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Jack Huntress, CEO & Founder of HomeBinder, "Chainsaw Jack"


Invest Alongside Boston's Top Angels: Link to Our Syndicates Page Action Jack Barker move over! Chainsaw Jack Huntress is the real deal. CEOs don’t get more dynamic than this geologist turned founder. Jack's startup, HomeBinder offers invaluable tools to help homeowners manage and record work done on their most valuable asset. It’s getting real traction via home inspectors eager to help home buyers. Breaking News: HomeBinder is in Techstars! Special mention in this episode:  Ed Hosepian and Dean Kahr. Thanks for your generous help in the purchase of the big, dilapidated house in Cambridge. Guys, you were right! Jack Huntress trained as a geologist and geophysicist then worked as a consultant for decades. Acted as an intrapreneur in building a new practice at an existing firm. No Conjoined Triangles of Success for this Jack – he’s a truly action-prone CEO. How “Chainsaw Jack” got his name. Story told by super angel and CEO whisperer Joe Caruso (Link to Joe Caruso Episode Page) Jack’s owned a bunch of homes including one built in the 1700s. Having been orphaned at an early age he had to come up to speed fast on home maintenance. Homeowner is more like a home steward. Lack of continuity on home maintenance information. HomeBinder solves that problem. Jack bought a house from an owner who had a binder with loads of details about the house including paint colors, receipts for work done, warranties and manuals. This gave Jack the idea for HomeBinder. We homeowners did not have a good way to keep information about the home before HomeBinder. Proactive home maintenance rather than reactive. For the most valuable asset homeowners own, their house. Home inspectors create binder for homeowner, making their life easier. Integrated into home inspection software. Someday, you won’t buy a house without a HomeBinder report. Sal thanks Jack for helping in a crucial moment in the purchase of big dilapidated house in Cambridge. Thank you, Ed and Dean! Getting tens of thousands of HomeBinders set up by home inspectors. Need to enlist other players in the home buying process to grow even faster. Building valuable data on the home. Can tell you about the electricians and plumbers who will show up. Really important! Biggest complaint for plumbers & electricians is that they don’t call you back. Career advice for your kid who’s handy but not a great student. Get the kid into the trades; they’re not going away! HomeBinder is like a drip campaign for the home inspectors in helping inspectors stay in touch with home owners. Sal reads inspiring review from listener Andy_C_B. He points out an underappreciated objective of the podcast, to inspire young people to take on big challenges. Please leave a review on iTunes. Jack’s pivot. Thought real estate brokers were the best initial channel for HomeBinder. Discovered they were not. Real estate agents actually do few transactions per year compared to home inspectors. Average home inspector does 250 to 300 home per year. Home inspectors are ideally positioned to create the HomeBinder. Jack used to dodge managing people; he’s now embraced people management in his startup. Jack Huntress thinks people management can be greatly improved to the huge benefit of our economy. When you get a high-performing team it’s glorious. We should want to go to work. HomeBinder will be in Techstars Boston this year. Inspired by Clem Cazalot of Techstars to apply. Ideas are easy, getting it right is far more valuable than being the first to do something. There was Friendster, then there was My Space and then there was Facebook. Instant success that’s taken seven years. TED Talk by Bill Gross, a very useful way for angels and founders to spend seven minutes: ( CORRECTION: during the interview I mentioned Bill Gross, the bond genius. The Bill Gross I should have mentioned is the startup genius with the TED Talk linked above. The biggest factor for startup success is market timing, i.e. Lots of companies throw in the towel and a year later their market takes off. Why Jack decided to start a company. Jack was not a good fit at a large company; too impatient with things not being done right. First run at it was as an intrapreneur. Starting a company is like an itch. Like Jack’s need to build potato canons, trebuchets and the like. If you find yourself spending too much time on your hobby and too little time at work, you should take the hint that you’re in the wrong job. Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone was a ditherer but his future father in law was not. Filed patent on the telephone just hours prior to another person. Jack’s story about Arthur D. Little & Co. Invented synthetic penicillin, color contact lenses, inkjet printing etc. Sold at a fire sale. Biggest obstacle was raising money. Bootstrapped for four years. Jack read his family into the business he was founding, yet being a startup CEO has been a very lonely experience. Techstars is a great place to find peers to talk to. Sal recommends finding a board member/investor that you can open up to. Jack Huntress’ parting thoughts: founders need to take care of themselves. Eat well, exercise and get enough sleep. Brings to mind wisdom of Brendan Schwartz that you can’t out hustle the competition, you can only out think them. How are you going to out think the competition if you’re exhausted from working twenty-hour days? Link to the Wistia Episode


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