Bellhops, the Chattanooga-based on-demand moving startup, has raised a substantial Series C in what might be the burgeoning startup city’s largest technology funding round ever. Beyond a rapid expansion across new markets, the funding will go towards doubling the company’s employee base and a new office in nearby Atlanta.
Bellhops, founded in 2011, has moved far beyond its early days as a college student moving business. The two co-founders, Stephen Vlahos and Cameron Doody, developed a technology platform to facilitate easy matching between customers and labor.
The customer enters the details of their move — zip codes, home size, dates and a few more — and the technology predicts how many movers and how much time the operation will require. Everything is arranged online, including payment.
By 2015, the company had added investors including Canaan Partners, Binary Capital, Lowercase Capital, Techstars‘ Bullet Time Ventures, and individuals including Alexis Ohanian and the rapper Nas. Three funding rounds garnered them about $21 million.
At this point, the company was expanding to new cities quickly. In 2017, the leadership team brought in a CEO with the background to do that right: former Uber Southeast General Manager Luke Marklin.
Like Uber, Bellhops and Marklin have followed a playbook of land and expand. Bellhops’ services are now available in 31 cities across 13 states, a number which will double over the next year, according to company representatives.
The services they provide have also evolved, in what Marklin told Hypepotamus was a “major pivot.” Rather than just handling the labor side of moving, Bellhops now provides an end-to-end service including loading, shipping, unloading.
“Now in every market that we operate in we have a full-service option, so it really started to become not just a helpful set of hands but a true end-to-end moving company,” he said. That includes both local and long-distance moves, and even those times where you have a project around the house that just requires some extra hands.
These additional options have allowed more than 20 percent of Bellhops customers to use the service multiple times a year, an uncommon occurrence in the $18 billion moving market.
Though Bellhops does not release its revenue figures, they say they saw a revenue increase of 150 percent in 2018.
“Moving is one of the biggest industries that has yet to be reimagined for the digital age, but Bellhops is well on its way to redefining the market,” said Courtney Robinson, Partner at Advance Venture Partners, which led the Series C round. Other investors were Canaan Partners, Initialized Capital, Lerer Hippeau Ventures and Nashville Capital Network .
Kyle Miller, Bellhops Director of Communications, tells Hypepotamus they plan to increase their employee count from 122 to about 250. That will include growth in Chattanooga, as well as growing their presence in an Atlanta office. They’re hiring for an Atlanta-based Market Manager now.
Miller says the choice of Atlanta was due to its proximity to headquarters, as well as its status as one of the company’s busiest markets. The office will employ anywhere from 15-30.