Home Services Marketplace Raises $14 Million From Seattle Investors — Forbes

Home Services Marketplace Pro.com Raises $14 Million From Seattle Investors

Pro.com, a Seattle startup that provides a marketplace with transparent price data for home projects, raised $14 million to become the latest contender to take a shot at conquering the unsolved, multibillion-dollar local services industry.

Led by former Digg CEO and Amazon executive Matt Williams, the company, which launched its website in May, announced on Wednesday that the round was led by Seattle-based venture capital firms Maveron and Madrona Venture Group. Previously it had raised $3.5 million in seed funding from backers including Andreessen Horowitz, Madrona, Redpoint and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ private investment fund, Bezos Expeditions.

Pro.com allows consumers to search for regional pricing data for their home improvement projects like a bathroom remodel or floor tile installation. In some instances, the website will connect consumers to potential contractors that could perform the job, allowing a customer to book through the site after gauging various options.

“The space is huge, about $275 billion to $300 billion [annually] from the estimates I’ve seen out there for home renovation and home maintenance,” said Williams in a July interview. “If you look at the industry from what we can tell there’s such a pent-up demand from people that don’t initiate their project because they simply don’t want to pick up their phone and call a pro.”

Pro.com’s growth is indicative of the potential that investors see in the local services space, which has seen companies from San Francisco startup Thumbtack to behemoths like eBay eBay and Amazon.com Amazon.com introduce a wide-range of solutions to better connect consumers with service professionals online. Williams said that he and his company, which for now is only focusing on home improvement, believe their market could be far larger than $275 billion if consumers overcome the reticence that often comes with contacting contractors to get price information.

Since its site’s launch, the company said that professionals had estimated $140 million-worth of home projects across 22% of United States zip codes. The company makes money every time for every completed home project booked through its site, taking a cut from the professional’s fee.

Taking local services online has long remained an unsolved problem within the tech industry. While Yelp Yelp and Angie’s List Angie’s List have provided online directories for local businesses and companies like HomeAdvisor and RedBeacon (since purchased by Home Depot) have tried to connect consumers to home renovation professionals, there has been no definitive solution.

Thumbtack, which provides a marketplace for all types of businesses from electricians to belly dance teachers and yoga instructors, raised $100 million in August in a round led by Google Capital to build out its platform. Amazon and eBay have both been testing their own local service solutions, with the latter toying with eBay Hire for nearly a year. That project, which has been in beta testing, may eventually allow a consumer to book a professional that can help with a television installation once they buy a flatscreen TV off eBay’s site.

Entering a realm of stiff competition, Pro.com will use the $14 million in funding to grow its national customer base and add more professionals to its marketplace. Dan Levitan, cofounder and partner at Maveron, and Scott Jacobson, managing director of Madrona Venture Group, will join the company’s board of directors.

Follow me on Twitter at @RMac18 or email me at rmac@forbes.com.

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