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Moving past “on-demand,” Paintzen launches DIY tools, instructional content

TechCrunch TechCrunch 20/06/2016 Lora Kolodny

Paintzen started out in early 2013 as an on-demand app to book professional painters for homes, stores and offices. Today, the company started catering to the D.I.Y. market, specifically selling supplies to those who plan to paint their own rooms.

CEO and founder Mike Russell said, “We’re still a marketplace for home and office painting. When we started, the tech we built was about getting a quote to you and helping you book a painter. But it’s evolved now into helping you with color selection, inspiration and other things that come up when you are ready to remodel and redesign.”

According to Paintzen’s own market research, about 40% of people who need to paint their homes or shops and offices want to do so on their own.

Paintzen’s new features and instructional content will help them plan it all out from setup to cleanup.

Users can now access Paintzen DIY for help taking measurements correctly, coming up with style ideas for a room, figuring out a color palate, and determining just what quantity of paint, tape, and other supplies they may need to get a job done.

The startup, which is an alumni of the AngelPad accelerator and has raised about $9 million in funding to-date, is betting that DIY-ers who come to the app or website for this kind of planning will purchase a full basket of recommended items. Of course, users can always add to or subtract from a basket.

Targeting this new demographic could help Paintzen expand within and beyond its five core markets: Boston, Chicago, Washington D.C., New York and San Francisco, Russell said.

Signs that Paintzen would move further into e-commerce were apparent months ago.

In late 2015, the company struck up an exclusive partnership with Benjamin Moore, and has been selling products with the help of the paint maker and its stores wherever Paintzen does business.

And generally, on-demand startups can’t dominate if they stay niche, or local, for long. But they also can’t scale if they roll out too much, too fast. Testament to this reality are on-demand bygones: Cherry, SpoonRocket, Kitchit, Shuddle and many others who didn’t pivot on through the challenges.

So far, Paintzen seems to be doing robust business. Russell reports that 65 small and medium sized businesses use the platform, and Paintzen sees about 250 jobs booked per month with an average job size of $6,000.

Some customers use Paintzen National Accounts to remodel a chain of restaurants or all of their U.S. offices, Russell explained.

The company is not without competition, however. Among its challengers are: EasyPaint, co-founded by ex-Benjamin Moore CEO Denis Abrams in 2014; Thumbtack, which reportedly raised $125 million in its last round of funding at a $1.3 billion valuation; and Amazon Home Services, which offers home improvement and specifically painting services via

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