Pest IQ Raises $600K Pre-Seed Investment from Startup Ignition Ventures
Pest IQ, a Provo-based performance analytics startup, has raised a $600k pre-seed round from Startup Ignition Ventures.
Co-founders Adam Weber (CEO) and James Sullivan (COO), veterans of the pest control industry–and recent graduates of Startup Ignition’s boot camp, Cohort 15, which took place in June at the Lehi Kiln– have built a time-saving performance analytics dashboard to support the pest control industry. Weber and Sullivan have applied their knowledge and relationships in Pest Control to the creation of a new tool that gives employees greater visibility about key performance indicators to help employees and managers track performance against company goals.
“Our investment in Pest IQ is really an investment in the founding team,” Startup Ignition Ventures Managing Partner John Richards explained. “This is a good example of our focus on quality teams who follow lean startup principles. What we like about PestIQ is the industry experience and clear understanding of operator pain, the B2B focus, and we think this will become a ‘gotta have’ product.”
Sullivan and Weber have been in Pest Control for a while now. In 2010, they started and operated a pest control company, Fulcrum Pest Control. They sold Fulcrum in December 2022.
Sullivan had been a leading sales rep for another pest control company. Although he was making good money, Sullivan felt the itch to build a pest control company of his own that would exceed the performance of his competitors. He called his friend Adam Weber, who was newly married and living in San Francisco at the time working on a new mobile marketplace startup. They discussed the idea of creating a Texas based pest control company.
In no time, Weber decided to leave his 600 sq foot $4K/mo San Francisco apartment and move to El Paso to embark upon a new startup journey with Texas-based Sullivan.
A marketer by trade, James Sullivan taught himself how to code. Having already built and marketed a healthy lifestyle app, Fittur, he was very familiar with lean startup methodology and was comfortable with the idea of validating the new business concept before committing it to code.
With Pest IQ, Sullivan and Weber followed the exact same approach. They contacted their friends and competitors in the pest control industry, described the concept that their software eventually was built to address, and received favorable feedback.
“We validated the concept for the past year before we really built anything because we were in the industry and knew people in it,” said Weber. “We built a paper MVP and validated it through a painstaking process of manual data collection. We then presented it to our potential clients.”
Sullivan built an early stage MVP of the product that worked and garnered a lot of interest from customers, but it presented a dilemma to the founders: “We could go two directions. Either we could continue bootstrapping, or we could raise,” said Weber.. “If we raise, we should bring in a real CTO and build the company the right way. That’s how we got connected with John and Tyler Richards.”
Last month, Weber and Sullivan brought in Chris Walker as Co-founder and CTO to join the company. Walker, a technical leader with startup experience, had gone through Startup Ignition’s boot camp, cohorts 8 & 11. He was introduced by John and Tyler Richards to Weber and Sullivan.
Weber describes the impact of Walker’s contributions, “The MVP was built, but we brought in Chris to take it to a new level, make it function right, make it scale, and build in some amazing additional features. Within weeks of having Chris on board, the design and the functionality now is astronomically better,” said Weber.
Pest IQ delivers individualized dashboards for each team member on a pest control team: the sales team, technicians, administrators, and executives. These dashboards provide real-time data about how each member of a given team is performing against company metrics and goals.
The dashboard solves the data gathering and tracking problem that Weber and Sullivan and most of their colleagues in other companies were experiencing, namely the long time required to gather data from myriad sources to have performance conversations with team members.
“When it came to performance conversations I was spending three hours consolidating data from several different sources to have a 20-minute conversation,” said Weber. “My time was skewed. What I should have been doing with that time was supporting and guiding my team. Instead I was spending too much time just collecting the data for the conversation.”
Using the Pest IQ tool, gathering the data for performance conversations “is literally immediate,” says Weber. “While I am sitting down talking with a sales rep, I can pull up that rep’s data immediately with one touch while we are talking; I don’t even have to look at it ahead of time.”
Weber explained that it is not just the time savings that resonates with customers. “In our research the real ROI we are seeing from customers is on the performance side of things. When employees have that data right in front of them about how they're performing relative to how they should perform, we are seeing their performance dramatically increase,” says Weber. “They can see if they are on target for where they are supposed to be. And if not, they can change things and see where they can improve.”
Pest IQ is a SaaS business model involving a minimal per office fee and even smaller user fee. “The way we’re structured right now, it is $200 per office and $10 per user. The average office will be in the $250 to $350 per month range–or approximately 10X less than the competition,” said Weber.
Pest IQ plans to focus on marketing to the 32,000 pest control companies in the US, but its software can easily be transitioned to similar home service industries such as electrical, plumbing, HVAC, landscapers, and other home improvement industries that involve taking calls, sending out a technician and performing a task.
“I’m confident we can achieve 10 million + ARR just from the pest control industry alone in a really short timeframe. But then we have other related industries that come after it. We see this as a model that can be adapted to other industries. We are called Pest IQ now, but I can see it transitioning to something like Service IQ later, after we have hit our initial goals.
Currently it has about 15 companies that have been testing it and will be official customers upon the launch of the product later this month.