Porch, a Seattle-based startup attempting to upend the home-improvement industry, has entered into a strategic partnership with Lowe’s that will put the Porch online service into the retailer’s stores to help homeowners find contractors and remodelers.
The partnership will make Porch available to Lowe’s employees on mobile phones and kiosks, letting them use the service to help Lowe’s customers find home-improvement professionals. Porch will also be advertised on signs throughout the stores.
The partnership is starting in 139 stores in North and South Carolina and the Seattle area, with plans to roll out nationally.
“It’s a huge relationship — it’s a huge strategic partnership,” said Matt Ehrlichman, Porch’s CEO and chairman, noting that Lowe’s serves about 15 million customers a week across North America. “It’s massive.”
Ehrlichman has said he wants Porch to become Seattle’s next big tech company, using data to help people make better home-improvement decisions. The company has compiled data on 90 million projects, including photos and cost in many cases. More than 1.5 million professionals are in the company’s database.
The Lowe’s deal — less than six months after the site launched nationally — promises to give Porch significant exposure to homeowners, which in turn gives home-improvement pros more incentive to take part. Porch offers its service for free to homeowners, charging pros for market insights and promotional exposure in specific geographies.
Apart from providing a shot in the arm for Porch, the arrangement also solves a problem for Lowe’s. The retailer’s employees weren’t previously in a position to officially help customers find home-improvement pros, beyond Lowe’s own basic services.
Lowe’s has also joined Porch’s stable of investors. Ehrlichman declined to disclose the amount of the Lowe’s investment or the size of its stake.
Porch in June announced $6.25 million in seed funding from investors including “super angel” Ron Conway, former eBay president Jeff Skoll, Facebook executive Javier Olivan and Seattle’s Geoff Entress. A regulatory filing discovered by GeekWire in September signaled the company’s plans to raise up to about $28 million in funding.
Ehrlichman said he wasn’t able to discuss Porch’s financing situation, for now, but he added, “Being well-capitalized allows the company to be really aggressive about moving forward and disrupting the home-improvement space.”
Porch competes against sites including Zillow Digs and Houzz. The company has grown to more than 80 employees and is hiring aggressively across its business, support and engineering teams as it ramps up.