Pro.com, a Seattle startup focused on the home improvement space, is joining an eight-month long accelerator program, offered by The National Association of Realtors, in the hopes of getting people in the real estate business to use its services.
The accelerator, backed by The National Association of Realtors, and its investment arm, Second Century Ventures (SCV), is called REach, and claims to offer a crash course on how to work with the real estate industry, as well as other perks, like focus groups and fee marketing.
Although accelerators are typically designed for younger companies, this one targets slightly more mature companies looking to target a specific set of customers.
Pro.com fits that rough description, having gain some traction early among investors and customers.
The company has raised roughly $18 million in capital from from Madrona Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, Bezos Expeditions (Jeff Bezos’ personal investment firm), and others. It is being led by Matt Williams, the former Digg CEO, Andreessen Horowitz entrepreneur in residence, and long-time Amazon employee. And, just last week, it announced it had priced over 100,000 projects, ranging from hanging a bathroom mirror to remodeling a million-dollar home since launching in May.
The REach program does not require participants to move into a central office, like other accelerators, but in return, it will take an equity stake in Pro.com, and collect an undisclosed marketing fee, according to Constance Freedman, the managing director of Second Century Ventures and REach.
She said they picked Pro.com because real estate agents are always looking for ways to stay connected with clients after they buy their home. One way to do that is by helping clients find bids for remodeling projects. Since Pro.com connects homeowners to contractors and generates online estimates for jobs, like installing a toilet or repairing a fence, she said it was a natural fit.
“54 percent of business comes from past clients and referrals, so it’s important that they stay top of mind,” she said. “The ability for the realtors to provide a prepackaged estimate for services can add significant value.”
Following the completion of the program, graduates may receive funding from Second Century Ventures. SCV’s past investments include Move Inc., which operates Realtor.com and was recently purchased by News Corp. for $950 million, and DocuSign, the electronic signature company based in San Francisco with offices in Seattle.
Past participants of the REach program include Smartzip, which attempts to predict when homes will go for sale; Updater, which provides a platform for customers to update their addresses after a move; and BombBomb, a video marketing platform.
Pro.com is the first company to be accepted into the 2015 class, which will be the third year of the program. Other interested applicants must apply for the program by March 19 for the session beginning April 20.