Eden, the YC-backed startup that offers on-demand tech help service direct to your home, has today announced the raise of $1.3 million in seed funding. Investors include Canvas Ventures, Eniac Ventures, Comcast Ventures, Maven Ventures, Y Combinator, Dylan Smith from Box, and James Beshara from Tilt (with his first angel investment).
The premise behind Eden is relatively simple.
Users with tech problems, whether it’s a broken phone, faulty WiFi, an un-installable printer (which we’ve all encountered) or otherwise can hit up the Eden website on their phone or desktop and have a tech specialist at their house, their office or a coffee shop at a specified time.
Eden says there are more than 180,000 tech pros in the United States who are either working at Geek Squad (the incumbent) or for a small tech shop, and the company wants to tap that supply of professionals to offer a better level of service to customers who don’t have the time to go visit a shop and wait.
Eden cofounder Joe Du Bey said that in these first few weeks — for reference, Eden launched in the Bay Area at the very end of May — the service is seeing high demand from folks over the age of 50 who have usually depended on millennial relatives to help with their tech frustrations.
As it stands now, Eden’s tech pros are 1099 contractors but Du Bey says that the company is ultra-flexible when it comes to how they employ their workers.
“The way that I’m approaching this is to do whatever gives our customers a better experience,” said Du Bey. “No final decision has been made, and moving our workers over to W2 is something we’re seriously considering.”
Eden’s tech pros make $30/hour.
This comes at a time where the debate over 1099 vs. W2 employment is truly heating up, with Hilary Clinton weighing in and companies like Shyp and Instacart revamping their models to turn contractors into full employees. And let’s not forget the recent Uber lawsuit, that forced the transportation startup to classify at least one of its drivers as an employee.
For now, Eden is available in the Bay Area and can offer same-day service to users, but eventually the company wants to tighten that to a shorter window. But growing a marketplace, which is exactly what Eden is, can be difficult when both sides of the service have to grow at the same rate.
“The greatest challenge of the business right now is the supply side,” said Du Bey. “We are an on-demand business, and when you’re growing quickly on the demand side it’s tough to ensure you’re doing the right kind of recruiting. We have a more drawn-out recruiting process that is very rigorous, so the supply side constraint is currently the biggest challenge for us.”
Eden charges $69/hour, giving away a free first hour to new customers, and that includes everything from installing a Nest thermostat to mounting a TV to fixing a cracked iPhone screen.
You can learn more about the newly funded Eden right here.