How to Grease a Chatbot: E-Commerce Companies Seek a Backdoor Into AI ResponsesRead more

Handy CEO Oisin Hanrahan.  Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Web Summit via Sportsfile

Handy’s Lesson for Gig Economy Startups: Profit vs. Growth

By  |  Feb. 27, 2018 12:48 PM PST
Photo: Handy CEO Oisin Hanrahan. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Web Summit via Sportsfile

When home cleaning startup Homejoy went out of business in mid-2015, it kicked off a culling for a generation of startups trying to get rich from the “gig economy”—connecting delivery people, drivers and cleaners with customers. But a handful of firms survived, including Homejoy’s main rival, Handy Technologies.

Around that time, Handy was burning $3.5 million a month, according to financial data made available exclusively to The Information. Today, it is profitable but growing slower, having expanded its focus from home cleaning into home repair and furniture assembly. And now it confronts a question faced by other startups in a similar situation: how to justify its last valuation of $342 million without the rapid growth it once enjoyed?

Access on the go
View stories on our mobile app and tune into our weekly podcast.
Join live video Q&A’s
Deep-dive into topics like startups and autonomous vehicles with our top reporters and other executives.
Enjoy a clutter-free experience
Read without any banner ads.
Microsoft's Satya Nadella, left, and Peter Lee. Photo by Bloomberg, Microsoft
How Microsoft Swallowed Its Pride to Make a Massive Bet on OpenAI
Satya Nadella didn’t want to hear it. Last December, Peter Lee, who oversees Microsoft’s sprawling research efforts, was briefing Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO, and his deputies about a series of tests Microsoft had conducted of GPT-4, the then-unreleased new artificial intelligence large-language model built by OpenAI.
Art by Clark Miller
The AI Age e-commerce ai
How to Grease a Chatbot: E-Commerce Companies Seek a Backdoor Into AI Responses
When Andy Wilson’s company received its first successful client referral through ChatGPT, he was shaken to his core.
Chris Britt, co-founder and CEO of Chime.
Exclusive startups Finance
Chime’s Slowdown Highlights Limits of Bank Disruptors
Chime found a way to offer zero-fee banking services without being a bank itself. But that approach is starting to show its limits.
Art by Clark Miller
The Big Read markets Finance
The Master of Destruction Rides Again
In the spring of 2022, the irascible Wall Street short seller Marc Cohodes was in a particularly foul mood.
Art by Mike Sullivan
startups asia
Venture Capitalists Face Pressure to Divest From China
Silicon Valley venture capitalists are coming to terms with a new reality: Their once-prized China investments may be victims of a simmering cold war.
Art by Clark Miller.
Social Studies culture
The Day TikTok Went Dark in India
On June 29, 2020, as thunderstorms swept Mumbai and daily Covid-19 cases in India surged by almost 20,000, millions of people began experiencing a flood of network errors on their mobile devices.