GGV Capital gave this real estate startup founder a term sheet 48 hours after the meeting – TechCrunch

Kingdom, which aims to help homeowners maximize the value of their property with its data platform, has raised $ 12 million in Series A funds led by GGV Capital.

Existing backers Primary Venture Partners, Lerer Hippeau and Liberty Mutual Strategic Ventures also participated in the round, bringing the total raised from the New York-based startup to $ 15 million.

Liz Young founded Realm, launching the platform earlier this year with the goal of providing “a one-stop-shop for affordable, practical advice for the home.”

So far, Realm says it has helped more than 20,000 homeowners “discover” an average of $ 175,000 in property value. Its user base grows 20% month over month.

What makes the company different from other appraisal offerings, according to Young, is that instead of telling homeowners how much their homes are worth today, Realm can tell them how much their home could be worth after renovations in the months and years to come. .

“There are a lot of tools and services that make it easy to buy or sell your home, but once you move in, it’s a total black box,” he said. “You’re left trying to improvise fragmented, often biased resource tips to navigate important and expensive decisions. Nowhere else do consumers spend so much money, with so little actionable information. “

For example, using data pulled from a variety of sources, such as tax advisers and its own users, Realm can do things like tell a landlord in real time how the value of their property will change if they do things like renovate a bathroom or add a new one. . platform. Its algorithms can evaluate a property and offer advice on which projects are most likely to add value.

“The public data we acquire, the data we ingest from users, and the data we build ourselves have allowed us to build the most robust and unique set of actionable real estate data in the US,” Young told TechCrunch.

The Realm database is free and, according to Young, provides information on more than 70 million detached single-family homes in the US.

Part of that is determined by zoning data, which tells people where they can and cannot build on a property.

“It really matters because square footage is one of the biggest drivers of home value,” Young said. “So if you’re trying to understand how much a home is or could be worth, you really need to understand the local zoning rules.”

Image credits: Kingdom

Realm’s market offering, where an advisor connects homeowners with contractors, architects and lenders who can carry out the company’s recommendations, is currently only available in California, but will expand into new markets over the next 12 months.

“People can digitally consume our knowledge for free, but many want help interpreting it,” Young said.

The company plans to use its new capital to “improve the quality and sophistication of the platform’s data insights” and to hire all of its data science, engineering, marketing and operations teams. It will also continue to develop its proprietary data sets and models, which offer homeowners across the country a personalized analysis of more than 70 million homes.
Much of Realm’s business relies on its relationships with agents and word of mouth through its existing user base.

Jeff Richards, GGV Managing Partner and new Realm board member, said that when his firm endorses the Series A level, its bet is “100% on the founder.”

“I met Liz when she was breeding her seed round in July 2020 and was blown away,” he told TechCrunch. “She is smart, ambitious and has a lot of experience in the space she is looking for. Even though it was early, I realized that I was thinking big. “

Founder and CEO Liz Young. Image credits: Kingdom

He notes that GGV Capital, with $ 2.5 billion in assets under management, is a long-time investor in other technologies such as Opendoor, Divvy Homes, Belong and Airbnb.

“Zillow made it easy for people to find a home to buy. Opendoor made it easy to buy and sell a home, ”Richards told TechCrunch. “Airbnb made it easy to rent a house for a short vacation. Belong makes it easy to rent a house for the long term. “

Realm, according to Richards, was right in the “sweet spot” for GGV.

“No one has focused on helping the individual homeowner manage their home, and that’s the area of ​​opportunity that Liz is looking for,” he said. “We stayed in touch after the seed round, she pinged me to talk about her A, we got together and I gave her a term sheet 48 hours later.”

Overall, Richards believes that residential real estate is one of the largest expense categories in the US, and yet it is still largely unaffected by technology.

Home sales exceed $ 1.6 trillion annually, home improvement is one of the largest categories in the U.S. At over $ 500 billion annually, and the The average home renovation project in the US is around $ 15,000, and many spend more than $ 50,000.

“I have owned a home for 17 years and almost everything I do about the house is the same as it was more than a decade ago. The only thing that has really changed is that I can manage my thermostat and cameras with my phone, ”said Richards. “Literally everything else is the same: the way I do renovations, the way I find contractors to do repairs, the way I pay my mortgage, etc., exactly the same. That’s ridiculous! Liz sees a great opportunity here, and so do we. The market is huge. So there will be many, many winners. “

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