How a summer project to help the family business turned into a $220M company

John Siegel

ServiceTitan co-founder Ara Mahdessian came to the United States when he was two years old. Like many immigrants, his father took a number of odd jobs to support his family before ultimately settling with a modest plumbing company. He earned enough money to send his son to Stanford, putting him on a familiar trajectory to end up with a swanky job somewhere in Silicon Valley.  

But after finishing school, Mahdessian and his co-founder Vahe Kuzoyan decided to put their combined computer science knowledge to the test and build a software that would help people like their parents — blue collar, small business owners — better manage their businesses.

They had no idea their summer project would turn into ServiceTitan, a company that today has raised nearly $100 million in funding.

“We thought this would be a summer project of sorts; build something, give it to our parents and walk away and go find jobs at a Google or a Facebook,” said Mahdessian. “But it just started getting referred left and right, and at one point we realized we had a real business with real customers and we couldn’t just walk away."

It didn’t take long for folks to notice. William Hsu, a co-founder and managing partner of Mucker Capital who had previously served as head of product for Yellow Pages, knew all too well the enormity of the home services industry. Soon, ServiceTitan joined the Mucker accelerator and was introduced to the public as a part of the program’s third cohort.

With a seed round courtesy of Mucker Capital, Mahdessian and Kuzoyan focused solely on building out the company’s software — something Mahdessian admitted might not be the best business advice for young entrepreneurs.

“Vahe and I have never really been focused on the financial outcomes of the business,” he said. “It's probably terrible business advice, but the only thing we have been focused on was building the best product possible that helps the customers become successful and realize their dreams.”

The founders’ approach paid off. In June 2014, the company closed a $18.96 million Series A based on a $100 million valuation from Bessemer Venture Partners. This, along with the continuous flow of input from customers both large and small, allowed the team to continue to scale.

While many founders have a difficult time relinquishing control of day-to-day tasks they’re so used to doing, Mahdessian said he has no such issues.

“My job changes every six months because, during that time period, there's a brand new layer of management,” he said. “What's really allowed for all of this to happen is our exceptional leadership team. I just help to set the direction of the company and the vision. I hand out towels and some Gatorade along the way, maybe a few pats on the back for all the hard work they do, and stay out of the way as much as possible.”

In March, ServiceTitan closed a monster $80 million Series B. Mahdessian said the company has about 250 employees, with plans to breach 300 by year's end. Though there’s still a lot to be done, Mahdessian said he still finds time to pause and reflect.

“Every once in a while, either my dad or Vahe's dad will come and visit the office, and because there's so much growth and so much change, they're totally shocked by how different things are,” he said. “The tears start rolling down their eyes, and those moments are when I finally realized how far we've come."

 

Images via ServiceTitan.

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