Ep. #927 - Smart Home Tech Startups
Today’s episode of Startup Hustle puts the spotlight on smart home tech startups. Their services can take away the nightmares of home maintenance. So Matt Watson sits down with Shane Ettestad, CEO and founder of HomeKey Systems, to discover more about the business and its industry.
Covered In This Episode
Home improvements sound exciting for homeowners—until they carefully examine the to-do and to-buy list. But smart home tech startups may just have the right solution for homeowners.
Matt and Shane’s conversation will shed more light on the subject. They lay out how HomeKey Systems can help conquer the challenges of home improvement. In a segue, they also talk about local housing prices in Phoenix, AZ, and the challenges of hiring developers in the area.
Learn more about smart home tech startups. Tune in to this episode of Startup Hustle today!
- An update on the startup community in Phoenix, AZ (01:35)
- The backstory of Shane Ettestad and HomeKey Systems (03:30)
- Company evolution and development (07:40)
- What is the go-to market strategy of HomeKey Systems? (08:55)
- The revenue model (11:25)
- What are the features coming up for the app? (14:45)
- Challenges in hiring software developers in Phoenix, AZ (16:35)
- Local housing prices in the state’s capital (19:44)
- Information kept in the app (22:18)
- On making home improvements easier for homeowners (25:34)
- HomeKey Systems is not using the blockchain yet (27:43)
- The value of keeping records for any house repairs or maintenance (29:27)
- The future of HomeKey Solutions (30:17)
That’s me taking on really complex issues [and] problems. And trying to create simplified user experiences to solve those.– Shane Ettestad
Our view is on major maintenance or additions to homes where you have to pull permits. Those types of things, those events, get added to the blockchain. So that when a home is, you know, 15–20 thirty years old, you have that irrefutable record.– Shane Ettestad
This is the problem with building software, right? It is figuring out what is your niche and staying in your niche. Not like trying to chase all these different things.– Matt Watson
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Following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode. Apologies for any errors!
Matt Watson 00:01
And we’re back for another episode of the Startup Hustle. This is your host today, Matt Watson. And I’m excited to be joined today by Shane Ettestad from HomeKey Systems. Before we get into that today, I want to remind everybody that this episode of Startup Hustle is brought to you by FullScale.io. Helping software developers is difficult. Full Scale can help you build a software team quickly and affordably. And has the platform to help you manage that team. Visit FullScale.io to learn more. Today’s episode is part of our series about the top Phoenix startups. In our show notes, there are links to learn more about what we’re doing with the Phoenix startups. And you can listen to all the different episodes and the overview episode about all of them. Shane, congratulations on being one of those top startups. And welcome to the show, man.
Shane Ettestad 00:52
Great, thanks for having us. We’re excited that we’re at the top for Arizona. And that HomeKey is scaling rapidly outside of Arizona. So super excited to be here.
Matt Watson 01:05
Well, it’s always fun for us to shine the spotlight on different cities. You know, I’m here in Kansas City. And you know, nobody thinks of us as having a startup community there. But we’ve got some, we’ve got some little companies here, like Cerner, the largest healthcare software company, and AMC Theaters has a huge, you know, development team here. Like, there’s a lot of different tech stuff that also goes on here. How’s it in Phoenix? What’s the tech scene like in Phoenix?
Shane Ettestad 01:34
It’s growing rapidly. For the past, I would say five years. I’ve been in the tech scene in Arizona since the 90s. Show my age a little bit. And I can say that the past five years have just been incredibly exciting. You know, I think I’d say we’re the next up and coming, Austin, although I don’t know if that’s widely accepted. But I would say that it’s moving very rapidly.
Matt Watson 02:05
Well, it seems like all the major cities along the west coast outside of California are really growing from everybody trying to get out of California. A) Because the cost is too high. I mean, it costs like 40% more to hire an employee there, something like that, right? Plus of all the taxes and other, you know, bull crap that comes on along with California. So it seems like that whole, you know, Utah and Portland and Seattle, like a whole area over there seems like it’s growing rapidly.
Shane Ettestad 02:31
Yeah, Phoenix, in particular, the metro. I think the second largest migratory path right now is from LA Basin to Phoenix Metro. Yeah. So we’re growing really fast. It’s not as cheap to live here as it used to be, unfortunately, because of that. So home prices are skyrocketing among the country’s highest, which is not super great when we’re trying to bring in a lot of talent compared to a few years ago, but it is what it is. That’s part of the growth.
Matt Watson 03:03
Things are hot in Phoenix in more ways than one.
Shane Ettestad 03:07
That’s right. That’s right.
Matt Watson 03:09
What’s the temperature there today?
Shane Ettestad 03:11
I think that we’re like balmy, maybe 103 because we have monsoon.
Matt Watson 03:17
Oh, it’s cold today. 103. Not bad.
Shane Ettestad 03:20
103 was lots of humidity.
Matt Watson 03:24
Well, tell us more about your background and HomeKey. You know, how did you get here? How did you become the startup founder of a fast-growing company?
Shane Ettestad 03:35
Yeah, HomeKey is my fourth tech startup. A couple of startups in the travel and hospitality industry had an exit there as well. And how this came about was after, like a lot of entrepreneurs that move through an exit, sometimes your assets like expanding a little bit, right? So I did that with my home. We did a major remodel, a pretty sizable home on a piece of land. And over time, your life continues to evolve, right? So we moved to a different season, where it was like, oh, maybe we don’t need all this. And let’s contract a little bit, right? But what we did get to see is the choices made for that home, which some of more could be considered extravagant. What we dealt with then was the maintenance and all the upkeep of that home and how costly that became as we had to be really cognizant of our dollars, right? And in that process, not only how do I convey everything that was done to this home to a potential buyer, but how do I convey the actual data? So the first kind of embryonic seedling that everybody can associate with would be like paint, right? I opened a cabinet in my garage, and I had 12 different paint cans and more stains, and they were faded, and it was like, how do I give all of this to the next owner? And then you start moving through that process of selling the home. And realizing how much time it takes to think, fill out the legal documentation about disclosures and how long this warranty is good for and who took care of that and those types of things. We moved through that sale, and we bought a more typical production home. And even though that was only a few years old, the day that we moved in, builders were scuffing up the outside door surrounding paints getting nicked up walls were getting nicked up. And we know absolutely nothing about our home. That’s only a few years old that we had just bought, right, which is ridiculous, absurd in this world, that your cars can tell you what they need, or, you know, more complex systems like that called jet avionics can predict things right for what is happening. But yet there’s nothing for what in most people’s lives is their largest investment. And that’s what really made me say there’s got it, there’s got to be a better way, there’s got to be a simpler way to save homeowners as well as everybody who touches the home time to deal with that home. Right.
Matt Watson 06:15
So you started this, as you know, trying to solve your own problem. Usually some of the best, you know, startups are, you know, founders have, you know, experience in an industry or they have, you know, a problem that they can relate to or understand and they’re crazy and wild enough to try and solve it.
Shane Ettestad 06:35
That’s me, taking really complex issues, problems, and trying to create really, really simplified user experiences to solve those, right? So we’re not fully there, though, what we have today along with a lot of startups as your early app, right, and we have visions of adding voice so that you can simply ask Alexa to do things like that will easily get done, either to or apart, or maybe contact a favorite home pro those types of things. But yet trading, very, very simple way to manage your home and track the maintenance over time. So that when you do go to sell that home, now I have my HomeKey report right?
Matt Watson 07:25
So I’m looking at tracks, I’m looking at your website, and it’s really nice, by the way, and looking at the how it works page and kind of all the features and functionality of what HomeKey does. And I’m excited to hear more about those. But my first question for you is, is what it does today, the same vision of what you had when you started this, like the problem you originally thought you were trying to solve? How did that evolve?
Shane Ettestad 07:51
Yeah, it definitely has evolved. Number one, our first in our first phase, we are only available through new home builders, certain new home builders in select communities. So we will get to the point where it’s available to any homeowner, we’re not there yet, right? And there’s reasons for that. But home builders have a lot of pain points more so than we originally imagined. Right? So it does have a lot of benefits for the builder itself. And we view the home as an entity. This hasn’t changed from the vision. So the data comes with that home, right, the homeowner literally does nothing to input anything and the builder doesn’t do a lot. But the experience is if you bought the new home from one of our builders, you activate that home by scanning what we call our unique ID or the key code. And you instantly have access to everything in that home. So that is part of the vision. There is much much more beyond that some of the Urial will today.
Matt Watson 08:58
But it sounds like your current go to market strategy is based on working with home builders. That’s correct. And so is that how you originally thought the go to market strategy would be or that that’s how you evolved to figure out how to get traction?
Shane Ettestad 09:12
That? So we are yes and no. That was part of our original go to market. We also envisioned what we termed as existing homes. And we do have a very small beta with existing homes that will expand next year. But so I guess, to answer your question, the go to market really included a couple of different things, new home builders, existing homes. And also if you think about the commercial aspects, not necessarily huge 1000s of apartment type communities, but in Phoenix anyway, they have what these they call these bungalow communities or there’s a lot of build to rent communities which probably are in your area right where builders are actually building communities you can get by. They’re only renting them or the bungalow definition is, hey, we don’t really want to live in an apartment. But we don’t want to go up to a large home and have to turn the lawn and all of the maintenance things, right? So they take basically the same amount of acreage as you would typically see a really large apartment community. And they’ll build, generally one storey when I call tiny homes, but they literally are full blown, detached, mostly homes. Some of them are duplexes, but most of them are detached with a real small backyard. They call that a bungalow community. And we have an immense amount of interest from that sector. And we really wanted to move into that. Okay, but as you can imagine, it also would require a lot of different types of interfaces, right, our interface right now we have a mobile app for the homeowner, we do have an interface for home builders, but we don’t really have large commercial interface where a management company or large maintenance team can manage hundreds or 1000s of units. And then also a more utilitarian app, our app is very consumer-oriented, right to target the homeowner, right? So that’s why we pulled back from that, and really, really are focusing 99% on new home builders.
Matt Watson 11:27
Very cool. So what is um, I’m curious to know, like, what is the revenue model for something like this? Is it a monthly recurring type thing to the homeowner or the builder pays a flat fee for every house? Or like, how did you figure out the gravity question?
Shane Ettestad 11:42
So the builder does pay for each home, we are a standard in their home. So that’s an interesting piece as well, right, we become a base standard in every home, no matter the brand of builder. So they pay a one time fee, as well as some ongoing annual fees, depending on what they opt for in the future, right, we have some marketing tool sets for them, and other tools for their customer service teams. Currently, and always, what is in the app today, meaning accessing all of the home’s information, adding to that information. And then our current two dues, our basic two dues that we have today, are free to homeowners and always will be free. So we encourage use, the goal is that we want people to keep their homes updated, maintained, and keep that ongoing record and have that be of use to them. We will next year have premium features that there’ll be a homeowner SaaS fee for $5 a month. And that might be for heightened features such as we have some premium features that will come out for two dues, managing your Home Pros, those types of things will necessitate the $5 fee. But we’ll always have the free version. Because we want to encourage use and keep that up to date, right, we can’t become the Carfax for your home, unless we have use across the board. Right. So you’re not going to be able to go to Zillow someday and say, Oh, this key, this home has been well maintained. And it has a report available, right?
Matt Watson 13:34
Well, I see a lot of value out of what you’re doing. Um, I have a fairly large home and, you know, trying to keep track of all the different H vac systems we have and how old they are. And when you need to do maintenance on them. And you know, all this kind of stuff like that is nobody knows, right? And if you don’t have some kind of recording of any of it, you really have no idea. And I mean, I could see a lot of value out of that. And my I love I love your comments earlier about talking about the paint, right? Like, I’ve got all sorts of buckets of paint in my basement, and I don’t probably need any of them. And hopefully, everything’s probably faded and doesn’t match anymore anyways. But I still got a whole bunch of buckets of paint. But it would be really nice to know, like, what the colors of everything are and all that. Luckily, I found a little device not too long called a color Muse that you could use and like hold up to something and it would tell you the color. That was like the most enlightening thing I ever found. And, but it would be nice if I could do that. And then I go into the app and like a record like okay, this is you know, Kilim beige, and this is alabaster wine or whatever. Right? Right. Like somebody would actually freaking know. It’d be nice. Yeah.
Shane Ettestad 14:37
Yeah, those tools are really cool. We’re actually in the process right now of doing an evaluation on three or four of them because, as you probably saw, they’re different price points form. So we want to understand, even though we know the pink colors, our homeowners know the paint colors in their homes, and by the way that’s inside and out. The difference between a trim and your wall Yeah. But those paint meters can be used. If you think about it, like, Hey, I have this fabric on, I don’t know my window coverings, right? And I want an accent wall that matches that. Right? So for new homeowners, it is still very, very useful. But we’re, we are looking towards the future. And they’re great for a homeowner that says, hey, I want I gotta match this somehow, right? But um, yeah, we can, homeowners can update anything in their home. Generally, they’re updating home systems, like, Hey, we’re adding soft, soft water systems, or I’m adding this smart feature. But paint is our number one. And the cool thing about paint is, when they do update home, we’ve had homeowners immediately repaint the entire interior of the home, all the way to an accent wall. So when you go to add paint in the app, you basically say it’s in this room or these number of rooms. And then it’ll actually ask you, is that an accent? Or are you repainting the whole room? So if it’s an accent, it adds it to that room, or multiple rooms, versus replacing it right.
Matt Watson 16:11
Very cool. I do want to take a moment to remind everybody that today’s episode of Startup Hustle is brought to you by Full Scale. Finding experts and software developers doesn’t have to be difficult, especially when you visit FullScale.io where you can build a software team quickly and affordably. Use the Full Scale platform to define your technical needs. And then see what available developers, testers, and leaders are ready to join your team. Visit FullScale.io to learn more. I’m curious, what is it like hiring software developers in Phoenix? They’re hard to find like everywhere else?
Shane Ettestad 16:41
Well, I think things are shifting a little bit right now with the economy. And I think things have shifted since COVID. To be quite frank, some ways for the better, you know, locale is not quite as much of a lot of your team or major. Actually, it’s not most of our team is local. We’re not opposed to remote, we prefer local, mainly just because of the stage that we’re still in, right? We want to iterate and move as quickly as possible. I know that as we grow the company, it’s definitely going to become more disparate. And we’re going to have to have people on the ground and other regions anyway. That’s coming very soon. So we’re not, we’re definitely not opposed to it. hiring developers? Um, yeah, like home prices, they’ve gone up in Phoenix, because yeah, thing right. So home prices go up. salaries have to go up. Yep. And or, you know, even if they are remote, that’s the beauty is they, if they have the talent, they have the talent. So I would say today versus a year ago, I think things are maybe a little better for being able to hire talent than it was a year ago.
Matt Watson 18:00
Well, what’s interesting is the economy cooling off a little bit. Now, it’s probably making it a little easier, it seems like most software developers were making 150 to $200,000 a year, like senior developers all over the place. It was crazy. The market got super crazy. And the war in Ukraine had a dramatic effect that most people don’t think about that there was like hundreds of 1000s Millions of software developers in Belarus, Ukraine and Russia that either are busy fighting right now or due to sanctions, you can’t pay them, like, how do I pay my developers that were in? I had that in Russia, you know, like, they were good guys. And you know, whatever. But how do I pay them? I can’t submit to their bank account anymore. Right, like, yeah, so it dramatically had an impact on software engineering most people don’t really think about.
Shane Ettestad 18:47
Yeah, that’s a great point we didn’t have, we did leverage some near shore developers in our first probably two years. But there is a lot of great talent in Eastern Europe. And I can see that having a huge, huge impact. I don’t know, even though I would say it’s better from an employer standpoint to find good developers right now. I don’t know if the SAT necessarily means that the salaries have gone down. The range that you gave probably is still very, very true, regardless of the economy. Yeah. And again, for us, if local housing prices have risen, you know, 30 plus percent, literally, wow. 12 To 18 months. They can demand it. So it’s not like, you know, a decade ago, I said, Hey, let’s have, you know, an office here and an office in Silicon Valley. And we’ll have them choose where they want to live, right? They can live in Silicon Valley and live in a closet and rent something very small or they can move to Phoenix and have a mansion for the same amount of money, right? That’s not the case anymore.
Matt Watson 19:59
Unfortunately, nothing came to Kansas, but our Kansas came together.
Shane Ettestad 20:01
I think it’s gotten to the point where a lot of people are looking at places like Georgia and Alabama and South Carolina, you know, so yeah, yeah, it’s growing everywhere, man.
Matt Watson 20:14
Well, so, you know, going back to your guys’s product, I mean, I mean, just to see a day where you have partnerships with like, big realtor groups are like, every time they sell a house is one of the things they do is like, hey, we take pictures of the house. But we also, you know, we spend a couple hours and we go through and document everything about the house, and we put it in HomeKey. And it’s one of the values we provide, you know, when you sell the house, like everything’s documented, so the new home or homeowner has all of this, like I could see that as being like a really nice benefit.
Shane Ettestad 20:47
Yeah, absolutely. We are we do have interests from not only real estate brands, but title, title companies, those types of entities involved in the closing, I do see a future where we’ll leverage strategic partnerships, not only from like the typically thought ones, but we are on are under NDA with some of the largest home insurance companies.
Matt Watson 21:14
I can see them needing to know like what’s in the house?
Shane Ettestad 21:18
Yeah, so we want to expand our beta with a couple strategic partners next year. That’ll be interesting for them, we want to learn more, we want to know, like, we have a pretty good variety of homes on the small beta now, but we want to expand that. So let’s understand, like the differences of a home that might be 50 or 60 years old versus 15 years old, right? What are those differences? We, you know, we always say we see a feature of like, on our new homes, 18 years are now being able to notify our homeowners like, Hey, start socking some money away, because very typically about your 20 you have to replace the under sheathing of your of your roof, at least in Phoenix, we have the clay roofs, right, and you have the understanding, it’s very expensive to replace that at year 20. So, again, trying to look forward and let homeowners know, like what’s upcoming in the home. But um, I forgot where Maya was.
Matt Watson 22:21
So I could see one of the big benefits of your product. And how you guys can generate revenue from lead generation for like Home Services, right? Like, you need to fix your a track system or you need to buy fill air filters, or whatever it is, you might get sued you guys being a big lead generator for, you know, different partner companies, you know, look, you know, in different geographies.
Shane Ettestad 22:46
So the current product, we didn’t really talk about how it works, but so the homeowner has access on a typical production home to about 280 to 300 things in their home, right? And even if the homeowner doesn’t necessarily want to dive into all that or care about all that, our platform leverages all that data to then build homes’ annual care plan that’s unique to that home. So a new home that has luxury vinyl tile is going to have very different care for their floor than someone that has like hand scraped real wood floors, right? Yep. So the system accounts for all of that. And then also you mentioned you know, products, parks, things like that we actually are including those today we’re embedded with Amazon so you don’t have to research it you don’t have to understand if these parts gonna fit. You don’t have to understand if the cleaner has the right pH balance for your floor. That’s all in the applicant tap and purchase. It doesn’t try not to transact in our app and actually goes out to the Amazon app. You have what you need within a few days right. Next year. We will add that the management of Home Pros will start immediately with homeowners being allowed to enter their own Home Pros that they might currently as you mentioned, yeah that big house I’m sure you have I don’t know are you guy that gets out most lawn every week. Still, you’d like it or not. If you have a landscaper, if you have a Phoenix, there’s a lot of cool, cool guys.
Matt Watson 24:20
Yeah, right. Knowing their information. Who is my preferred vendor? Yeah.
Shane Ettestad 24:24
So not only like knowing that and keeping track of that, but man it kind of managing that think about like saying, hey, requesting, hey, I need an appointment, or, Hey, make sure that you add your invoice into the app that those types of things right. So we’ll allow those and then we’ll likely partner with we already talking to a few strategic partnerships about a home phone network, right? That seems like
Matt Watson 24:49
somebody like Lowe’s or Home Depot just needs to buy you guys and it becomes like my to do list every Saturday morning is like Okay, it’s time to seal the marble All today and then next weekend, it’s another bullshit I got.
Shane Ettestad 25:04
Yeah, I will say that we’ve had a few introductory meetings with some major home store brands. So I’ll just say that. Yeah, we’re certainly not looking for acquisition. At this point, we have a long way to go to fulfill the vision. I’m really passionate about doing it. Yeah, that’s why we started this as a let’s see this through and through so that we can see the full, you know, ecosystem come into play with this, it does get very large.
Matt Watson 25:36
But I think it’s interesting if you can track all the different forms of maintenance and to do’s that you’re really supposed to do in a house that most of us probably neglect a lot of or we just can’t keep track of, right? Yeah. Things like resealing your marble countertops every year or replacing air filters or turning on the humidifier, turning off the humidifier like all these different things. Don’t keep tracking, keep drying moments.
Shane Ettestad 25:58
Yeah, yeah, you know that. You mentioned resealing the granite countertops, right? That’s one of many that I experienced, like, Hey, I didn’t know when I put in these porous stone floors. Yeah. Not only clean them, but reseal them what? Yeah, how much is that going to cost? Like? So yes, all of that. We will, we’re, we’re coming out with an all-new to do system later this year. So we’re going to break up. Let’s just call it the kind of cleaning type maintenance, and separate it from the general maintenance of things like, hey, replace your HVAC filter or your refrigerator, water filter, right? And then we’re also going to pull out major maintenance. So if you’re talking about an annual HVAC inspection, right, yeah, those are things that we really, really want to alert the homeowners of and say, Hey, not only do you need to handle this, but if you have a home Pro, do this, make sure that you you know, add that receipt, those are the types of things we’ll get to the point where we can, we’re verifying that and very possibly not to use like, you know, key terms here. But our view is on major maintenance or additions to homes where you have to pull permits, those types of things. Those events get added to the blockchain, sure. So that when a home is, you know, 1520 30 years old, you have that irrefutable record of what’s happening.
Matt Watson 27:31
So you guys are using the blockchain for part of this? Not yet, not yet, your goals?
Shane Ettestad 27:36
I think it makes a lot of sense for key milestones, right? And major maintenance, it’s too slow and becomes very costly. If we spread it out across like an immense amount of data. If you think about when I say 280 things on average per home, that’s not even all the metadata, right? Those are just items. And then you have all the metadata that goes along with that. So we track an immense amount of data. And to put all of that in the blockchain just just doesn’t make sense. But for key things that, you know, think about, again, going back to your car of like, yep, they did the major maintenance at the 40,000 mile mark, right, or the 60,000 mile mark, like those types of major milestones we absolutely want to capture and make sure that they’re never changed. Like, if you’re buying a used home that has HomeKey in it shouldn’t say used but a previously owned home sure that has HomeKey in it, wouldn’t it be great to know that you can say oh, like for sure. These things were done in this house? And that’s not been fabricated or anything, right?
Matt Watson 28:47
Yeah, there are so many things to keep track of, I’m actually in the middle of a major remodel myself, remodeling my kitchen and some other things. And yeah, just even now, it’s like, you know how to keep track for the refrigerators and dishwashers and microwave and all these things. Like I have no idea how to keep track of all that stuff. And then what kind of maintenance is required. And, you know, in the future, if I needed parts for it, or whatever, it would be great to have something like this, so that I can record it. And now like I’m doing the remodeling, I know exactly what I have now, put it in there. But ya know, later on, I’ll need it and I will have forgotten.
Shane Ettestad 29:19
That is, we do see that as a perfect time to onboard existing homes as well. The more major of a remodel, the better. But I have experience in that. So you’re right, you’re already making all these choices. You have all the data. And you’re probably going to do what most people do, you’re going to take all those user guides, you’re going to throw them in a drawer in the garage or in a closet in a bin and you’ll never look at them again. Right? So I’m just gonna throw him away.
Matt Watson 29:52
Or that too, and you can just Google if I need it.
Shane Ettestad 29:56
If you have HomeKey you don’t have to worry about any of that right there we go. Okay. It gives you the warranty, gives you the user guide, when you install it, all that good stuff.
Matt Watson 30:06
I’m ready, let’s go. How do I get started?
Shane Ettestad 30:09
I’ll put you on the beta list. Let’s go and we expand it.
Matt Watson 30:15
Well, so what do you see as the future? You know, for HomeKey? Where are you going with this? I mean, besides trying to get it in every single home in the country, I mean, what are the goals you have?
Shane Ettestad 30:27
Yeah, I think as we go to market like I said, we’ll expand the beta next year, I think we’ll leverage a partnership with likely one of the larger, larger I buyers, makes a lot of sense, if you think about it, they’re buying homes in the 1000s. And they’re doing some level of refresh to the home, and then they turn around and sell it again, that’s a really great point to expand with. And then we go out, you know, from there, I think we’ll leverage maybe some other key strategic partnerships. And till we get to the point where you can see this on a shelf at a major home store, right?
Matt Watson 31:05
Do you see you’re getting to, you know, apartments, or even commercial buildings or other things? I would imagine commercial buildings have the same problem, right? Like, they have no idea what all the crap is, like, they’re even in the building, like the person owns the buildings and everything in the building. But they still need stuff done to the building. You know?
Shane Ettestad 31:23
That’s right, we do get asked about a lot of commercials, we’ve been asked by universities to, you know, restaurants, how many there are those who are on campus these days or labs, right, and all the different devices in a lab, those types of things. But I have to say that even in the commercial space, they spoke out with the apartments, right? There are more startups that are moving into that space, as well as the commercial space, that are kind of playing this role. If you think about it from a concept standpoint, it’s exactly the same. And the first thing is like, Oh, why can’t I put this in my warehouse? Right? But if you think about it, from a dataset standpoint, you know, we’re amassing a very, very large database on types of everything that you put in a home. We don’t have that for commercial buildings. HVAC systems are completely different for commercial buildings compared to homes, right? Yep. So the relations, I guess, and the concept are the same. But as far as the data itself, and again, the interfaces, if you think about somebody that owns a business, and they have a maintenance person that is handling the, that it’s a very different type of of application, we have, we have actually said, maybe we could license a portion of the platform or the system to somebody that really wanted to expand it. Yeah, I’m in the commercial. But I think we have our hands full trying to get to the 130 2 million existing Oh, that’s in addition to new ones.
Matt Watson 33:00
Well, and this is the problem with building software, right is figuring out what is your niche and, and staying in your niche and not like trying to chase all these different things, right? It’s very difficult, because, you know, you get a different phone call every week from somebody who wants, you know, it’s like, oh, maybe you can help us do this thing. And you could chase all of them, but end up not being successful for any of them. You mentioned other startups, like there’s actually a really fairly well known startup in Kansas City called home base. And their whole thing is for apartments. So they help people who own apartments with maintenance and you know, getting maintenance people access to the apartments with smart locks and integration with all that kind of stuff and, and helping the people that live there pay their bills and stuff like that. That’s a whole different kind of niche. Right, but related, but different. And there are so many different niches, and that’s the hard thing about being a startup and building technologies is trying to figure out what our niche is and trying to stay in that lane without jumping all over the place and getting killed.
Shane Ettestad 34:00
Yeah, yeah, you definitely have to be very careful about trying to do too much and be everything to everyone. So he’s gonna be nobody really, really careful. There’s a huge startup that’s further along than we are in the Arizona ecosystem called Smart rent. And they’re doing that same thing in the apartment space, right? And Eric is on our radar. We did, as I said earlier in the podcast, you know, about going after the bungalow communities and so forth. And I have. I’m going to actually praise several VCs that I’ve interacted with. And at several early on, say, Chang stayed focused on the new home builder space. This is a really great entry. And don’t worry about going after the commercial right now. Don’t worry about the existing stay focused on solving the new homebuilder’s pain points, right? And that’s what we’ve done. And it’s proven really well if we had stopped to think about how we create these other interfaces and make them work for those other kinds of niches. Sub industries? I guess, if you will, you know, where would we be at with the product today for home builders and homeowners, right? So I will save heavily, heavily focused for the rest of this year and all of next year. And like said, well, we will expand that existing home beta next year.
Matt Watson 35:31
But yes, I’m excited to get that VIP invite to join the beta. I’m excited. I’m ready to join.
Shane Ettestad 35:36
I will get you on the list. Well, I know a guy.
Matt Watson 35:41
All right, good. So as we wrap up the episode here today, I do want to remind everybody. If you need help finding and hiring software developers, testers, or leaders, Full Scale can help. We have the people on the platform to help you build and manage a team of experts. When you visit FullScale.io, all you need to do is answer a few questions. And our platform will match you up with fully vetted, highly experienced, and qualified software developers, testers, and more. At Full Scale, we specialize in building long-term teams that work only for you. Learn more when you visit FullScale.io. Well, thank you so much for being on the show today. I love what you’re doing. And I think it would be awesome to have this type of product. So we also own a scheduling system called Giga book. And people use it for any kind of appointment scheduling, and we had a customer, I think it was, I can’t remember was called, but they were doing something kind of related to what you’re doing where I don’t know if they were a maintenance company, or what they were exactly, but they would go in and like what they refer to as a kind of like blueprinting the house of like getting like all the details like that you’re trying to track. And that was the first time I ever heard of this concept. And I remember what they were and exactly what they were doing. But it reminds me a lot of what you’re doing. And they weren’t doing exactly the same thing they were doing in regards to home repairs or something. Yeah, but even when I heard about it back then, I was like, That’s a great idea. Like, I wish I had something that would tell me, you know, everything I needed to know about my house. So I mean, I think it’s a really, really valuable thing. And I can’t wait to get that VIP invite. And I think you’re onto something.
Shane Ettestad 37:23
I appreciate it. Yeah, there’s a lot going on in Prop tech. You know, a lot going on with trying to document even the outside of the home or the inside, maybe it was around, like being able to prep for a remodel or hey, I’m interested in doing this right, I’m seeing that those types of companies creep into the space, especially with the augmented reality, which is amazing as well. I mean, there are startups now you can, you know, haven’t come in. You can redesign your whole interior home virtually, right? And purchase it like that’s crazy, crazy. So it’s really cool what technology is doing in this space, but in our space, in particular, you know, why hasn’t this happened today? And we’re fixing that that’s worth fixing this, this, making it home intelligent. So it actually tells you what it has and how to care for it like that should have been done years ago. And that’s what we’re solving.
Matt Watson 38:21
So well. I love it. And congratulations on being one of the top startups on our podcast in Phoenix. And we love being able to shine the spotlight on Phoenix and cover all the top startups. Be sure to check out the show notes. There are links to learn more about all the other episodes about the top startups. And once again, congratulations for being on the list.
Shane Ettestad 38:44
Thanks, man. I really appreciate you having me on today. It’s been a pleasure. And I’ll definitely track all the others on the list as well. And, all right, I look forward to getting you on our list.
Matt Watson 38:56
Next hop, right? Yes. Thank you. All right. Thank you so much. Take care.