Okay, one thing Gen Zers (and Millennial/Gen Z cuspers like myself) really dig are supporting freelancers and people hustling outside of normal corporate, 9-5, or capitalist-centric occupational systems. We back Etsy shops, solo Kickstarters (not the campaigns that are just used for marketing and already have enough money — we see you), artists on the street, SoundCloud musicians, and more.
We like the unique and individualistic. We respect those that were ballsy enough to quit their job. We like seeing people, whether we know them or not, ditch expectations and go after their passions. If your passion is becoming an exec software engineer at Apple– fine, but own it just as hard as the van lifer selling wire wrapped pendants by the beach.
We like people following their passions because we’ve seen closely and dealt with the repercussions of work/life imbalance and societal norms that wreck your mental health from the moment we were born. We saw into other people’s lives through constant connection of technology. We know how bad it can go to stick with something you don’t like, so accepting a lifestyle other than our own became easier.
Not Sponsored, Just Cool
That said, our watchlist this week for new startups lies in the mobile app field. Much like the premise of Nextdoor, it focuses on connecting people in your vicinity or town that can help you.
It’s called Porch, and it started out by providing a platform to call someone to help with household repair services like plumbing, gardening, carpentry, and more, and then reviewing their services. With most of the growth happening in 2019, they’ve acquired a larger handyman network, moving businesses, home purchasing CRMs, and quietly pivoted from a simple neighborhood app to a fully integrated network and SaaS that helps with anything having to do with the home.
What we love about it most, is that it started out as a freelance-based network, so you’d be helping an individual in your community that may have better rates than a big business. It’s a careful balance of helping the community and people with skills you don’t have, and supporting small local businesses. Talk about hitting a Millennial sweet spot.
Like a Network of Confirmed Master of Ones
It’s completely revolutionizing the way home services are being consumed. The one problem we see from the outside is this:
Is their sales cycle and conversion rate optimized enough, and is their growth branding strategy crafted well enough, to make up for the fact that they’ve pivoted so many times?
When startups fail, investors don’t just get cold feet. They see a lack of clarity in leadership, or user numbers decrease when users see inconsistencies in branding and outreach.
Growth comes with bruises — loyalty dives and rises. That’s supposed to happen; growth in any metaphor you can think of is always painful. But to survive and continue with a trusted reputation, knowing you very well may pivot again in the future, requires incredibly detailed brand strategy and omnichannel marketing.
We don’t have a crystal ball; but we do have a decade-long history of seeing why businesses fail right before they do– except those that bring us in, that is. They do pretty well, selling for millions or going on to grow with us.
Here’s to hoping Porch has the right team of fearless B2B growth hackers helping them pave the way forward through expert brand strategizing, so they never lose what made them successful to begin with: building a network of people picking up odd freelance jobs and breaking the status quo.