Interview with goodhouse Co-Founder & CEO
If you are an investor and want to learn more about the Scale portfolio companies, please reach out to Brett Calhoun at email@example.com or shoot a DM on Twitter @brettcalhounn.
This week marks the halfway mark for Scale’s 8 Friday Drops (CapGains, Erly, and Design with FRANK). This week is with one of Scale’s two venture studio companies, Goodhouse. Scale’s venture studio differs from the accelerator fund in that the studio companies are i) incubated long-term and ii) internal business ideas.
What is Goodhouse?
Goodhouse offers home care subscriptions that disrupt the traditional methods of home repair and maintenance for the 80 million homeowners in the US. Goodhouse’s mobile and web platform offer a marketplace for on-demand services at the click of a button.
Goodhouse is a brainchild of Willy and Jabbok Schlacks, Co-Founders of EquipmentShare. The Company is co-founded and led by Zach Cook and Dawson Wright. Zach is a second-time founder from Columbia, MO. Dawson brings domain experience and is also a local Columbia, MO entrepreneur.
Verbatim transcript of the interview below:
Brett Calhoun: Good morning Zach. Thanks for joining me on this fourth Friday drop. We’re now halfway through doing a Friday drop with our eight companies. So everybody knows this watching this video. My name is Brett Calhoun. I’m a director at scale. I help run operations, portfolio management, and investments.
And I’m here with Zach cook.
Zach Cook: Hey everybody. My name is Zach cook. I am co-founder and CEO of Goodhouse.
Brett Calhoun: This is exciting. This is the first company that we’re interviewing that’s on the venture studio side. So Goodhouse was actually started and incubated and equipment share before coming over at Scale. They’re working out of our one of the founding teams working out of our headquarter office here at Scale.
As you can see, we like to keep things interesting. We even, spice the place up with some, healthy-looking cat pictures for Halloween but anyways, we like to have a good time here and, you know, ready to get going on this, on this fourth, Friday. And so just to kind of go over what we’re going to talk about, I’m just going to dig into Zach, who he is as a, as a founder and entrepreneur and, and what he’s building with Goodhouse and a little background on how scale has impacted his journey so far.
And so just to kind of get into it, why don’t you walk us through yourself, tell us about yourself and your journey to becoming a founder of Goodhouse.
Zach Cook: Definitely. It’s been a, it’s been an interesting journey for sure, Brett, thanks for having me on today but yeah, so like Brett said, Goodhouse is on the venture studio side of things, which is just really a fancy way to say that we are self-incubated by the Schlacks.
And we have been around for almost a year now. Gosh, I think I took over this project back in December but yeah, I come from a background of entrepreneurship in Columbia, born and raised, went to the University of Missouri, was fortunate enough to work, kind of elbow to elbow. With a lot of early-stage companies at Mizzou’s incubator, as a grad assistant, and put together my first, scalable company, probably about two and a half years ago while I was in school there, learned a lot, failed, pretty hard with the pandemic, kind of crushing that one, but it was a kind of service, technology play on, on food delivery on college campuses.
So, was pretty excited to kind of start networking a little bit more in Colombo. As you guys probably know, the Schlacks are really involved, in the space in Columbia and, got, got a shot at, at interviewing to, to kind of take on this incubated idea of there’s Goodhouse and haven’t really looked back since, so it’s been, it’s been an awesome journey for sure.
Brett Calhoun: Columbia is a special place. It’s pretty crazy how, you know, you’ve got EquipmentShare, Zapier, Veterans United, and also an up-and-coming startup called Paytient here at home. Some great resources here on tap, but yeah, just let’s dig into a Goodhouse. And what’s the problem you’re trying to.
Zach Cook: Yeah, well, honestly, Brett, the problem that Goodhouse is tackling is just the pain points of owning a house.
There are 80 million homeowners in the, in the country and everybody, you know, has to figure out how to service and maintain their house, just like their vehicles. Right. I like to use this analogy all the time. You know you take your car into the shop on a routine basis to get an oil change. You get it serviced to get it checked out.
Your house is the same way. It’s actually the, probably for most of us. And I’d say the majority of, of everybody it’s the most expensive asset that you’ll probably ever own in your lifetime. And what people don’t realize when they purchase a house is all of the routine maintenance and servicing that goes along with that.
And so that’s a that’s a huge nightmare for homeowners and we’re just really trying to tackle that, that space.
Brett Calhoun: That’s awesome and I would love to know, I mean, obviously this is a huge problem. We’d love to hear a little more about, you know, why this excites you. Why is this the perfect time to enter this market?
And what’s, what’s the company’s mission.
Zach Cook: Yeah. Well, it’s a, it’s a super complex problem, right? Coordinating services through households but what’s cool about the opportunity that Goodhouse has is that the industry. Pretty outdated. There’s a huge disconnect between what homeowners need and kind of the level of convenience that they expect and kind of, and actually what’s available to them.
So, you know, it’s exciting for us because there are tons of platforms out there that, you know, try to tackle pieces of the market and provide convenience to homeowners, but they’re just not doing a great job. You know, we’re excited to build a kind of a platform that allows homeowners to basically wipe their hands out of the problems that they have with their houses and provide them the services that they need.
Brett Calhoun: that is awesome. Would you say this gives, people who are don’t aren’t even high net worth individuals, but also people who are lower-income individuals also have access to home care that otherwise they would?
Zach Cook: I think so, Brett, I think that there’s, there’s definitely a play, at providing everybody convenient, home maintenance and servicing what’s, what’s super interesting.
And what we’re going to see over the next probably 10 years is kind of a rebound effect, of the availability for, service technicians and skilled trades. Over the last decade, you know, we’ve kind of shunned the trade schools and the skilled schools, things like that. And so there’s a huge lack of and really just, there’s just a desert for, service folks. And so people are home services all the time and it takes 2, 3, 4 weeks to get somebody at their house. And so that’s an that’s a huge pain that we’re, you know, we’re trying to tackle every day, Goodhouses, you know, how do we prioritize? Tradespeople and service people to take the Goodhouse jobs and provide services.
And, you know, in the beginning, shore, we’re going to definitely tackle the upper demographics so that we can, we need those trans people into those homes. But, you know, eventually, for sure our platform will have the opportunity for everybody to coordinate services.
Brett Calhoun: That’s awesome. It kind of goes along with some of the other companies too, this, we’re tackling different areas of the home.
owning value chain with Design with FRANK, really empowering people to be their own architects and making that available to 98% of people that can’t afford it. And then, another FinTech company, that’s also helping veterans get into homes but now we have talked a lot about the pain. So, you know, actually, how are you guys, how are you guys planning to solve?
Zach Cook: Well, we’re currently in the process of rolling out our MVP right now and I guess I would like to just touch on some of the features that we’re rolling out. You know, obviously, there’s a lot more features that we’re thinking about down the line, but really it’s, it’s one it’s giving homeowners.
Access to the experts. And what I mean by that is homeowners have the ability to get on the Goodhouse application and have a direct line of communication with us, the experts, um, in coordinating services and things like that. So you know, Hey, I, I’m a homeowner, my dishwasher just broke, you know, broke down.
Instead of hopping on Google and trying to figure out who the heck is going to come in here and service this, I just put my ticket out, up on the platform, and then we coordinate that service. So that’s one thing. The other thing is, is providing, is providing routine service and maintenance for homeowners.
So for a cheap monthly subscription, we’ll actually come into the house on day one. We’ll actually inventory the entire house. What that means is we’ll put all of your assets on the platform, so we’ll put it. Appliances systems, any kind of major, asset in your house, we’ll actually inventory. We’ll put the brand, model, serial number onto your profile.
And so that we have that information, so we can provide better services for you in the future and diagnose things ahead of time, but the routine side of things is, is, is nice for homeowners. Because they know that they’re paying, you know, a monthly subscription, we’re going to be showing up either on a monthly or quarterly basis to do, what we would consider expert, home maintenance and service, their appliances and systems.
And then they can add items to. That service lists, you know, so if they know that we’re coming in two weeks, they can start to add things like, Hey, my dishwasher wheel has fallen off my HVAC units, not running anymore. So they’d know that a certified technician is going to be in their house. That kind of takes a lot of stress off of them.
So yeah, those are the core features launching with his direct line of communication, home inventory, and then routine maintenance and service. Sounds like this
Brett Calhoun: is this is really a painkiller and not just a vitamin, which is something that people want to pay for. It’s really cool.
You guys are consolidating all of these services into an affordable solution. Really democratizing home appliance servicing but, you know, it sounds, it sounds like there’s a lot, a lot going on here and I mean, it’s a huge problem to solve. So like, what is the biggest resource to help you scale this over the next 12 months that you guys need?
Zach Cook: Yeah, no great question, Brett. I think probably the biggest resource that we’re, in need of is, is probably, is probably. Human capital. And when I say human capital, I mean, being able to connect homeowners with service technicians. So a big part of our platform is actually onboarding, all of the local, subcontractors in a whole bunch of different categories.
So like anything that, any kind of service that runs through the house, is, you know, trade of sorts and so onboarding those subcontractors so that we can ultimately plus. Demand was supply and, create, you know, seamless services for homeowners got them. Having to deal with any of it is, is probably the biggest resource, just making connections and getting people onboarded is probably our biggest effort today.
Brett Calhoun: That makes sense. And, you know, if you’re able to take advantage of. You know, attaining some of these resources and, scaling the business over the next 12 months. I mean, where do you, I know the product’s still an MVP and, and your, your mobile application is still being developed, but 12 months from now, where do you, what do you see the, what do you envision the product being
Zach Cook: definitely. Well, what’s cool about Goodhouse is that we’re launching with these core features of just getting people that peace of mind. But over the course of a year, two years, three years, four years, five years, we’re actually starting to aggregate a lot of data on home, on homes. Right and we’re starting to figure out that maybe routine maintenance and servicing is saving homeowners, you know, X amount of money on their appliance, breakdowns, and replacements, things like that.
It’s just like your car, like I spoke earlier, right? Like you don’t go six years without servicing your car. You know, you go six weeks and, and so, long-term, there’s a, there’s a data play here for insurance purposes, and providing homeowners, you know, their money back on their subscriptions, actually providing value long-term for our homeowners and saying, Hey, Goodhouse actually increases the value of your home.
We’ve been maintaining and servicing all your assets. You know, we’re actually going to save you money in the long run and so that’s kind of how we envisioned the product. Long-term.
Brett Calhoun: That’s awesome. That’s awesome. One more, one more question about, you know, the company I would say, and, you know, one thing that you’ve been doing, and I know, cause I’ve, I’ve kind of kept up with what you’ve been building, but over the last nine, 10 months, simultaneously with the product development, obviously you guys have been doing a lot on market research and customer development.
And so you’ve definitely learned a lot about your customer since then. So from starting this on day one, back in December, January, what have you, what have you learned about your customers? You didn’t know?
Zach Cook: Yeah, no. Yeah. That’s, that’s been a big one, Brett. We, so a little background on me. I actually don’t have a whole lot of experience in home maintenance and service.
And so when I got brought onto the project back in December, there was a ton of customer discovery that happened there in those first three, four, or five months, where we were just sitting down with homeowners and we were figuring out what their pain points were and in, you know, you touched on it earlier, you said, you know, there seems to be a lot going on here.
Well, you know, offer, offering coordinated servicing, home inventory and You know, routine maintenance and servicing it. That was kind of the original idea that we would do it all at once and what we’ve decided to do. And based off of just, you know, customer discovery and things like that, we’ve actually just taken a step back and said, Hey, let’s get in people’s homes on a frequent basis.
Let’s show them the value of Goodhouse that, Hey, we’ve got this direct line of communication. We’ve got Goodhouse certified technicians coming into our house on a regular basis. Once we decide once we’ve, once we kind of nailed that and we’ve started to, we’ve got 45 houses on the platform. Once we, once we really teach homeowners that routine maintenance and servicing is actually beneficial for them.
That’s when we can kind of start to really push the pedal down on doing coordinated services and adding all these network services, to our subscription plans. But really we just learned that, Hey, we just got to get into houses and we have to show people that, Hey, holy cow. Is helping me out with this and that and this, and, and, you know, they’re just being really reliable and I can ask them really any question about my house.
So we’ve, we’ve definitely had to, to kind of take what we were going to do here and take it down into the real pain point, which is just giving people access, to how to maintain, you know, the knowledge of how to maintain their house. Definitely.
Brett Calhoun: No, and it’s, it’s pretty crazy too because this market is just so big.
And so just alone, a town, not even a city of Columbia, Is a big enough market to target over the next 12 months because it affects every one of the residents here. Residents, real estate investors.
Zach Cook: I was just going to say, yeah, there are 80 million homeowners in the country and you know, there’s a whole.
I was going to Columbia. It’s crazy. Yeah. You touched on it. Like, yeah. There are real estate agents that we’ve talked to you about that, would just, you know, they’re just foaming at the mouth to be able to give an extra value, add to their new home sales, and, and people need home maintenance. It’s just impossible to get.
And honestly the era of the baby boomers, baby boomers are kind of over, millennials and gen Z, gen X, even like they’re, they’re all first time, second-time homeowners. And they don’t really care about doing things themselves. They would rather just click the easy button and have it taken care of.
Brett Calhoun: Very true. I would hate to say that I’m also one of those people, but now let’s, let’s talk a little bit about scale. So, you know, you’re a different situation. You’re being incubated, so you’re going to be here long-term, but you also get to have access to the accelerator program. So we’d love to hear how scale has impacted you so far over these last four and a half, five weeks.
And what would you tell other founders looking to go with through Scale?
Zach Cook: Yeah, well, having been around, I guess, longer than scale, it’s been really cool to see it kind of all come together and gosh, you guys have put together kind of the team, as far as Columbia goes on, people that are pouring into Scale, both on the investment side of things and even just on a day to day, you touched on it earlier.
There’s Zapier, there’s Veterans United there’s, obviously EquipmentShare kind of the flagship and then Paytient you’ve, you basically put together this group of operators who are the most successful operators over the last 10 years in Columbia and have been from Columbia, watching all these companies explode, I was really eager to kind of start the Scale program because watching these companies explodes like holy cow, I’m going to have access, on a daily basis to these unicorn founders, and be able to learn from them.
And so when scale started, probably what’s it been a month, two months. It’s been about a month and a half, I think maybe,
Brett Calhoun: it has been about five weeks. So, started September 20th and it’s October 21st. So just right at a month.
Zach Cook: Yeah, yeah, definitely. Yeah,
Brett Calhoun: things move fast
Zach Cook: cool to see all the companies just really hitting their stride and program.
I guess touching on that too. It’s it’s crazy. You guys have picked eight companies and for the most part, you know, aside from a couple, they all have a lot of synergy with one another. And, the in-person companies that we interact with on a day to day, and we’re rubbing our elbows with, there’s a lot of overlap.
And so I think that the value adds at Scale really is also just the community style. Gosh, just the collaboration that happens on a day-to-day basis. A lot of the products that are being built, can leverage one another, either their networks or actually like we’re talking about plugging in, one of the one or two of the companies into Goodhouses, auxiliary services, which is cool.
Like I’m sure you guys are orchestrating that. And so that’s been a cool experience for me is that I get to learn from these unicorn founders, but I also get to like on a day-to-day basis network with these other co-founders that are building similar businesses to me, or at least in the same industry.
Brett Calhoun: Definitely. I would say that’s one of the top things of scale is the network effects internally. And then also the network that all the founders and, founders and in Scale bring to the table. Also, just the resourcefulness, some of the resources that equipment share brings for companies with the uterine supply chain logistics technology, or you’re in property technology.
I mean, There’s something cool to tap into to really, really scale your business. Well, Zach, this is great. Thanks for taking the time to do this fourth, Friday drop. I’m looking forward to sharing Goodhouse’s, story, and your story with everybody. Let’s get back to building. Thank you.
Zach Cook: Yeah. Thanks, Brett.
Thanks for having me. I really appreciate it. It’s been a fun ride so far.
If you are an investor and want to learn more about the Scale portfolio companies, please reach out to Brett Calhoun at firstname.lastname@example.org.