Block Renovation wants to be a part of every home renovation in America after raising $50 million in Series C funding led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2.
The New York-based company is carving out its piece of the $450 billion U.S. home renovation market with its homeowner and contractor tool to digitize and simplify the home renovation experience, which is definitely an experience if you’ve ever tried even the simplest of changes to your home.
Block Renovation co-founder Koda Wang told TechCrunch that half of all homebuyers are now under the age of 36 and that 87% of them hire a professional for their renovation versus trying to tackle some of the projects themselves.
“The current status of home renovation is abysmal,” he added. “Homeowners hire two guys and a van and pray because they don’t know what the project will look like, how much it will cost or how long it will take.”
After studying the contractor side, the company found it wasn’t much better: Most contractors enjoy the work they are doing, but also have to be small business owners, which means knowing how to do sales, marketing, billing and procurement, which they have to start from scratch with each project, Wang said.
As people’s expectations for consumer experiences are higher than before, Block Renovation “productizes” home renovation by packaging everything together for both the homeowner and contractor, then providing a way for the contractor and homeowner to communicate with each other at every step of the project. The contractor can even take photos of each step of the project and provide a progress update so the homeowner can see how it is going.
In addition, homeowners don’t often have the data of how much it costs for renovation, especially if they decide to move something like a light, or add a wall, Wang said.
“We’ve taken that on for them by accumulating data points and giving them an estimate within 5% to 10% accuracy,” he added.
Joining SoftBank in the round are existing investors Giant Ventures, NEA, Morningside and Lerer Hippeau. Other investors in the round included Obvious Ventures, Rainfall Ventures, Firstminute Capital, BoxGroup, SV Angel and a group of individual investors, including interior designer Kelly Wearstler, designer Ann Sacks, Opendoor co-founder and CEO Eric Wu, Angi CEO Oisin Hanrahan and Zillow co-founder Spencer Rascoff.
The latest investment gives the company a total of $104 million in venture funding since the company was founded by Wang and Luke Sherwin in 2018.
Things are moving fast for Block Renovation, with the company “doubling and tripling” its growth metrics over the past year, Wang said. The latest round comes just four months after the company announced a $40 million Series B round, led by Giant Ventures, added Los Angeles to its list of markets and rolled out its kitchen remodeling feature — it started with bathrooms — as well as free software, services and data for contractors.
Wang said the Series C round was not something the company had actively sought out, but the company was eager to work with Lydia Jett, partner at SoftBank Investment Advisors, who had previously invested in Coupang and Flipkart, and whom Forbes described as having the “largest cash-returning position for a woman startup investor.”
“The rise of working from home has sparked an increased interest in home improvement projects but many customers are put off by the complexity and cost. “Jett said in a written statement. “Block Renovation is reimagining this process with a simplified and transparent digital platform that spans from planning to build. We are delighted to be partnering with Koda and Luke to support them in making home renovations more predictable and accessible.”