When clutter inspires a startup, you get HomeJoy.
Founding a startup from your home can get messy. For Adora Cheung and her brother Aaron, the mess they accumulated while working on one startup actually inspired them to found another Homejoy (formerly Pathjoy).
After being frustrated with the mess at their home and office, Adora struggled to find an easy cleaning service that worked with her schedule. After a fruitless search, she decided to build the solution herself–HomeJoy.
Homejoy is an on demand cleaning service that connects professional cleaners with clients. After completing Y Combinator’s summer program in 2010, they’ve grown their customer base and recently received 1.7 million seed funding and are expanding rapidly.
We talked with Adora about growing her team, how she uses Twilio to streamline HomeJoy’s communications for both customers and the professional cleaner, and getting off the ground in other states.
How did HomeJoy get started and how have things changed after your seed funding?
We were spending all our waking hours on our startup (completely different from homejoy) and our places would just get really messy. Finally Aaron (my co-founder) decided enough was enough and set out to hire a cleaner so we didn’t have to deal with it. But what was supposed to save us time became a long, drawn out process, including many phone calls, too high prices, among other obstacles. At the point we realized there was something wrong here. There are many hardworking professional cleaners and many people who want professional cleaning, but no efficient matching process. We decided to fix that.
Before seed funding, we were growing pretty quickly but we couldn’t afford to hire anybody so we were taking customer service calls, coding, interviewing/testing cleaners and sometimes cleaning houses ourselves all at once. We barely slept. But, even then, there’s only so much two people can do.
The point we decided to raise money was when we couldn’t take anymore credit cards out on our names. After raising, we were able to hire an amazing team to focus on areas of their expertise and our days feel much more organized. We still go just as fast, if not faster. Everyday is blast, and sometimes I literally pinch myself just to make sure I’m not dreaming.
How are you using Twilio?
Twilio is at the center of how we communicate with clients and cleaners. We leverage the SMS API the most. It’s how we notify everyone of appointments, issues and resolutions. We provide great phone support but a lot of people are on the go so it’s just better to use texts than call.
Pictured Above: Adora Cheung and Aaron Cheung. Image via Forbes
What other technologies are you using?
We’re built on Python/App Engine, which has evolved in the past couple of years very nicely. We have some data processing stuff on Ec2. Our setup is pretty typical — Stripe for payments, SendGrid for emails, etc.
What’s next for Homejoy?
We believe everyone deserves a happy home. One way we’re doing is to get as many people’s places cleaned as possible. We currently serve 9 metro areas: New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, Seattle, Washington, DC. If we’re not where you live yet, we’ll most likely be there really soon.