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That didn’t track with what Umang Dua, one of Handy’s co-founders, had been telling me and another reporter just moments earlier.Since launching in 2012, Handy has expanded to 28 cities, including ones in Canada and England.I had come to the party at the invitation of a Handy PR rep and was making the rounds, introducing myself as a journalist and chatting with employees.Most had drinks in hand and seemed eager to celebrate.But in the weeks following the party at Pergola, I learned that its ascent in the so-called 1099 economy has been a bumpy one—for its users, its employees, and for the independent contractors who actually do the cleaning.
Handy’s third birthday party last month was everything you’d expect from a startup soiree.Twenty- and thirtysomethings crowded the dimly lit bar at Pergola, a Mediterranean spot in Manhattan’s Flatiron District, munching on skewers of free-range chicken and a seemingly endless cascade of spicy meatballs with tzatziki sauce, as a hoodie-clad co-founder boasted about the company’s recent triumphs. The startup, whose app allows users to hire, pay, and rate home cleaners, had just completed its one-millionth booking.It employs a full-time staff of more than 160 across all these cities, and has enlisted about 10,000 cleaners to work on its platform.In March, Handy notched million in funding, and is reportedly closing in on another million.Sure, Handy isn’t profitable yet, but what 3-year-old startup is?
Handy is unquestionably a savvy young company, one that has conjured a valuable new business out of thin air.