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Startup led by former Expedia director offers regular home maintenance

Key Takeaways

  • Onder is a new startup that provides homeowners with twice-yearly checkups to help identify different maintenance tasks that need to be done on a house.
  • The 8-person company is led by former Expedia director David Krieger.
  • It faces competition from established home services marketplace players and newer startups.

Onder CEO and founder David Krieger. (Onder Photo)

A group of travel and real estate tech vets recently launched a startup to help new homeowners stay up-to-date on maintenance issues by providing regular inspections.

Former Expedia director David Krieger is the founder of Onder, a Seattle company that provides a twice-yearly inspection and digital platform to create a checklist for home maintenance and upkeep. The company also offers a virtual agent for users to schedule a repair with a vendor.

The goal is to help homeowners monitor any potential maintenance problems that might emerge, such as a leaky toilet, or address those that require immediate attention, like an electrical short. It’s similar to a routine physical check-up or oil change for a vehicle.

“I’m building a company that solves a problem that I feel personally,” said CEO and co-founder David Krieger, who recently bought a house in Seattle built in the 1920s.

Krieger previously spent a decade as a senior director of product and strategy at Expedia. He is joined by other hospitality and property tech vets:

  • CTO Greg Mushen held the position of Director of Product Management at Expedia, and also served as VP of Product Management at Seattle-based sales startup Outreach. He is also the Founder and CEO of ClearClose, a startup that automates real estate contract compliance.
  • Johannes Ariens, the Head of Growth, is the former CEO and co-founder of Loge Co., a Seattle-based hospitality startup that offers overnight motel and camping accommodations catering to surfers and other outdoor enthusiasts. He also founded Route Line, a luxury camper van rental startup.
  • Sherra Johnston, the Head of Operations, worked on operations on Broadway theater show, while also serving as VP of Operations at fitness services startup FindCenter.

Onder launched last summer and raised a pre-seed round in 2021 led by Rackhouse Ventures. The startup’s eight employees currently do everything from property maintenance to software development.

The company sells two subscription tiers: $40 per month or $400 annually, both of which include the twice-yearly visit. During the initial inspection, it sends a technician to create a “personalized operating plan” based on the home’s maintenance backlog.

Krieger said customers find a sense of relief during that process because they often don’t know how to get started on various issues.

Onder has relied exclusively on word-of-mouth marketing and referrals to acquire its customers. The startup currently operates in six different residential communities in Seattle, covering about 50 homes. Krieger declined to share specific financial metrics but said the company plans to grow to roughly 250 homes by the end of the year.

While Onder’s main audience will be first-time homebuyers, it also wants to establish a so-called “artificial HOA” in communities. Krieger said by aggregating multiple customers in one neighborhood where there is no existing HOA, Onder can negotiate for discounts on services on their behalf, helping multiple homes with maintenance projects at once.

Onder currently works with about 50 vendors for services such as painting, electrical and HVAC.

One of the biggest challenges so far has been convincing people they need a home management service, Krieger said. The concept of home management is often perceived as an out-of-reach luxury service reserved for wealthy homeowners, he said.

In the future, it plans to target enterprises including home insurance companies and large tech companies, which could offer Onder as a work-from-home amenity, Kreiger said.

Krieger said the company will initially concentrate on “boots-on-the-ground” activities to establish customized operating plans, and later scale up by developing an app that lets homeowners catalogue their own maintenance information.

In the future, Krieger said the company will likely have a hybrid model of using a mix of gig workers and in-house employees to do on-the-ground maintenance and the twice-yearly inspections.

Krieger compared Onder’s workforce scaling strategy to that of Wrench, a Seattle-based auto repair startup that utilizes “mobile mechanics” to perform repair jobs at the customer’s location, without a physical shop or dealership.

Onder will need to wrestle market share from established home services marketplace players like Thumbtack, HomeAdvisor and Seattle’s Porch, which merged with a special-purpose acquisition company and went public in December 2020. There are also several startups in the space, including New York-based Honey Homes.

Krieger said Onder will initially focus on the Seattle market as a testing ground for the concept. He said it’s a “massive market to explore” due to the large number of first-time homebuyers who are tech workers in the area.

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