We are on episode #06 of Custom Made and I’m talking with Justin Crandall, co-founder and CEO of lawn care company Robin Autopilot. Robin Autopilot is on a mission to disrupt the multi-billion dollar lawn care industry by delivering a better customer experience through modern technology, oh and bringing robots to your home - can't forget the robots!
Robin is the second company to come out of Dialexa Labs, our internal incubator here at Dialexa - the first company was connected car platform, Vinli, which you can hear more about in episode #3 of Custom Made when I sat down with Vinli CEO Mark Haidar.
Here are a couple of facts about the lawn care industry that you may not be aware of:
- It is a multi-billion industry in the US, with no clear national, or even regional, lawn care leader - which makes for an interesting business opportunity.
- Other than the mowing and lawn care equipment, technology has never been part of the user experience.
And speaking of the equipment:
- Just one hour of mowing emits as much pollution as 11 hours in your car.
- One gas mower spews 87 lbs. of the greenhouse gas CO2, and 54 lbs. of other pollutants into the air every year.
- Over 17 million gallons of gas are spilled each year refueling lawn and garden equipment – more oil than was spilled by the Exxon Valdez.
All of these points led to Robin, and it’s evolution over the past three years. In 2015 Justin and his co-founder Bart Lomont launched an Uber-for-Lawns business that grew to $5 million in just 2 years. In that short time they completed more than 100,000 lawn care jobs and also experienced every challenge you can imagine, from truck breakdowns, to crew members that don’t show up for work, to unprecedented amounts of rain.
Also, because of this growth, they were now also a big contributor to one of the greatest sources of pollution in the United States - dirty, gas-powered lawn equipment.
This caused Justin, Bart and their team to pause and look at this problem - there must be a solution they could bring to market. Today Robin is the first of its kind Robotics as a Service offering for your lawn that has competed at TechCrunch Disrupt’s Startup Battlefield:
and Shark Tank:
During our conversation, Justin shares the full story of Robin, how they brought custom products and technology to an industry ripe for disruption, and how their business came to an inflection point last year as to which path and offering they wanted to focus their passions and business on.
You can catch Justin's full Custom Made episode here:
Here are some of the memorable moments from Justin's episode of Custom Made:
- The current lawn care landscape and business opportunity
- The original concept of Robin
- The scaling of Robin across each city
- Enter the robots - robotic lawnmowers and TechCrunch Disrupt
- Going all in on robots - a decision to made
- Shark Tank debut and franchising to scale
- Advice to entrepreneurs
And, if you prefer to listen on the go, you can get all episodes of Custom Made on these platforms and many more. Do subscribe on your favorite platform to catch each episode as it is released, and let me know any feedback, questions, and recommendations on twitter @dougplatts.
I hope you enjoy this episode!
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