A $420,000 funding round from Kansas City area investors will accelerate tech startup Lula to expand in Kansas City and soon two more large metros, CEO and founder Bo Lais said.
The Overland Park-based firm is eyeing Phoenix and Dallas as its next service areas, but it first plans to focus on marketing its on-demand home services app in Kansas City, Lais said.
Ultimately, Lula aims to free up users so they can focus on what’s more important in their lives, he said.
“What we’re providing for homeowners is convenience and giving time back to them,” said Lais. “It really is as simple as just a few taps on their phone for any service that we provide to get a quality professional to their doorstep within hours or they could schedule for a future date and time.”
From air travel and food delivery to dry cleaning and tutoring, the on-demand economy is rapidly growing around the world. And Lula is vying to be the platform to connect homeowners to home services like plumbing, electrical and more, Lais said.
Launched in 2015, Lula created an app that enables users to book-on-demand home services like lawn mowing, cleaning, HVAC, plumbing, electricians and more from their phone or computer. Lula generates upfront pricing on any service so users can approve the cost before submitting a request. Payments also are completed via the app.
More than 600 providers in the Kansas City area are on the Lula platform, which conducts such vetting as background and license checks on all contractors. Lula is available in Olathe, Overland Park, Lenexa, Shawnee, Prairie Village, Kansas City, Mo., Independence, Lee’s Summit, Raytown, Grandview, Blue Springs and several other cities.
“The bulk of what we raised will be marketing to the consumer,” Lais said. “We’re being very strategic about how we roll out.”
Lula will soon expand its service offerings to include junk removal, carpet cleaning and the top 15 most-requested handyman services, Lais said.
“We will allow consumers to request a Lula approved handyman and bill them by the minute,” he said.“The handyman will click start on the Lula app when they start work at the consumer’s location and billing will then start.”
Homeowners aren’t the only ones excited about the prospect of Lula, Lais said. Service providers also are thrilled to be presented with actual gigs in a marketplace that prioritizes quality contractors — and not leads that are being fought over with the lowest possible bid.
It creates competition among providers to quickly respond to opportunities, he added.
“Providers are extremely excited about our business model because it’s not a lead generation platform — they’re actual jobs and if they claim it, it’s money in the bank,” Lais said. “The providers … it’s a race. They have to look at that job right away when it comes up. … That’s how we create that on-demand for the consumer.”