By Evan Vitale
A Chattanooga, Tennessee startup has raised $13.5 million in venture capital – the largest one-time VC capital investment of any Chattanooga startup company.
And it has nothing to do with technology; medical; devices or apps.
“Bellhops” uses approximately 8,000 college students, who are employed as independent contractors, to help consumers move household goods and furniture in 88 cities across the United States. About 4,500 of those students are working activity as moves are ordered through a web-based, on-demand service.
The company is the brainchild of Auburn University grads Stephen Vlahos and Cameron Doody who started Bellhops in 2011.
Bellhops gained initial funding of $6 million in November 2014 from the Lamp Post Group in Chattanooga. Recently, Canaan Partners, a Westport, Conn.-based investment fund helped arrange the most recent round of venture funding to help the growing company add more staff and enter more markets. The recent funding including Lowercase Capital, Bullet Time Capital and Binary Capital.
Currently, Bellhops employs approximately 65 employees at its 12,000-square-foot rented headquarters in Warehouse Row in Chattanooga and provides a unique, lower-cost moving option.
While revenue numbers weren’t disclosed, Doody says Bellhops has been growing five-fold every year. The two original owners will maintain majority ownership and the company plans to stay and grow in Chattanooga.
Bellhops offers a variety of moving services and charges an hourly rate. The firm doesn’t own any trucks, but supplies the labor to help others move with their own or rented trucks.
Bellhops won the Chattanooga “Spirit of Innovation” award in 2014 from the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce. You can visit its website at https://getbellhops.com/.