In its early days, Porch was a small, scrappy startup, doing a lot with a little. The Seattle home improvement data company used folding tables and leftover chairs and encouraged employees to bring their own laptops.
Then came the investment dollars. Founded in 2012, Porch at one point grew to nearly 500 employees after raising $100 million in a little more than two years. Following a $65 million round in January 2015, its valuation reached $500 million.
Today the employee count is at 250 — down from 300 this past August — and the company has continued to tighten the screws of its business over the past year, focusing more on profitability rather than just pure growth.
Earlier this month, Porch cut four more positions, CEO Matt Ehrlichman confirmed to GeekWire. Three people from its enterprise sales/account management team were let go, and another from a project management role. Given that there are 250 employees, four layoffs is not a significant cut. But it does mark a continued shift for Porch, which connects customers with home improvement professionals.
Ehrlichman explained that Porch made a big shift last year “from scaling with people to scaling with product.” It’s made a big impact on profitability, he said.
“Like a lot of our peers, a year ago we moved from a focus on pure revenue growth, to a more sustainable focus on profitability,” Ehrlichman said. “As part of that, we continually evaluate which roles are critical and are staying lean and hungry as we drive the business toward profitability.”
The most recent cuts affected three people working on Enterprise Direct Connect, a new product that debuted in August which allows larger companies to integrate Porch’s platform into their CRM systems, making it easier to surface requests from homeowners.
A Porch spokesperson said that the product line is doing well, with revenue growth rate up 50 percent month-over-month, but that the three roles were eliminated “because of advancements we made in the tech platform and efficiency.”
Porch is still hiring, with most of its open roles in engineering, product, design, and analytics. Ehrlichman said that Porch is focusing on a “capital light” model to help increase sales productivity.
“As we’ve transformed the company over 2016, we made an active choice to not backfill most attrition, particularly in sales and support,” he said.
Porch also no longer offers a consumer mobile app, which it first released in December 2014. The app helped homeowners connect quickly with Porch representatives and independent home improvement professionals to get guidance on projects and arrange to have work done on their homes. The Porch spokesperson said the company is still investing in its app for professionals.
The company, which counts investors like Lowe’s and Founders Fund, has also consolidated its headquarters to just one floor after inking a lease for two floors at the Cobalt Building in Seattle’s Sodo neighborhood last year.
Porch, which makes money by charging home-improvement pros for market insights, promotional exposure and other services, announced this month that it is integrating with Facebook for a new feature that lets customers easily connect with home professionals on the social media platform. The company also recently inked a partnership with Portland-based lighting and home goods retailer Rejuvenation, adding to its existing deals with Lowe’s, Wayfair, ATGStores.com and others.
Porch told GeekWire in August it is “actively engaged” with approximately 141,000 professionals, while there is a directory of more than three million professionals on the site. Project request volume spiked nearly 100 percent from January to June of this year, mainly because the startup cut its unit acquisition expense in half.
Update, Oct. 31, 4:10 p.m.: After this story published, a Porch spokesperson said Monday that in addition to the four layoffs previously noted, another nine employees from the “Customer Service Manager” team were let go this past Friday.
“The CSM team has not been accountable for our performance or effort and I’m responsible for that,” Porch co-founder Ronnie Castro wrote in an all-company email. “I decided to make changes to refocus our team on professional growth and to be accountable to each other. This is a major change in the team — we need to make stronger commitments and hold people accountable to goals and commitments. This isn’t something we’ve done well and I believe it’s necessary for us to hit the goals we have in front of us.”