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Spokane startup OddJobbers gets capital boost after early success

UPDATED: Tue., July 28, 2020

OddJobbers co-owners Nick McLain, left, and Zach Duffy visit a Spokane yard Wednesday that they regularly maintain.  (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review)
OddJobbers co-owners Nick McLain, left, and Zach Duffy visit a Spokane yard Wednesday that they regularly maintain. (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review)

Spokane-based OddJobbers, a startup that connects college students to people needing help with household tasks, raised a new round of funding to improve its online platform and serve a growing number of new clients.

The startup raised $310,000 in seed funding earlier this year from local entrepreneur and Ignite Northwest CEO Tom Simpson’s Kick-Start fund. It also received funding from the Spokane Angel Alliance and the Morning Star Foundation.

The infusion of capital provided OddJobbers with investment needed to develop a new online platform, which is launching in September, OddJobbers CEO Nick McLain said.

OddJobbers had temporarily closed in January – prior to COVID-19 – and hired three software engineers to rebuild the software system for its website. The software improvements will allow the company to manage more features and eventually expand into other markets, McLain said.

The original OddJobbers LLC was launched by Gonzaga University graduates McLain and Kelsey Burns in April 2018. After Burns decided to pursue other endeavors, McLain and Zach Duffy co-founded OddJobbers Inc. in March 2019. Duffy, also a Gonzaga University alumnus, is the chief marketing officer for the company.

As the coronavirus pandemic took hold in the state in March, it created uncertainty for the startup’s future operations as its business model is built on interaction between users. But the statewide stay-home order was partially lifted in May. It allowed outdoor landscaping work to resume in Spokane County and OddJobbers experienced exponential growth with students on the platform completing nearly 200 jobs for customers.

“In May. we got a bit of momentum, and June was huge. It was, by far, our best month ever,” McLain said.

The company doubled its revenue compared to June 2019 and is continuing to see customer demand this month, he said.

The startup is experiencing a rise in demand for yard maintenance, moving furniture and other household tasks, in part, because customers have more flexibility with their schedules as some are working from home.

OddJobbers also had an influx of students sign up for the platform due to cancellation of traditional in-person summer internships, McLain said, adding one student made $3,500 on the platform during May and June.

More than 850 students from local colleges have joined OddJobbers in the past year, McLain said.

Students sign up for OddJobbers as independent contractors – much like Uber – then create profiles listing their background and job skills. Students set their hourly rates for various household tasks and can earn between $17-$21 an hour, according to the startup’s website.

Customers who sign up for the OddJobbers platform can post requests for help with household tasks and can also contact workers directly for job assistance.

OddJobbers added former Spokane mayor David Condon to its board of directors earlier this year. Simpson, of Ignite Northwest, and David Shriner, who is the Morning Star Foundation board treasurer and finance committee member, also serve on the startup’s board.

Simpson, who met McLain in a class he was teaching at Gonzaga University, said he saw potential for OddJobbers to grow, and that’s part of the reason why he invested in the company.

“When I see a company that is generating revenue, and in OddJobbers’ case doing it on a shoestring (budget) with hardly any capital and very little advertising, I say, ‘Just imagine what could this company could become with some funding,’ ” he said. “It’s like sprinkling water and sunshine on a plant.”

This article was updated July 28 to clarify that Kelsey Burns was a co-founder of OddJobbers LLC in 2018. Nick McLain and Zach Duffy co-founded OddJobbers Inc. in 2019.

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