Role: Cofounder, Lead Developer, User Experience Lead

Company:–A marketplace for local services. Thumbtack helps you find handymen, dog walkers, house cleaners, and even firebreathers. Founded in 2008,  Thumbtack serves over 250,000 service providers.

When: 2008-2010

Thumbtack from Thumbtack on Vimeo.

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From the very beginning, we knew that the user experience would make or break our business. Our business model was based on removing friction from the process of finding and hiring service providers.

As the only technical founder,I created the prototype and MVP working closely with an outside firm for graphic design. I designed all of the user pathways, including sign-up and negotiation, between buyers and sellers. I also created workflow interfaces for our Philippine-based customer service operation.

Over two years, I hired and managed a team of six. I moved from a developer role into a product management role with a focus on making the site more usable and optimizing the conversion rates of key pathways.

My team developed:

  • An architecture to support hundreds of thousands of service providers and millions of pictures, videos, and contacts.
  • A geographically aware (using PostGIS) search engine for services.
  • Matching algorithms to connect service providers with consumers.
  • An admin site that provided statistics, data mining, communication, and workflow tools to marketing and customer service, including over 100 staff overseas.
  • An SEO strategy that resulted in a 20x increase in organic search traffic in the span of one year.
  • A mailing infrastructure supporting tens of thousands of daily e-mails.

Notable Investors

  • Sequoia Capital
  • Javelin Venture Partners
  • Scott Banister and Cyan Banister: Founder of IronPort, Founder of Zivity
  • Vance Bjorn: Founder & CTO of DigitalPersona
  • Mark Britto: Founder & CEO of Boku; Former SVP, Worldwide Sales & Services of Amazon
  • Jason Calacanis: Founder of WebBlogs & Mahalo
  • Yan-David Erlich: Founder & CEO of ChoiceVendor
  • Mark Goines: Former SVP of Consumer at Intuit; Former board member of Mint
  • Denis Grosz: Founder of Conjecture
  • Auren Hoffman: Founder & CEO of RapLeaf
  • Ali Partovi and Hadi Partovi: Co-founder of LinkExchange, Co-founder of iLike
  • Joshua Schachter: Founder of Delicious


About the author

Jeremy Tunnell
By Jeremy Tunnell


I am a startup founder, investor, mentor, and zouk dancer.
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