HomePainter awarded $25,000 Iowa Economic Development Authority Proof of Commercial Relevance loan
AMES, Iowa (Aug 15, 2019) – The Iowa State University Startup Factory today announced that cohort six team HomePainter has been awarded a $25,000 Proof of Commercial Relevance (POCR) loan from the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) Board for product refinement, market planning and key personnel.
HomePainter is a Des Moines-based startup with an online subcontracting platform aimed at creating value for homeowners and contractors within the painting industry.
HomePainter Co-founder Jacob McClarnon says the company’s online estimating tool “provides homeowners fast – in less than five minutes – and accurate paint estimates delivered directly to their computer, tablet or Smartphone.” HomePainter then subcontracts booked jobs to local vetted and registered painters at no cost.
“We’re beyond thrilled and grateful to have been awarded this POCR loan,” McClarnon said. “Since its 2018 launch, HomePainter has built a lot of momentum. This POCR loan will allow us to proceed on that upward path at a high intensity as we continue to beta-test and fine-tune our quoting algorithm, meet sales and financial goals, convert part-time software developers into full-time employees and hire key personnel.”
McClarnon said the continuum of support received from the IEDA has been “highly beneficial to his fledgling business.”
HomePainter participated in the IEDA’s Iowa Student Internship Program, which provided a grant allowing the company to hire student interns. “It’s a job-creating program that at the same time helps small businesses like ours financially through wage-sharing. The program enabled us to hire the workers we needed to help us build our platform,” McClarnon said.
Paul Biermann, a 2019 Iowa State University software engineering graduate, was one of the interns HomePainter hired.
“As the IEDA’s student internship program intends, and now with the help of the POCR loan, we will be able to transition Paul to a full-time employee,” McClarnon said. “The continuum is working for us, and with the help of talented software developers like Paul, our goal is to have our innovative platform market-ready and eligible for other IEDA funding opportunities, such as the Demonstration Fund, in the very near future.”
Home Painter is a member of the Iowa State University Startup Factory’s sixth cohort. The Startup Factory is a 52-week intensive program at the Iowa State University Research Park that provides an avenue for students, faculty, staff, and community members to create technology-based, platform businesses. Entrepreneurs in the program receive formal training, resources, and access to a network of business mentors, advisors, counselors, and investors in two 26-week blocks: the first is a formal curriculum centered on business validation, while the second block is more customized to their individual business needs.
Through its online platform, HomePainter aims to standardize and innovate the painting industry by providing homeowners a convenient, affordable and guaranteed painting experience, and painting contractors a more efficient and profitable means of booking home improvement projects.
“Customer discovery has taught us a lot about what is needed in the marketplace,” McClarnon said. “Recently, a customer told us they were having a really hard time getting companies to return their calls, or even come out to their home to provide them a quote. They said they wasted countless hours and were stressed and frustrated with the traditional process of booking a paint services job.”
That is, until they discovered HomePainter, McClarnon said. “They were downright ‘giddy’ when they realized they could use us as this convenient, quick, online option. And in the end, our customer service, always being there for them, and quality work really won them over. I’m happy to say they gave the completed job a five star rating.”
With the aid of the POCR loan, McClarnon said HomePainter has potential to hire an operations manager for its Des Moines-based team. “Our operation managers are key to adding high value for both homeowners and painters,” he said. “For homeowners, the professional operations manager acts as their personal project manager and is highly attentive to the customers’ needs. They are the go-to-person for questions or concerns and can provide project updates via text or email in real time, so the homeowner can enjoy peace of mind knowing everything is going smoothly.”
McClarnon said contractors also appreciate working with HomePainter’s operations managers. “We take care of all the customer-service aspects, so the painter is free to get right to the job of painting.”
HomePainter also offers contractors a no-cost means of finding more customers. “What differentiates us from other lead sites is we are a free platform for painters to get more work,” McClarnon said. “We provide them with a contract price that offers them better profitability than if they were to get the job on their own. That’s because we take care of lead generation, sales and marketing, and the liability, so the fact that they don’t have to spend time and money doing these things helps them retain profits.”
McClarnon said he looks forward to scaling his company with the help of support received from the IEDA. “What the IEDA is providing through its business development programs, like the internship program and funding opportunities for small businesses, has made a world of difference for our growing startup.”
In July, the IEDA Board approved awards for four Iowa companies, which will assist in the creation of 116 jobs and more than $52 million in new capital investment. The projects are located in Dubuque, Winterset and Des Moines. The board also approved innovation funding in support of five startups located in Altoona, Le Claire, West Des Moines and Iowa City.
HomePainter, founded by Jacob McClarnon and Anthony House, is an online platform aimed at creating value for homeowners and contractors within the painting industry. Its online platform enables homeowners to get fast, accurate estimates with ease, and provides vetted painters with jobs at no cost. For more information on HomePainter, visit https://thehomepainter.com
About ISU Startup Factory
The Iowa State University (ISU) Startup Factory is a 52-week intensive program housed at the ISU Research Park (ISURP). Entrepreneurs in the Startup Factory receive formal training, resources, and access to a network of business mentors, advisors, counselors, and investors in two 26-week blocks: the first a formal curriculum centered on business validation, and the second, customized to their individual business needs. For more information on the ISU Startup Factory program, call 515-294-7444 or visit isustartupfactory.org.
About ISU Research Park
Establish in 1987, The Iowa State University Research Park (ISURP) is a real estate development community closely affiliated with Iowa State University. ISURP assists both established and startup companies in connecting with Iowa State’s vast infrastructure to grow their enterprises; whether through students, research entities, equipment or a multitude of other resources. ISURP is currently home to 93 companies and research centers and 11 affiliates, employing 2,155 and 135 people, respectively, and occupies approximately 800,000 square feet of commercial real estate on 400 acres. For more information on ISURP, call 515.296.4204 or visit isupark.org.
Attached Photo cutline: HomePainter’s online estimating tool provides homeowners fast and accurate paint estimates and painting contractors a more profitable means of booking projects.