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Startup on the Prairies with Junkr: causing disruption as a solo entrepreneur

October 21, 2020
 • 
3 min

Startup on the Prairies profiles emerging tech companies and their founders. We highlight startups we've worked with, learning more about the entrepreneurial journey, market opportunity and how we've supported the launch and growth of innovative companies from the Canadian Prairies.

Over the past few months, we’ve worked closely with Medicine Hat-based Mike Reinheller, founder of junk removal startup Junkr, to launch his app and bring Mike's vision to market. We chatted with him to reflect on the experience.

Q: What is the market opportunity for junk removal in Canada? How is Junkr different from other junk removal companies or marketplaces like Kijiji?

A: Junk happens all the time. Stuff breaks, people move, downsize, declutter, do renos, etc, so there’s a big market opportunity for junk removal within Canada. In fact, 275,000 trips were made to the Calgary landfills in the first 8 months of 2020, and that doesn’t include city dump trucks! 

Junkr is different from any other company because it flips the business model on its head. Traditionally, you’re quoted a price to have your junk removed, but with Junkr, you set the price. You simply post your junk and someone picks it up. It’s easier, faster, and cheaper. 

A: What are the barriers you've overcome launching Junkr and being a solo entrepreneur?

There will always be naysayers and when you’re pursuing your idea alone, it’s easy to sometimes believe them. But when you see someone light up after you share your idea with them and they “get it”, you know you have something special and you can’t stop until you bring it to life. 

There isn’t a huge tech community in my hometown of Medicine Hat, so I have built my team out of Calgary. Sometimes it’s a challenge with travel and virtual meetings, but we make it work and we’re having fun with it. 

Q: What have you learned from launching a two-sided marketplace app, including supply and demand, and pricing considerations?

A: The “Chicken and Egg” dilemma is definitely a thing. We have been successful in quickly building up the Driver side of the app, which fosters price competition and speedy pickups. Our challenge is building awareness, educating the market, and getting households and businesses to post that junk. 

Q: Why is it important to consider psychographic behaviours and develop key customer personas before you go to market?

A: Studying human behaviour helps you understand how people currently solve their problems, and how your product can simplify that process. Honestly, the first demos we set out with were “person trying to declutter the home” and “person with a truck looking to make some extra cash”, but it has evolved to much more than that. 

We now have realtors, property managers, storage facilities, construction companies and more. Everyone has junk and wants an easier way to remove it.  

Q: What value has Harvest been able to provide you with for Junkr's launch?

A: Harvest has been a massive help in giving my startup instant credibility, validation, and support. The performance marketing team has given me the confidence to know that we have the best people to give my startup its best shot to break out as a disruptor. 

Q: What are your future plans for building a founding team? Any key roles and skillsets you’re looking for? 

A: Once we start to scale and move into new markets, we will need in-house developers, customer service support and digital marketers. We will need team players that believe in the vision and share the passion for change and growth.  

Harvest has helped Junkr with its go-to-market strategy and successfully launched its app. Junkr is now available for download to meet all your junk removal needs. If you’re looking to make some extra cash, join Junkr as a Driver.

To learn more about how Harvest can help your startup with go-to-market strategy and support, check out our Growth Services page and complete the inquiry form.


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