In help-for-hire shake-out, Handybook buys house-cleaning app Exec

Justin Kan, shown in a file photo, has sold his San Francisco start-up Exec to a New York competitor Handybook.
(Jacob Woodward / Los Angeles Times)

SAN FRANCISCO -- Handybook, which bills itself as the “Uber for household services,” is buying Exec, a San Francisco startup that lets people book house cleaners from a mobile app.

The acquisition signals what could be the start of a shake-out among help-for-hire startups competing to be the one to run your errands.

Justin Kan, chief executive and co-founder of Exec, declined to comment on the terms of the deal.


In an interview Tuesday, Kan said Handybook had sprinted out ahead of Exec. He met with the Handybook team last year and began discussing the acquisition deal in October.

Exec came out of Y Combinator, a Silicon Valley incubator, in 2012. It started out as an errand service, taking on the more established TaskRabbit, and raised about $3 million.

“It would have been difficult to replicate what they had achieved,” Kan said of Handybook. “It was impressive and something I wanted to make Exec a part of, so we figured out a way to do that. Handybook doesn’t just do cleaning. They also have handyman services such as plumbing, painting walls, building your Ikea furniture, changing light fixtures. We were doing a good job with house cleaning but we couldn’t yet get all your walls painted with a push of a button, which was my ultimate vision for Exec. I am excited that we can bring that to our customers a little bit sooner.”

Kan said Exec also gives Handybook something it did not have: a West Coast presence including an office in Santa Monica. Exec’s 10 staffers will stay on and Kan will become an adviser.

Handybook, based in New York, was founded in 2012 and has raised $12 million in venture capital funding.

Kan rose to Internet fame for, a life-casting experiment that launched in 2007. He also helped found TwitchTV and Socialcam.



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