Lawn Guru Closes $1M Round, Plans National Expansion

Lawn Guru, an app that allows users to connect with lawn care professionals and order services on demand, announced this week that it has closed a $1 million seed round. The round was led by Sierra Wasach Capital with participation from Canyon Creek Capital, Briggs and Stratton, and Sequoia Capital’s scout program.

According to a press release, Lawn Guru has grown revenues by more than 1,110 percent since its launch last year, and in April, the company relocated to a new office in downtown Ann Arbor from metro Detroit.

Lawn Guru’s iPhone app works like this: You request a cut by entering the property’s address and using tracing tool on a bird’s eye image to designate the area you want mowed. Based on the time and location of your request, a list of lawn care providers pops up. Choose one, book the service, and wait to get a picture of your freshly mowed lawn, which is included with the electronic receipt sent to customers’ mobile devices. In many cases, if the request is made early enough, the company says the mowing will be done on the same day.

App users can also track the location and estimated arrival time of the providers similar to the Uber app; customers get a notification when a provider has accepted the job, is en route to the job, has started the job, and has finished the job. Payments to service providers are handled in the app by charging a credit card linked to the account—no tipping necessary. Lawn Guru is free for both customers and providers to download, and the company makes its money by charging a transaction fee to the person who books the service. A new Android version of the Lawn Guru app is coming by the end of summer, the company says.

Lawn Guru was started by Skye Durrant and Brandon Bertrang, two former South Lyon, MI, classmates who had a successful lawn-mowing business while still in high school a decade ago. The pair eventually went their separate ways for college, but the old friends stayed in touch throughout the years.

Then, over the holidays in 2012, Durrant and Bertrang reconnected and talked about opportunities in lawn care. Durrant had been in Silicon Valley, working in wealth management and taking business classes here and there; Bertrang still had the mowing business and had used its profits to pay for college, but he felt the industry was ripe for innovation.

“It’s a lagging, archaic industry,” Durrant explained to Xconomy last year, adding that there were lots of simple changes the two thought could be made to improve the still-operating lawn business they created in high school. And they felt that if it could be done right, there was money to be made. By 2013, Durrant had moved back to Michigan from San Francisco and the two got to work creating a business plan.

It seems Lawn Guru’s investors also see a compelling business case for yard-care tech. Durrant said last year that more than 85 million U.S. homes have lawns, and 30 percent hire lawn care services. The average homeowner spends $700 annually on lawn care, and he estimated the total market value was $80 billion.

After launching last April, Lawn Guru went on to win a $25,000 prize for best new product or service at last fall’s Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition and work with Ann Arbor SPARK to build its business. The company plans to spend the new investment in support of a national expansion while continuing to refine the Lawn Guru platform. It also plans to hire people for sales, marketing, and customer service positions.

Sarah Schmid Stevenson is the editor of Xconomy Detroit/Ann Arbor. You can reach her at 313-570-9823 or sschmid@xconomy.com. Follow @XconomyDET_AA

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