Billdr secures C $ 4 million to develop home improvement market

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Montreal-based startup Billdr, which provides a market network for the home improvement industry, has secured nearly C $ 4 million (US $ 3.2 million) in seed funding to fuel its product development and expansion plans .

After proving his worth in Montreal, Billdr plans to use the new funds to expand his platform and consolidate his presence in new markets like Toronto and Chicago, where he hopes to replicate his model.

“The home improvement market represents a more than $ 300 billion opportunity that is backward and extremely frustrating for consumers and general contractors.
-Lex Zhao, One Way Ventures

“The increase was to continue investing in the development of our technology to improve the owner experience, the productivity of general contractors and… to create better tools to repair this flow of information between stakeholders. [in the home renovation market]Billdr co-founder and CEO Bertrand Nembot told BetaKit.

Billdr’s roundtable, which closed in October, was led by One Way Ventures of Boston and saw participation from Quebecor, Kima Ventures, Goodwater Capital, Moving Capital, Simple Capital and angel investors from Uber. and Shopify. The new capital brings the company’s total funding to date to C $ 4.2 million (US $ 3.7 million).

Founded in 2020, Billdr offers a “Managed Home Improvement Marketplace” that connects owner clients with pre-approved contractors, handling everything from architectural designs and plans to quotes and product management.

Nembot, Uber’s former market chief for South Africa-Saharan, called the home improvement industry a “black box”. His startup aims to solve this problem by improving the flow of information and bringing more transparency to the process, especially on the pricing side.

According to Nembot, there are four types of home improvement technology companies: lead generation companies that are not involved in the construction process; managed marketplaces, which take a more involved approach; companies that focus only on kitchens and bathrooms; and startups that offer tools designed to improve the productivity of entrepreneurs.

To truly meet the needs of the industry, Nembot said, you have to provide both a market and a service. “Our vision is to literally create a business called a market network, hence the combination of a market on the one hand and a SaaS on the other,” he said.

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Nembot says Billdr is the only company that provides clients with a project manager from start to finish.

The CEO called home owners Billdr’s priority from a customer perspective, adding that the startup aims to give them a simpler and streamlined experience, which it aims to ensure by pairing them with a project manager. However, the startup also offers entrepreneurs tools designed to help them run their businesses.

“The home improvement market is a more than $ 300 billion dollar opportunity that is backward and extremely frustrating for consumers and general contractors,” Lex Zhao, One Way Ventures partner, told BetaKit.

One Way Ventures is an early stage venture capitalist focused on supporting immigrant tech founders. Zhao joins Billdr’s board of directors as part of the startup’s latest cycle.

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“Billdr is focused on solving multiple industry issues, from quotes to payments to project tracking,” Zhao said. “I imagine Billdr can do for the home improvement industry what Tesla did for the auto industry.”

Billdr’s Seed Round is completing its second year of operation. According to the startup, it served 10 times as many customers this year compared to last year and has grown from four to 20 employees.

The startup launched its platform in Montreal in February 2020, just before the COVID-19 hit. Fortunately for the start-up, despite the pandemic, the demand for home renovations stayed strong, helped by the fact that residential construction was deemed essential and allowed to continue as other areas were forced to close due to public health concerns.

“The demand has increased, the access times to subcontractors have also increased, the time required to obtain the materials [has increased], there has also been an increase in resource allocation issues, ”Nembot said.

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After performing well in Montreal, Billdr expanded his business to Toronto in June 2021 and moved to Chicago in September.

Nembot called Toronto, as Canada’s largest metropolitan area, a good next step for Montreal, adding that the start-up has also chosen Chicago to try out its approach in the United States given that it is comparable in size to Toronto and Montreal, and has a large portfolio of older real estate for renovation.

According to Nembot, the average size of projects on Billdr’s platform is $ 100,000. The startup makes money by charging a 6.5% service fee percentage to general contractors and charging owners a fixed fee for project management services, which range from $ 1,000 to $ 3,500 depending on the size of the project in question.

Billdr started by partnering with outside firms for architectural services, but after realizing that it had no control over when those plans were delivered, the startup recently decided to launch its own internal architectural services to solve this problem.

From a product development perspective, the startup’s goals include doubling its new owner information center and creating a desktop function for its mobile app for entrepreneurs, as well as more tools. to help them run their businesses.

Feature image courtesy of Billdr

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