Business is booming.

Online homebuilder welcomes $29 million in funding

Company vision born of personal experience

The idea for the business was born of personal experience. After the birth of his child, he sought to buy a home before being underwhelmed by the lack of options and overwhelmed by the challenge. He ended up acting as his own general contractor by building his own home, he recalled.

“I was retired for a year and I wanted a house,” he recalled. “I lived in New York City, and wanted a house and went out to look for one. I hadn’t had a house, and wanted one. And I looked and I thought that it was just going to be so easy. I thought these pictures and everything was great, and I was going to have a zillion homes to choose from and that wasn’t the case at all. I was so naïve. I saw so many homes. I remember one – I brought the checkbook to one because the pictures seemed so great. That’s when the company started to click for me. That was a light bulb moment.”

Mistakes made along the way

Hartman grew reflective in the aftermath of the successful Series A funding round, recalling past mistakes quickly remedied. For one thing, he soon realized homebuyers sought bigger features (architectural design, for instance) rather than the more granular.

“We had some key learnings,” he recalled. “Some of the stuff we thought in the beginning didn’t end up being the case. In hindsight it’s obvious, but when you’re going through it you don’t have that level of insight. One of the key things is we thought everyone was wanting to customize down to their faucets and this and that, and that was just not at all the case. It wasn’t even close. They wanted themes, some level of expert curation. They did not want the responsibility of the granular aspects of their home. That was a misfire on our part early on.  Once we figured that out, customers were far more engaged.”

The company focus then gained clarity, he said: “The value of our product is that if you buy a Welcome home, it will change your life meaningfully. That’s a lot to say. That’s a bold statement in my mind, and that’s what we try to live up to.  The quality of where you live, where you spend the majority of your time, is a very important aspect. Our products need to be representative of that drastic change in lifestyle in quality of life you will experience when you move in.”

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