12 years ago Matt Ehrlichman the CEO of Porch was excited about raising money $190k for his company CampRegister (rebranded to Thriva) which provided solutions for summer camps and other events and activities.
Today, Ehrlichman has raised $6.26M in seed capital from angels in the Bay Area and is launching his newest business–Porch. Ehrlichman calls the company the first home improvement network and already the network has 1.5 million professionals and over 90 million home projects. They were able to aggregate all this information in 18 months.
Porch helps homeowners to improve their largest investment–their homes–at the highest level and in a way that the internet and technology hasn’t been able to. The free service for renters and homeowners makes the home improvement process easier allowing homeowners to have access to tons of information including neighbor’s home improvement projects, what they spent, and the professionals they used. Homeowners and renters can also find and view before and after pictures of neighbor’s projects. This empowers users to easily hire the professionals they are looking for without having access to confidential information like home addresses.
As Ehrlichman says “the porch is the public space for a private home. It’s a place where friends meet up, exchange information and ideas.” That’s what Porch hopes to provide, a network for homeowners and professionals to find valuable information to make informed decisions. The idea for Porch came from Ehrlichman’s frustration with building a home for his wife and his son. What was supposed to be a source of pride and joy turned into pain and frustration. Ehrlichman wasn’t able to find quality information, so he decided to create a place to find that information.
Ehrlichman, the Seattle native, believes that Porch “is a great problem to solve” and knows firsthand that maintaining and improving the home can be painful. “It’s great to be able to go after a category like that and solve a problem.”
Companies like Angie’s List might see Porch as disruptive because the website provides information about professionals to homeowners in such a unique way. On another level, Ehrlichman sees Porch as inspirational and educational because it allows people to get home improvement ideas and see actual projects in their neighborhood. Imagine brainstorming about a kitchen remodeling project and being able to get ideas from before and after photos of a home that was remodeled two miles away. In addition projects will have information about costs and even reviews of the professionals that performed the work.
For CEOs and entrepreneurs Ehrlichman knows that “doing a startup is hard” but after succeeding things become a little easier. He explains that “there is a steep learning curve and there’s lots of mistakes but being successful comes down to persevering.” Finally, he believes that startups should have a purpose behind what they do because it makes it easier to succeed.
Take Porch for a test drive and come back and let us know what you think.