Hosting an event and need a caterer, cleaning service, or photographer? Or are you looking for new health or auto insurance? Maybe you’re looking to get a dog, website design work, or even a spray tan. Whatever you need, conventional practices put the onus of the work on you. You’ll spend the next 30 minutes on Google searching for the best deal. This model is changing – services such as ThumbTack and TaskRabbit are making the service providers work for you, not the other way around.
Tanzio.com is a new player in this game. Like the previously mentioned websites, users input the service they need completed, and business bid on your dollar. What separates Tanzio, however, is the breadth of providers. Instead of a business paying to sign up for their service, as is the case with ServiceMagic, Tanzio includes all local businesses for free – they do the heavy lifting by contacting the providers. The result? ”We can return a good number of responses to the consumer,” says Jason Buck, CTO and vice president at Tanzio.com
I caught up with Buck to learn more about the inspiration behind his platform, how Tanzio differs from TaskRabbit and Zaarly, and his take on Seattle’s startup scene.
Tech Cocktail: What was the inspiration behind tanzio.com?
Jason Buck: I had to paint my house last year. I was looking for painters to call and get bids as I wanted some options. When calling, some businesses just don’t answer their phone, and then when they do I have to re-explain myself for each painter I talk to. This is tedious and time consuming, and I thought to myself, “I wish I could just post an ad, and let the businesses call me back.” And that’s exactly what Tanzio does.
Tech Cocktail: Who do you see as your biggest competition and how does tanzio.com differentiate itself?
Buck: ServiceMagic, Zaarly, Thumbtack, TaskRabbit.
All of our competition has the chicken-and-egg problem. Consumer’s won’t use these sites unless there are businesses signed up, and businesses won’t sign up unless people are using it. Tanzio skips this problem completely by including every business. Literally. Tanzio is a lead generation service, and when we send out our leads we send them to absolutely everyone and anyone that can help whether they know it or not, and whether they like it or not.
If you post a request on ServiceMagic.com, for example, they will send out your request to 3 or 4 businesses. These businesses have to pay to receive each lead. Consequently, they’re much more discriminating on which leads they’ll accept. The end result is that the consumer has a poor experience because they get a poor and limited response. Tanzio doesn’t charge for the leads – they’re free. This means we can return a good number of responses to the consumer.
Our business model completely distinguishes us. When we deliver our leads, we do so in priority order. The first business we contact is our number one advertiser. They get a live phone call and exclusivity on the request for five minutes. Afterwards we deliver it to our number two advertiser, and so-on-and-so-forth. After we call all of our advertisers, we’ll blast it out to everyone else.
Every business can participate and receive leads. However, the ones that receive them first have a competitive advantage. All of our competition either charges per lead delivered or takes a percentage of each transaction. The former is detrimental as already described, and the latter cannot be applied to cash or barter transactions done off of the site. Tanzio just skips all of these problems.
Tech Cocktail: Can you speak to the startup scene in Seattle? What’s one advantage and disadvantage?
Buck: We’re pretty new to the startup scene in Seattle, but it’s been a fruitful experience so far. There is a lot of talent and genuinely interested people in the community. In fact, we ended up hiring a woman we met at a previous social event where we presented. She was so impressed she came knocking on our door and wanted to be a part of the startup.
A negative thing I’ve noticed is that there are a lot of vendors and businesses that try and sell startups they’re services. At these social events, I would rather see more investors and entrepreneurs than other businesses trying to sell me something.
Tanzio.com was one of the startups showcased at the recent Tech Cocktail Seattle mixer.