The Canadian startup has picked up $60 million in funding. The equity round is being led by Summit Partners, with participation from previous backers OMERS Ventures and Version One Ventures, and new investors Tech Pioneers Fund.
Jobber's platform is focused around management software to help sole-traders and small home services businesses make appointments and organize their schedules, set up billing and manage their accounts, and market their services online. The funding round comes at a time when Jobber already has some 100,000 customers across 47 countries and 50 service segments, including cleaning, electrical repairs, landscaping, plumbing and more.
That is but a small piece of the opportunity: Jobber estimates that home services and other tradespeople make up a workforce of some 5 million in the U.S. alone, contributing over $550 billion to the economy annually.
Jobber's rise comes at a key moment not just in the macroeconomic sense but also in the world of technology.
A vast swathe of businesses in a number of sectors -- for example, finance, HR, medicine, commerce, education and more -- have spent decades adopting digital services to get their work done, a trend that has seen a big acceleration in the last year and the added intricacies that the coronavirus has brought to the working world.
But within that trend, one of the last holdouts has been the small business owner, and specifically those that work in very "hands-on" areas like home services, with many of them using mobile phones but little else in the way of technology to advertise themselves or run their operations.
That has seen a notable shift in the last year. Consumers are more than ever before using the internet to do business -- whether that involves discovering companies or paying for goods and services -- and tradespeople have found themselves also turning in that direction, not just to meet the changing demands of consumers, but also to keep themselves safe and in business. On top of that, the population of tradespeople themselves is getting younger and more digitally native, and they are adopting and using these tools more naturally than their predecessors.
Jobber's growth, said CEO Sam Pillar (who co-founded the company with Forrest Zeisler, CTO) in an interview, is "being driven by a number of factors, not just the ages of homeowners but also the providers of these services." He added that many of the kinds of services that home services people provide -- home repairs, our housekeeping, are not typically the kind that disappear with a pandemic.
"Those two trends meant that home services professionals performed better than you would expect in the economy, and so did we," Pillar said. "The younger generation of business owners starting or taking over companies are looking to figure out they will use to manage what is otherwise a mass of paper." So offering them solutions that are user-friendly also makes a difference, he said. "Even if they are comfortable with technology, they are busy," he added.
Jobber's funding comes as part of a bigger trend of startups building services for later adopters in the B2B world also getting a boost in their business -- and attention from VCs.
They include Hover, building technology and a wider set of tools for home repair people to source materials, make pricing and work estimates, and run the administration of their businesses, which secured $60 million in November. And GoSite in December raised $40 million for a platform to help all kinds of SMBs -- the key factor being that many of them are coming online for the first time -- build out and run their businesses.
The connecting thread with all three is the fact that they are tapping not just into wider "digital transformation" trends, but that the need for their particular services has really come into focus especially in the last year.
“We believe the home service category is in the early stages of a significant digital transformation – and Jobber is paving the way for thousands of small and mid-sized services businesses that are working to incorporate digital tools in order to keep pace with customer expectations,” said Colin Mistele, principal at Summit Partners, in a statement. “The Jobber team blends strong product vision, data-driven market perspective and a customer-centric approach – a powerful combination that we believe will support the company’s continued rapid growth. We are thrilled to partner with the Jobber team – and we are excited about the future of this category.” Mistele is joining the board with this round.
The company is not disclosing its valuation and had raised just $16 million before this round.