SOURCE: Fountain

Fountain

March 02, 2015 20:00 ET

Fountain iOS App Gives You the Confidence to Solve Any Home & Garden Problem -- Instantly

App Connects Homeowners and Renters to Highly-Rated Professionals Through Live Video Chat

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwired - Mar 2, 2015) - Need something fixed, or advice on a home-improvement or gardening project? Hate paying big bucks and hanging around to have experts over to your home just to see what's wrong and give you an estimate? The iOS smartphone app Fountain (http://www.fountain.com) launches today, allowing you to connect instantly via video chat with pre-qualified home and garden professionals, whenever you want, at $7 for 15 minutes.

Download the Fountain app in the iOS app store here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/fountain-live-expert-help/id965520707?ls=1&mt=8 

Fountain is for busy homeowners and renters who are looking to get household projects done faster, cut costs and feel empowered with the DIY skills they learn in the process. Until Fountain, there were two main options for tackling unfamiliar home and garden projects: Incur the expensive cost of hiring a professional to come out and do the job, or spend hours researching online and watching online "how-to" videos.

By contrast, a live, two-way interactive conversation on Fountain provides far more value -- and is often much faster -- than endless web searching. Whether it's a simple problem like a leaky faucet, or a ballpark estimate for a bathroom renovation, Fountain can help users handle these issues with the live guidance of a professional. By simply asking Fountain a question in plain English, the app immediately connects to a highly-rated home or garden professional who can help via 1-on-1 video chat, texting and photo-sharing.

"Fountain was borne out my frustration as a new homeowner -- so many things needed to be fixed or updated, but I had no idea where to start," said Aaron Patzer, co-founder and CEO, Fountain. "The Internet is great for answering basic questions, but often falls short for anything personal or contextual, like home projects. You need to talk to a real person -- or, better yet, show them. A picture's worth a thousand words, and a 1:1 video chat with a live professional is worth even more."

Putting Fountain to Work

Fountain provides a seamless, simple experience for both consumers and home and garden professionals:

  • For users:
    • After simply speaking or typing any question into the search field, users are automatically matched to the right kind of professional who can coach them through their issue
    • Once matched with a professional, the user can choose between a video chat or regular voice call to start the conversation. They can share photos, use video or audio of their exact issue via the app to give the professional more context or help to describe hard-to-explain problems
    • At $7 per 15 minutes, users can speak to an architect, interior designer, electrician, appliance specialist, plumber, pool pro, flooring expert, master gardener, general contractor, and more
    • Additional features include conversation archiving (search past conversations, including text, photos and products recommended; option to re-connect with that same professional for future projects); enhanced texting and web browsing during a live call with a professional; flashlight capability for showing hard-to-see issues under foundations or kitchen sinks
  • For professionals:
    • After being vetted and approved by Fountain, they set their hours, explain their skills, and enter billing info. In less than 5 minutes, they're open for business!
    • Professionals receive alerts through the app whenever a question matches their skill set, but questions go to multiple professionals at the same time, so they have to act fast to be the first one to accept the user's question
    • When a professional accepts a question, they are connected directly to the user to start offering 1-on-1 help. They can show users what to do using live video or pictures -- they can even draw on photos to point to specific areas of the user's house or garden
    • When the consultation is done, professionals are paid via ACH or PayPal.

How Does Fountain Do It?
Drawing upon deep expertise in artificial intelligence and algorithms, Fountain's engineering team created its own natural language processing system, which enables users to ask questions in plain English -- without knowing technical or industry terms. To find the right professional, the app draws upon Fountain's proprietary "skills graph," which is a statistical analysis of how 50,000 discrete human skills are interrelated. The skills graph helps match the right professional to the right user question, even if the exact skill needed is not mentioned. For example, the system implicitly knows that faucets, pipes, and drains are all related to plumbing.

"Of course, our ambition is far beyond home and garden," said Patzer. "The wider goal of Fountain is a new type of search: plain English typed or spoken is understood, and the requester is connected instantly to the person most qualified to answer and assist. We are using artificial intelligence in the service of connecting to the most powerful intelligence: another human."

The Fountain app, which was officially unveiled today at the LAUNCH Festival start-up competition in front of 10,000+ attendees, was co-founded by Patzer, founder and former CEO of Mint.com (sold to Intuit in 2009 for $170M), and Jean Sini, formerly the CTO of One Kings Lane and VP of Data Aggregation for Mint.com. Fountain has raised $4 million in funding from Shasta Ventures and First Round Capital.

About Fountain
Fountain helps people solve any problem around their home by connecting them with highly rated professionals over video chat. Experts walk users through almost any home repair or remodeling project with just basic tools, using live video, photo sharing, or text messaging. With a wait time averaging under two minutes, and a cost of $7 per 15 minutes, Fountain is the fastest -- and most economical -- way to solve home issues indoors and outside.

For more information, please visit www.fountain.com 

Contact Information

  • PR Contact:
    Kate Chesnut
    Grayling PR for Fountain
    Email Contact
    P: (408) 218-0737