Local Startup Spotlight #2: MinuteBids



MinuteBids Do you own commercial real-estate or manage commercial property?

Probably not – but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be paying attention to local Minnesota web startup minutebids.com and the brains behind it: Jon Coudron, Jeremy Raadt, Jerad Parish, and Seth Heiserman.

Minutebids is a free service for property owners/managers that saves them time by streamlining the process of obtaining multiple bids from reputable local service providers for property maintenance needs. Think lawn-care, snow removal, parking lot maintenance, landscaping, etc.

Of course there already are established players in this space, notably servicemagic.com (turn your speakers down) & servicelive.com – owned by IAC & Sears holding corp, respectively. Yet minutebids has some unique competitive advantages that, when added together, make it a compelling alternative:

  • A focus on commercial property: neither service is clearly targeting commercial property owners/managers.
  • Pay for performance model vs. pay per lead model: service providers only pay for bona-fide, actionable, and closed leads – contrary to the pricing model of the other two.
  • Service wizard with Microsoft Virtual Earth integration through the Bing Map API: This allows RFP’s to be uploaded/submitted painlessly and for service providers to bid projects online, in real time, without having to do a site visit/walk through. The competition doesn’t even come close to this feature.
  • A short, professional, and effective video tutorial: From a user-experience perspective, this is a brilliant feature that both servicemagic & servicelive lack.

Minutebids has gone from concept, through R&D, to their recent beta launch (mid July) in less than six months and they’ve clearly established themselves as “better than the rest”. Their next step is to work directly with local service providers and property owners/managers to iron out any kinks, listen & lean from said users, and otherwise evolve as they prepare for their nation-wide roll-out campaign.

Time is of the essence as minutebids must close-in on the incumbents before they discover the minutebids difference for themselves, and thus potentially implement the very same featuresets/technologies that minutebids is differentiating itself by. This is a common challenge faced by any startup that’s not first to market, and in this case, I’d place my bets on the startup side with consideration to drive and agility. Plus: how do you re-engineer your pricing model in the middle of the game if you’re servicemagic or servicelive? Remember, the primary differentiating factor is the minutebids pay for performance approach to lead generation- a fundamental difference.

According to co-founder Jon Coudron, the market for commercial RE services is at-least a 40 billion/year industry and he’s not shy about his ambitions:

“We want to dominate this market segment and want to talk if you think you can help us”

-Right on Jon…Right on!