Sometimes high tech encounters the physical world in a particularly tactile way. That is the case with Roof rthat connects sky-high photography and your roof.
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The Y combinator-backed startup raised $ 3 million in new seed funding to help make the umbrella industry more transparent to customers and contractors. The startup uses aerial imagery to give customers quick estimates online and connect them with local roofers in their area. Crosslink Capital spearheaded the company’s initial round that brings Roofr’s total funding to $ 4 million.
Richard Nelson, the founder and CEO of Roofr, told Crunchbase News that the traditional model of the roofing industry is badly in need of disruption. The Toronto native should know – he came from a long line of roofers and decided to start the company based on his own work experience.
Kevin Redman & Richard Nelson
“I got a job with one of the largest private roofers in Toronto, Canada,” said Nelson in Roofr’s new San Francisco office. “I had noticed there were a lot of problems … but it wasn’t until I got a taste of one of the bigger companies that I was really like, wow, this industry is completely archaic.”
In Nelson’s view, the traditional model allows large commercial roofers to act as marketing firms who hire subcontractors – local roofing companies – to do their jobs. “They sometimes add up to 50% to sub-contractor employment rates just to be that middleman,” said Nelson.
So he sold his house, quit his job and went the startup path in April 2015. Six months later he was introduced to his now technical co-founder Kevin Redman. The company’s first 65 retail customers joined after hearing Nelson’s door-to-door pitch on Roofr’s online aerial photo bidding tool. The two then applied for the Y Combinator and 500 Startups accelerator programs in San Francisco and set off to participate in YC’s 2017 summer cohort.
Today Roofr works with local residential and commercial property roofing companies in the Bay Area, Ontario, Canada and Florida. Customers in these regions can go to the Roofr website, fill out a questionnaire with their address, and get an aerial photo and algorithmic estimate for a local contractor that Nelson says is accurate to within 10 percent. The company then hires an in-house roofer as a project advisor who speaks to the client before hiring a contractor.
“Here we go beyond any other home service marketplaces,” said Nelson. “If you go to any of the other competitors, they are just a simple aggregator that connects you to multiple roofers in their app and you choose who to work with.”
Roofr usually connects its customers with just one contractor. The local company itself, which is checked before joining Roofr, sends a contractor for final inspection and bid. Companies are not required to use Roofr’s exact price and only pay Roofr’s fee when they take on the project.
Nelson says homeowners save an average of 20 percent by using Roofr compared to commercial roofing companies. On the B2B side, local companies would not only have the opportunity to expand their brand and customer base, but could also earn 10 to 15 percent more than subcontracting to a larger company.
“The goal is to stay [roofing contractors] very busy, ”said Nelson. “One of our busiest roofers made almost 200 roofs with us last year.”
Roofr works with customers in both the commercial and private sectors. With the funding, the company will expand its team and expand its reach to Texas.
“From an investor’s point of view, this is a great opportunity. North America has nearly $ 60 billion a year. In North America, nearly 5 million buildings are replaced every year. ”
Photo credit: Li-Anne Dias
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