Northwest Arkansas’s residential real estate market is booming, so it’s little wonder that service providers to the industry are hoping to ride the wave.
The latest is Lula, a technology company headquartered in Overland Park, Kan., that offers residential services on demand. Founder and CEO Bo Lais launched the product in Northwest Arkansas earlier this month, adding a second service market to Lula’s footprint in the Kansas City metro.
“Lula is an app that helps homeowners instantly connect immediately with available home service pros with just a few taps from a mobile device,” Lais said. “We use the homeowner’s unique property data to price many of our services upfront like home cleaning, lawn care, junk removal, TV mounting, etc., and we have an eight-point vetting process all our contractors must go through to make sure we have only the best local pros on the platform.”
Lais, who describes himself as a serial entrepreneur, says he started on the Lula journey several years ago because of a personal experience he and his wife had as new homeowners.
After two years of market research, building the app and initial fundraising, Lula launched in the fall of 2017 and is available for Apple and Android users.
Through the app, homeowners can search for the residential service they need — the Northwest Arkansas rollout started primarily with HVAC, housecleaning, junk removal and handyman services — and get an instant quote based on property data and fair market price in their geographical area. The first provider to respond to the request gets the job and shows up at the home in four hours or less. Lais said Lula started with more than 100 providers in the Northwest Arkansas market.
The mobile platform got a big boost in January when it closed a $750,000 seed round led by Kansas City-based Worcester Investments, a real estate asset manager and investor whose portfolio has grown to more than $200 million. Lais said altogether Lula has drawn more than $1 million in investment dollars. He said he is in the process of creating a new revenue source by adapting Lula for use by large-property managers in the multifamily space.
Lais says he’s excited to bring Lula to Northwest Arkansas, and that includes personal reasons. A Missouri native, Lais attended the University of Arkansas from 1999 to 2003, and he still has friends and family who live in the area. In fact, his brother Barrett Lais is the longtime assistant men’s golf coach at the UA.