We have interviewed Nancy Peterson, founder and CEO of HomeStars, and asked her few questions about the company. HomeStars is Canada’s largest network connecting homeowners with trusted home service pros.
Summarize your company in an elevator pitch.
HomeStars was started in Toronto in 2006 by Nancy Peterson. She was on maternity leave and renovating her own home at the time and was alarmed by the lack of resources available to her to find and hire reputable trades. She started HomeStars with a marketing background (formerly she worked for Kraft) and no real tech experience.
HomeStars is Canada’s largest online marketplace connecting homeowners with trusted home service professionals. In 2018, 8 million homeowners visited HomeStars looking for a pro for their next home improvement project. HomeStars, an ANGI Homeservices company, is part of a global network of home improvement marketplaces in Europe, the UK and the US, including Angie’s List and HomeAdvisor.
Who started the company? Do you / team members have tech background?
Nancy said she had no tech background, but now 20% of her workforce are engineers/tech-focused. She currently employs just over 100 people.
How are you being financed?
Originally, the company was financed by Angel Investors and Bank (founder) Debt. But in 2017, HomeStars was acquired by Denver-based HomeAdvisor. They are now part of the ANGI Homeservices group of companies and are part of a worldwide network of home service marketplaces.
What do you think will be / is a big obstacle to overcome?
The biggest obstacle to overcome is consumer awareness.
How do you go about finding good developers / IT guys for your company?
We look across functional areas in the business. We go to meet-ups and events. It’s a very competitive market, but we are in a unique spot in Canada.
We are part of a publicly-traded organization, but with a lot of autonomy. It’s unique since we have all the benefits of a big company, but still run like a start-up. It gives us a great advantage.
Who is your biggest competition?
Google and word of mouth.
How are you intending on taking your company to million dollars in revenues? In what markets?
We have already passed that. We are already 8-digits and are looking to 9-digits.
What is the big lesson you’ve learned (success or failure) with this project.
Reviews are still very vital to what we do. We have built our business on them.
How do you verify your reviews / know they are legit?
First off, yes HomeStars verifies its reviews. Reviews are submitted and before they are published, they go through a series of software checks. These software checks notify review moderators to anything that does not look legit. The moderators then check them manually to ensure there is nothing suspicious. Many reviews are rejected if they are not found to be legit. In addition, as a matter of process, reviews are randomly investigated.
Also as a point of interest, HomeStars is currently doing background and criminal checks on companies and has completed more than 80% so far.