Jobber, an Edmonton startup that streamlines operational tasks for small, mobile businesses, had an explosive 2015: it doubled in employees, completed an $8 million Series A round of funding and achieved triple-digit year revenue growth from the previous year.
The app, up for Startup of the Year in the Canadian Startup Awards, provides features for scheduling, invoicing, quotes, and payment, all integrated in a simple mobile application designed for home service professionals such as cleaners or landscapers.
“Something like Jobber really flies in the face of conventional wisdom when it comes to products,” says CEO Sam Pillar, stating that conventional wisdom suggests creating features as distinct products and letting users tie them together by themselves.
“That’s just not a model that works for home service businesses. You think about your average small maid company or lawn-care company– these are very busy, active people.”
Pillar knows his demographic well. When he met his co-founder Forrest Zeisler in a coffee shop in 2010, he had been working on a software development project in the home services industry and was captivated by the untapped opportunity for software. Zeisler, also a freelance developer, quickly gained the same enthusiasm and the pair moved from working on different projects across the coffee shop from each other to building an exciting new venture at the same table. During the initial phases, they developed features and brought them directly to their intended demographic to try out.
“There was a painting company and a landscaping company, and we would work on stuff for two weeks and show them what we’d been working on and they’d say, ‘This is great, this is great, this is shit.’”
Their trial users aided them in creating a strong tool for small business owners, which now has tens of thousands of users in 35 countries worldwide, with the majority in the US.
Even with the explosive growth over the last couple of years, Pillar takes pride in the close connections formed with each customer, noting that those initial trial users are still with them to this day.
In looking back over the successes of 2015, Pillar puts particular weight on the team, which grew from approximately 20 to 40 over the past year.
“We’ve doubled our headcount and now our culture has become stronger and more of an asset than it was a year ago. I think that’s really rare.”
Keeping a thriving culture going within the company was one of the main reasons behind Pillar and Zeisler walking away from the Series A process in the summer of 2014.
“We were going from that 10- to 20-person phase, which is a pretty important precipice that you pass,” says Pillar, “I was away for a lot of that. That just wasn’t healthy for our culture.”
After what Pillar felt was a productive year they returned to talks in the early summer of 2015 and closed their round, led by OMERS Ventures—also an Awards finalist—in November. When asked about the process, Pillar’s reply spoke to the work ethic that is built in to Jobber’s foundations: “It was lots of travel and lots of talking, but I’m glad it’s over and we can get back to work.”