CEO and Co-founder of Zippity, Ed Warren, and his team are changing the game for field service software, giving operators an all-in-one platform they can run from their phone — while giving customers a modern, on-demand experience.
Ed Warren and Russ Walker were fed up with the hassle of basic car maintenance.
The two MBA students at Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business shared countless miserable automotive experiences: long hours spent waiting in the shop, ambiguity around maintenance costs and an overall feeling of being powerless.
In 2017, Warren and Walker decided to do something about it, launching Zippity, a mobile service garage that provided basic car maintenance services to people — right in their employers’ parking lots. The company reached a $1 million revenue run rate and was just beginning to scale when the COVID-19 pandemic arrived, wiping out its in-person services business.
But that did not kill the company. In fact, Warren sensed a new, even better opportunity emerging.
Zippity sold the services business and doubled down on its SaaS platform. Nearly all of the company’s services were booked online, and it had over 2,000 five-star reviews and a 92 net promoter score. So Warren pivoted, launching a customer engagement platform for small and medium-size automotive service providers in January 2021. This year, fueled by its $3.3 million seed round, the company is expanding to the in-home services market, with more target industries on the horizon.
Let’s learn a little more about Ed’s evolutionary path as a founder, and the impressive work his team at Zippity is doing to transform the way Field Services are delivered.
How did your extensive background support the foundation for Zippity?
I developed my love for precise execution during my time as a former US Air Force Nuclear Weapons Officer. It was an intense role but it taught me that building the right systems could achieve outstanding results. It set a high bar for professionalism with a winning combination of operations and civic engagement.
Pair that service with a drive to elevate consumer experiences, and you have the genesis for Zippity. We quickly discovered that no platform existed for delivering super modern customer experiences while on the go. So we built it. We took an antiquated industry — car maintenance and repair — and put a modern spin on it. It’s that combination of operations, civic engagement, and consumer experiences that I’m proud to put into the ethos of Zippity.
How has typical field service software fallen behind?
The field service space is crowded. There is good software, but it has typically been built for large companies – the 50 person plumbing and electrician shops with a dedicated back office staff to answer phones, manage calendars, and deploy technicians in a very manually intensive process.
We see a real opportunity to serve owner-operators ini the field service space who need to run a modern business from their phone, because they’re in the field themselves. It’s really hard to run a customer-centric business from your phone while working on a car, and you need specific software to do that.
Very little is being done to help these businesses with modern online booking, drive time reduction, customer management, automated chat, payment collection, or the other tools necessary to deliver amazing customer service while in the field. We’re excited to be trailblazing that effort.
You’ve started out with automotive mobile service for owners-operators, but is there the opportunity to support other field service industries?
Absolutely. The process has already started. We saw the success coming out of the on-site car service vertical, so we felt confident we could put this in the hands of small businesses in other cleaning and light maintenance industries. We are confident about this expansion because the fundamental challenge – running a modern small business from the field – is shared by operators in these other verticals.
We know the men and women who run these small businesses are some of the hardest workers around, but they need help with things like scheduling, invoicing, and customer interactions. The home service space, including services such as power washing, carpet cleaning, chimney sweeps, and more, are dependent on software that allows them to run their entire business in the palm of their hand.
What is the culture like at Zippity?
It’s a huge testament to the team that we’ve been able to successfully pivot from a service provider to a SaaS platform with minimal turnover during a pandemic. It’s a reflection of how well-rounded our employees are and how much they strive to deliver an outstanding product.
The defining characteristic of our team culture is collaboration. When you have a group of people dedicated to a singular mission and willing to set aside personal ego to make it happen, it’s easier to grow, adapt, and scale effectively.
As a founder, what would you say has been your biggest lesson during the ups and downs of building a startup?
Mentorship matters to personal growth. When I reflect on my founder journey, I see how I handled the overwhelming situations and surrounded myself with people who are better in certain areas than I am. It’s a fulfilling feeling, and I credit loyal mentors throughout the process as being the difference makers. They’re the people who have their own successful careers, but put their time and mentorship into investing in your vision. Their feedback and guidance is where I saw personal and professional growth. I look forward to paying it forward for rising entrepreneurs.
What’s something the Zippity community might not know about you?
Well, I love big adventures in the outdoors – things like backcountry skiing, ice climbing, and alpine speed ascents. That involves risk but it has taught me how to manage those risks and control what you can control. It’s important as a founder to let go of the things that can potentially overwhelm or distract you and instead focus on the things you can successfully achieve immediately. Limiting unhealthy distractions helps you succeed in dangerous environments in the backcountry – and in the start-up world.