NEWS: Startup That Helps the Elderly With Chores Opens Up $1M Seed Round. Neighboring Also Scores Contract With Laguna Woods Village…

A startup that enables students to do chores for seniors around the OC community has snagged a contract with a large senior housing community and is opening up a $1 million seed round.

Neighboring got the contract with United Mutual, which serves almost half of the Laguna Woods Village. That’s significant because it dovetails with the company’s strategy to mainly target senior communities (although it also serves young families and individuals), co-founder and CEO Josh Mundell said.

Laguna Woods has about 18,000 residents.

Neighboring has raised $55,000 to date. Its HQ is in Laguna Niguel – in the garage of co-founder and COO Rich Machesney, and very close to Laguna Woods.

How it Works
To gain the trust of anyone who uses its services, Neighboring does several background checks of the students it employs – national, state and county checks, as well as sex offender background checks and confirming that they are, in fact, registered college students who attend classes regularly.

Neighboring draws from local universities like CSUF, UCI and Concordia University, where Mundell studied.

It just launched a website that enables customers to set hourly rates or budgets for the chores they need done. The company provides guidelines for approximately how much those chores typically cost.

The website also enables students, for the first time, to manage everything online. Previously, it was all done by text or email, Mundell told OC Startups Now. Neighboring had tried to get everything on an online platform in the past, but couldn’t quite get it to work 100%, he added.

But using a platform called WebFlow facilitated the whole online process, he said.

Neighboring currently has two full-time employees, including Mundell, and an intern.

There’s about 150 college students on the platform. The goal is to increase that to around 550 students by the summer. The startup hopes to accomplish that by doing more partnerships with university clubs, to create pipelines within these schools.

It also has campus ambassadors, so if new students want to sign up to work through Neighboring, there’s someone on campus they can talk to, who’s already done that.

New users can get $5 off their first chore when they sign up.

What’s Next?
The next goal is to get into Laguna Woods’ sister property in Seal Beach, which happens to be near Long Beach City College, which would provide a new reservoir of students.

Making Ends Meet in OC
Mundell said the Neighboring team is committed to staying in OC. While they dove into this business with both feet, they encourage other young entrepreneurs to keep their PT or FT jobs, while they’re starting a business.

“We’re going to figure it out and live off our savings accounts,” Mundell said. “OC is very expensive.”

About The Author

Deirdre Newman is a long-time journalist, who's covered OC startups for a few years.

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