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.”

Creating added-value

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.”

IEDA support

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.

About HomePainter

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.