We spoke with HomeBinder…
Tell us about your company. What problem are you trying to solve?
HomeBinder is working to become the “hub of the home.” Homes are complicated things and today’s owners are a mix of people either too busy to maintain their home or a generation of buyers that aren’t interested in doing home maintenance. HomeBinder is positioning to be at the center of home management and record keeping so that homeowners (and future buyers) get the help and guidance they need to be successful with their largest investment.
How did your company get started?
When I went to buy the home I live in now, the previous owners had left out a stack of absolutely everything on the kitchen table down to paint colors by room. This was atypical of the homes we looked at and I was working in the residential data market at the time. I knew that if a company could position themselves to be at the center of home organization and maintenance, this would help not only current buyers but future owners as well. A few years before, my partner and I sold a previous SaaS business so I partially “got the band back together” and we dove in.
Why is your team well positioned to solve the problem you’re tackling?
We feel that a significant impediment to this goal is the homeowner actually doing the work both on their home and keeping their ‘binder’ updated. As such, from day one we’ve built our plan, model, and platform so that although the homeowner can do the work, we don’t rely on them but rather rely on the professionals surrounding them to do most of the work. We believe one our strengths is that we fully admit and acknowledge how people actually operate, as opposed to how we think they “should” operate.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned along the way?
Throughout the last 20 years of my professional career I’ve shied away from being a manager of people. I took technician, sales, product, business dev, and corporate roles to avoid having to manage people. With HomeBinder, I’ve learned that to be successful, my most important duty is the people who work for the business. At the end of the day any company is a collection of people. Some companies are toxic, some get little from their employees, some are complacent, some are arrogant, and the tone and culture gets set at the top. I want the people on my team to feel like they matter and that they are doing something meaningful with their careers and lives (this includes learning/evolving/growing as well as a mission that can impact society). If we do that right, we will be able to handle the challenges of growing a business because we’ll all row in the same direction and have the alignment to beat the obstacles (yes, including pay cuts, snafus and all).
What resources do you rely on to help your company grow?
The most precious resource is capital and we’ve raised very little to get to where we are today. As such it is super important to be disciplined around it. Second, I rely on people, both team members and great people like Joe Caruso who have become invaluable to help me get clarity when I need it most. Third, we rely on a host of mission critical services including Heroku, Stripe, AWS, Intercom, Grasshopper, Salesforce, NewRelic, Slack, Xero, Gusto and of course Shoobx! (that’s probably less than half of all the 3rd party resources we use). When you step back and really put what you can do today in context of managing and running a business as compared to 20 years ago, you see how much leverage technology gives you per hour/per person. Because we started before Shoobx was around we did it the “ol’ fashioned way” and then had to migrate into the platform and clean up some rough edges in the process. I can fully say that it was an area where I didn’t feel the spreadsheets and scanned folders of docs were serving us well and am much more confident in that part of the business now.