The hottest London startup you need to know about
THREE REASONS YOU SHOULD BE WATCHING THEM
- DAD is making it cheaper and easier than ever for people to do their own home repairs.
- DAD is one of the first businesses operating in the ‘Advice Economy’, the term used to describe the growing collection of businesses that connect consumers seeking advice with experienced individuals using technology.
- It recently received £2m in seed funding to launch the service.
What it does, in a sentence: A service which helps consumers to fix up their home through the use of video technology which connects them to an expert.
Founded: [London, June 2015 (Father’s day)]
Founder/s: Ben Wynn
Size of team: 14 in the office with over a hundred experts and technicians across the UK
Your name and role: Ben Wynn, CEO & Founder.
What problem are you trying to solve?
DAD is providing a cheaper and more practical way of fixing problems around the home that people would normally have to call out an expert for or spend hours Googling.
It allows consumers to use video technology through the app to call qualified experts for the fixed price of £10, who will talk them through how to fix DIY problems such as mending a broken door handle or fixing a leak.
The benefits are two-fold: it empowers people and gives them the independence to do home repairs by themselves and the confidence of knowing they are doing it right, but also saving people money as they are not paying for an expert to visit – which tends to be very costly.
How big is the market – and how much of it do you think you can own?
The home repairs market is huge and it’s early days for us at the moment, but the possibilities are endless. We are confident we can make major inroads on the industry, however it’s about walking before we run. We have to make sure we implement everything thoughtfully and strategically in the early stages. Nothing like this has ever been done before, so it’s exciting to see where we will be in the next few years – but my belief is that we will be in a very strong position.
How do you make money?
We charge a flat fee of £10 for the call which saves people both time and money. We also take a commission from any home visits carried out by our plumbers, electricians and handymen.
Who’s on your team that makes you think you can do this?
Outside the office we have highly skilled trades people who can confidently solve almost any home repairs problem, which makes our job inside the office a lot easier.
At DAD HQ, we have a brilliant team of talented people who compliment each other extremely well. This includes our awesome team of developers right through to our marketing team who ensure we are spreading the DAD news.
I firmly believe that as long as you have a driven team with strong values and are all pulling in the same direction, then you can be confident that your business has a prosperous future.
Who’s bankrolling you?
We recently received £2m in seed funding from our strategic partner HomeServe.
What advice would you give other entrepreneurs trying to secure that kind of finance?
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. If you want to get funding you need to talk to lots of VCs and consider all options. Getting funding is a bit like dating, you have to do lots of flirting and then find the one that is right for you.
What do you believe the key to growing this business is?
Anyone who works in a startup knows that it’s not a 9-to-5 job and I’m a strong believer that you get out what you put in. Giving that extra push makes all the difference and will accelerate the growth of the company.
With that being said, we are taking a steady approach and being pragmatic. For us, the immediate focus is on tackling the UK market. By continuing to hire the right people, we should get to that position sooner rather than later. At that point, and only at that point, will we implement our longer term goal of expanding internationally.
What metrics do you look at every day?
Beyond the obvious, such as how many people are signing up to be our experts and how many users we are onboarding on a daily basis, our main areas of focus are social media and website analytics.
We’re currently in the process of growing our social media channels so metrics are very important, as we can use them to learn and adapt our strategy. It’s such a fast-paced environment that you need to stay on top of your engagement or you risk being left behind.
What’s been the most unexpectedly valuable lesson you’ve learnt so far?
To never be afraid of failure. You’d struggle to find an entrepreneur who hasn’t had to face major hurdles and rejection along the way, but you just have to power through. The ones that succeed are the ones with a ruthless determination who (metaphorically) bulldoze through anything or anyone that stands in their way.
What’s been your biggest mistake so far?
I don’t really look at things as mistakes, everything is a lesson to be learned…but saying that, the idea for DAD actually came from a pretty big mistake. I was changing some taps and accidentally flooded my bathroom. I knew my dad would know what to do, so I called him. He was travelling at the time but talked me through how to fix it using FaceTime and so the idea for DAD, and the name, was born.
What do you think is on the horizon for your industry in the year ahead?
The home repairs industry has been slow to adopt technology, so I believe that it is likely that there will be more startups popping up in the space, as people begin to notice the opportunities that there are to innovate.
Which London start-up/s are you watching, and why?
If you focus on what one is doing you will miss 20 others so I always have my eyes open for interesting startups. As an innovator, I am always looking for what’s next – so I’m more excited about what is coming rather that those that already exist.