May 26, 2022

Weaver, a London-based marketplace and SaaS contract negotiation platform, has closed a $4 million seed round for national expansion, with contractors planning major redevelopment projects to match homeowners/architects.

The round was led by European venture capital BTOV Partners, which included FJ Labs, Enterprise Fund (a syndicate of former Atlassian and Docker executives) and Dr. Stephen Hetman (Founder and CEO of Moneypark and PriceHubble).

The startup, founded in 2017, previously raised $1.5 million in pre-funding from multiple angel investors, bringing the total to $5.5 million.

The Weaver platform matches homeowners and architects with suitable contractors (using algorithms), making it easy to get quotes and compare prices—without manual searches and the usual friction associated with contacting contractors.

It is also designed to support key communications during the contract negotiation/bidding process with built-in messaging, document sharing and on-site meeting scheduling. In this way, the platform acts as a centralized pipeline that keeps all parties informed and can be used to track compliance.

“We started out as two industry founders who were looking for a SaaS-friendly product/marketplace without any code, bootstrap, and minimal investment. We then invited two tech founders to join us in 2020 and it took about a year and a half for the product and market to fit the proprietary platform,” said co-founder and CEO Greg Keane, who now calls it a seed round. Why get

Contractors on the Weaver platform are manually vetted by startups before being admitted to the marketplace, where they are given the opportunity to bid on high-value projects.

They are also subject to ongoing Weaver audits to assess the quality of their performance and rule out any other issues, such as early signs of bankruptcy. Weavers also play the role of problem solvers in case problems arise during construction.

“Weaver addresses the fundamental problem of communication between homeowners and contractors in the following order: 1. Finding contractors they can trust and; 2. Build confidence in the value of renewal,” says Keen. “Then we will solve the problems 3. How to negotiate a contract and 4. Eliminate the risk of contractor bankruptcy with fully insured escrow payments.”

“Reconstruction projects are coordinated with contractors according to the algorithm,” he confirms. “We have also created the first true SaaS buying platform for home renovations, where users today can share information through messaging, document sharing and on-site meetings – we are here to kick-start the network effect we are working on.”

Manufacturing is a challenging area for startups, as it is not seen as a single consolidated market for rapid scaling, but as a series of separate sub-markets that may have their own workflows and suppliers (and often must comply with specific legal requirements).

But this multi-faceted landscape can create opportunities to leverage the nuance and expertise needed, applying expertise that can deliver a robust software-as-a-service offering.

In particular, Weaver is also targeting the high-end home renovation project segment, where the size of the project is large enough to generate revenue not only from rewarding the contractor for success, but also from the risk of making changes to all parties. is likely to increase, and centralized accountability will increase. So plan to borrow, for example, fully insured escrow payments for homeowners.

Other plans, the startup says, include adding an extra carrot for contractors in the form of faster payouts for seed funding, as well as moving the platform from a desktop cloud product to a mobile product where user participation needs to be taken into account. , including better alignment. The home renovation construction market share is the strongest.

It will also make greater use of the renovation price data it can collect to make it more useful to homeowners—through what Keane calls a “smart renovation pricing solution” that aims to help those users with their answer is “Better than prices”. Market. ,

“We are on our way to becoming the leader in renewal prices in our market and we believe that this will make us the optimal solution for renewal price indexation,” he suggested, adding that “we have plans to use this data . an algorithm that accurately calculates the budget and price of a home renovation, solving one of the biggest problems in the industry today. ,

The problem, he says, is that homeowners tend to have low budgets (by 10%-30%) because they calculate “on the back of the envelope” using standard multipliers taken from an approximate average. So if Weaver can provide “fast and accurate” pricing information for a particular project from the start, homeowners may be willing to pay for it because the data will give them the right amount before the larger project starts. or borrow (with all the risks and stresses that come with it), or even reconsider buying a home if it predates a certain type of renovation.

According to Keane, only minorities (40%) Homeowners use a traditional architect for a renovation project. Additionally, he suggests that architects should generally only bring in one contractor for every project they develop (“The word of mouth network of architects just isn’t big enough”), so Weaver wants to hit the ground running and build a house. therefore, they can be easily compared with the three most common ones. Quote. Receive. Would like to make sure they get market value for their project.

The startup is also partnering with third-party firms that create fixed-price architectural plans so they can offer their services to the roughly 60% of homeowners who don’t use a traditional architect and are therefore looking for that kind of help. their project came true..

Weaver’s business model consists of three components: rewards for success from contractors who win the project in the market; homeowner access fee (or paid by architectural firms) – with tiered pricing based on increased levels of support; and referral fees from renewal loan providers that Weaver customers may incur.

While concerns are growing in the UK over a growing cost-of-living crisis – for example, electricity bills will rise next month as price caps expire, rising inflation and global and other trade-related macroeconomic issues. – Keane is not worried that this will happen Demand for home renovations is declining as the startup primarily targets its services to the top 1-5% of workers who are likely to suffer from the challenges faced by low-income families.

“We do not care” [about the impact of the cost of living crisis on demand for renovations] As our average project is £100k-£300k, these are homes with >£150,000 income that have been savings for years,” he tells gaming-updates, adding that there are other factors that make wealthy families spend for housing. upgrades. I recommend doing. their homes, for example, due to climate problems.

“We see the macro economy moving forward to renovate more homes to offset the energy gains from well-insulated homes while reducing household emissions. In addition, we expect the UK government to further increase subsidies for home insulation and eco-boilers. Emissions in the UK should be cut by 40%. ,

Weaver’s Bazaar, which has been around for more than four years (though it’s only been around in its current form since March 2020), has already handled more than $120 million in construction, the startup notes. Orders are placed on the platform. In 2021, there will be an increase of 2.6 times, in 2020. About 400 contractors, 300 Vastu firms and about 900 homeowners/individual users are registered at this level.

Weaver will use the seed fund to expand its presence in the UK to serve a wider segment of the home renovation market. (The service currently includes Greater London, South East England, Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool.)

Keane says the company is “eventually” planning for future international expansion, and on that front it is eyeing Germany and the US, where he says its research shows the market dynamics in the UK are similar. (Although refurbishing Victorian homes is probably not ideal for many home projects initiated through the Weaver platform, as it spreads to countries with very different types of housing stock.)

“Our largest investors are in these two markets, which gives us a network to hire local people,” says Keen. “We thrive in urban areas where the contractor market is very fragmented and ours is the largest, so by the end of 2023 we will expand beyond the UK.

“In the UK, our closest competitors are Ressy and Hauz. In the US it will be Sweeten and Block Renovation. We are the only startup focused on architects and their clients.”

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