Porch.com is the first and only free home improvement network that connects homeowners and renters with the right home service professionals based on who neighbors have used, project and cost history, and friend and neighbors’ endorsements. In addition, Porch helps home professionals get more business, better exposure, and higher revenue with free business profiles and paid marketing & analytics tools. Porch.com can be found online at http://porch.com.
BusinessInterviews.com: Congratulations on your recent appointment to the Porch team. After working at giants like Yahoo and Microsoft, what attracted you to working for a relatively smaller and less established company?
Jeff: What we are creating at Porch.com is something that has never been built before – the world’s first home improvement network, a free service for homeowners seeking to connect with trusted home improvement and repair professionals.
First and foremost we have created an experience that is grounded in and powered by data, and that is what makes us unique. The Porch home improvement network already has over 1.5 million professionals and over 90 million projects. We enable our users to make smarter home improvement decisions and we connect them with trusted professionals who have completed quality projects in their neighborhood. Providing locally relevant information and services to homeowners and home professionals on a national basis is an interesting and challenging problem to solve. The home improvement market is huge – over $500B annually but it is a highly fragmented market so achieving our vision presents a very challenging and exciting personal and professional opportunity. I was also very attracted by the company culture here at Porch. Our CEO, Matt Ehrlichman is committed to building and leading a truly great company with a great team – all of whom are passionate about helping to change the world ‘one home at a time’. I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to help build and lead Porch in the years ahead.
BusinessInterviews.com: How is Porch making tremendous strides towards building a home improvement network that is easy, delightful, and connected?
Jeff: We are solving a pain point that has existed for generations of homeowners. When it comes time to complete a home improvement project, how do you find the right professionals for the job? We are solving a problem that any one of the 120 million households in the US face – through our unique approach to data and providing meaningful insights to homeowners and home improvement and repair pros. Currently the Porch home improvement network reflects over 250 professional types across improvement (contractors, designers, etc), maintenance (cleaners, landscapers, painters) and repair (handymen, plumbers, electricians) services, which represents over 1.5 million professionals. These 1.5 million professionals have given us data and insights into over 90 million projects. The data in our network allows us to connect homeowners and professionals in way that is easier than ever, making the home improvement experience better for everyone involved.
BusinessInterviews.com: What’s the biggest risk that you’ve ever taken and how did it turn out?
Jeff: That is an interesting question. I feel that I have a long track record of taking personal and professional ‘risks’ to continue to learn and grow as a person and as a business leader. In one good example, in my early 40’s I dedicated a few years to climbing the highest peak on every continent including reaching the summit of Everest in 2004 and 2008. In those years and life-changing experiences, I had the opportunity to learn so much about setting and achieving big bold goals and about being a great team member and leader. I learned what it takes to prepare for and to persevere to achieve seemingly impossible goals. I have leveraged many of these skills, experiences and personal traits to my leadership roles at Microsoft, Yahoo, Demand Media and now here at Porch.
BusinessInterviews.com: Houzz.com was one of the first popular home decorating sites and that leveraged the sharing and connecting aspect of home design. Do you see sites like this and Pinterest as complimentary to your overall strategy?
Jeff: Inspiration is an important part of the home improvement journey. The key is helping people do something with that inspiration – that is, making it actionable so the idea becomes reality. Many homeowners ask themselves – “Where do I begin?” “Who do I work with?”. The real “ah-ha” for Porch was that we could organize all our data, the 1.5M professionals and the 90M projects that they have done, into a powerful and useful network that helps people get inspired and helps them get the job done. And to do both for free for the consumer. By operating at the crossroads of inspiration and reality, we can give homeowners the best of both worlds.
BusinessInterviews.com: What are some emerging trends that you’re excited about?
Jeff: In addition to seasonal and regional trends that we see in our national data (similar to how a company like Zillow derives interesting insights from national, regional and local home pricing data), there are some interesting category trends that could emerge. Technology trends are always interesting – in particular the dramatic increase in interest and projects involving home automation. The spring will bring a plethora of spring cleaning opportunities – from cleaning the gutters to preparing outdoor living spaces for great summer fun and entertaining. For people looking to get the most bang for their home improvement investments , kitchen remodels, bedroom additions and bathroom renovations will continue to be top of the list, while during the winter months, homeowner attention will shift to making their homes more energy efficient through siding, window, and insulation projects.
BusinessInterviews.com: What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for 2014?
Jeff: 2014 will be a big year for home improvement and here at Porch is excited for the year ahead. We will have several big announcements to share as we continue our work to make the home improvement process easier and better for both homeowners and professionals.
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