Six weeks after buying a new refrigerator, Anand Subbaraj found himself on the phone with customer service to address strange noises coming from the appliance. Technicians would arrive only to not have the right parts or know how to fix that particular appliance. It ultimately took six calls to customer service and eight weeks for the refrigerator to get fixed.
That experience got Subbaraj, who spent 14 years at Microsoft helping larger organizations improve their businesses, thinking on how he could apply that to help global brands offer better customer experiences.
“When I looked into it, I found that the experience was not connected at all, and technicians were not empowered to perform their job, nor could provide the on-demand experience because they lacked the tools, solutions and integrations,” he told TechCrunch.
In 2016, he started Seattle-based Zuper, a provider of productivity tools for intelligent field service management and customer engagement. Today, the company announced $13 million in Series A, led by FUSE, with participation from Sequoia Capital India and existing investors Prime Venture Partners and HubSpot. This latest round gives Zuper $14.1 million in total funding raised to date.
The company designed its product offerings to connect all of the moving pieces related to booking residential and commercial service work: integrations for things like CRM, payroll and APIs, and features including booking tools so the right technician’s skills are tapped and all of the job information is at the technician’s fingertips so they have everything they need, from the beginning, to perform the service. A bonus is the ability to tell customers their technician’s estimated time of arrival.
All of this was designed so jobs are completed the right way the first time, Subbaraj said. As a result, organizations using Zuper save, on average, at least 20 hours per week, per user and improve customer satisfaction by more than 50%, he added.
The new funding follows explosive growth by Zuper over the past 12 months that included global traction and an annualized recurring revenue growth of seven times year over year. It achieved 140% net revenue retention, onboarded more than 100 new customers across North America, Asia and Europe and tripled the size of its team to 55 employees.
In addition, Zuper added over 250 new features and completed 18 new integrations with organizations, including Salesforce, Oracle Netsuite and QuickBooks. Also in 2021, the company supported more than 3 million work orders and 15 million scheduled hours of work and facilitated over $20 million of transactions through the platform.
Subbaraj plans to invest the new funding in product leadership innovation in workflows, location intelligence, dispatching, marketing and sales. He also looks to double Zuper’s headcount this year and expand its partner ecosystem.
With over 5 million technicians working in these kinds of service businesses, Subbaraj estimates there is a $1.1 trillion opportunity to inject some technology into this industry. He is not alone in that thinking; for example, we have reported on other companies announcing new venture capital as they develop similar technologies.
Most recently, Fuzey raised $4.5 million in seed funding for its “digital one-stop shop” for small businesses and independent contractors, while Puls Technologies raised $15 million for its mobile app connecting tradespeople with on-demand home repair services. There are also larger companies in the space, like Jobber, which announced $60 million in funding.
“Since 2020, $420 billion was spent on home improvement and repairs as people spent more time at home, increasing the demand for skilled tradespeople,” Subbaraj said. “This has caused a tailwind for home and commercial services, and multiple players can be here. We are seeing players coming in with different things to offer the right tools.”
Kellan Carter, general partner at FUSE, also said via a written statement that Zuper was bringing digital technology to a field service industry traditionally slow to adopt it.
“The company’s product market fit coupled with a strong executive team has enabled Zuper to become a category-leading field service software provider with global scale, customer-driven growth and a robust ecosystem of partners across the entire service management tech stack,” he added. “We see significant opportunities for Zuper to continue delivering tangible ROI for its customers.”