There is an expression: "Jack of all trades, master of none."
What it means is, you can be good at a lot of things, but it's better to the best at just one. This is commonly used to describe people, but it can apply to companies as well. While it may sometimes be a good thing for a business to cater to a large community, there are times when that company would actually be better served by focusing on one aspect of their business. That way it can become the best at that one thing, and become the go to place for customers who want it.
Online rental marketplace Getable has taken this expression to heart, and has decided to undergo a complete overhaul, announcing Wednesday that it is rebranding itself as a company which will only be focusing on a single vertical: dealing exclusively in renting out tools and equipment to contractors and construction companies.
At the same time, the company announced that it hired a new CTO and closed its second financing round, worth $1.8 million, bringing its total funding to $3.2 million. The company is backed by Andreessen Horowitz, Founder Collective, Promus Ventures and Chris Sacca of Lowercase Capital.
Getable will be using these funds to hire five new engineers and build up capabilities for its new iPhone tool and equipment app. As Getable builds up this new market, other categories will be phased out.
The new app will connect contractors to rental companies, allowing them to see what equipment is available, from where, and for how much in real time, thereby helping to solve some of the abundant inefficiencies in the tool and equipment rental category, Getable co-founder and CEO Tim Hyer said in an interview with me.
For example, 80% of rentals are needed in the next 12 hours, meaning that many are urgent orders. Instead of having to call a lot of different places to find if the equipment is ready, and how much it costs, Getable's app will streamline the process and cut down on the time it takes to get the equipment.
The app will also help the contractors get in touch with rental companies about removing the equipment. Contractors often keep equipment for 15 days longer than they need it, Hyer said. By returning it earlier, it will save them thousands of dollars.
There are a number of reasons that Getable decided to focus exclusively on tools and equipment, not least of which is that it was the category that was already seeing the strongest traction on Getable.
When the company launched a product this past summer that was designed to help companies manage their retail inventory, and to handle the rental reservations, Getable found that the tool and equipment vertical was its biggest category. The company has already seen $10 million in transactions, Hyer told me.
There are also the possibilities within the industry itself, as the tools and equipment industry is growing fast. Right now it represents $32 billion, and projected to reach $46 billion by 2016.
On top of that, construction is a great target for mobile. According to Hyer, they are always on the go, and never in front of a computer. In fact, construction was out in front of mobile a decade ago, using push-to-talk and Nextel walkie talkies,
"It was the first mobile workforce," Hyer said.
Getable’s new construction rental app for iPhone is currently in pre-alpha mode, and the company is working with both national construction firms, and national rental companies, that have locations in San Francisco.
Ultimately, the company would like to launch verticals in other rental categories, including party and rental, which is an $8 billion industry, and sports and recreation, a $1 billion industry, Hyer says. But that will come after it has learned to master the tool and equipment vertical first.
A new CTO
To help facilitate this move, Getable hired Mikeal Rogers as its new CTO. Rogers has held positions at OSAF, Mozilla, CouchOne and Yammer, in addition to founding his own startup, called Gather.
"Mike has built a company from scratch, so he knows the challenges," Hyer said. "It takes a special person who can thrive in a start up. And that's Mike."
Another reason that Rogers is a good fit, Hyer said, is that a big part of the CTO's job is to manage a team, and Rogers has experience running a high caliber engineering team.
Founded in 2009 Getable started life out as Rentcycle before rebranding itself as Getable in March 2012, was originally a search engine for finding things for user to rent, everything rom tuxedos, to camping gear to jackhammers.