Porch Homescreen Teaser 0613Americans spend a hefty $500 billion a year on home improvement and Porch has raised a hefty seed round to make home improvement easier.

Porch is a home improvement and repair marketplace. It connects homeowners with information, inspiration, and guidance on home-projects and provides personalized professional recommendations. The site is still pre-launch, but has already raised $6.25 million in seed financing to build out the platform.

Porch takes a data-driven approach to home improvement. The system aggregates and organizes data from over 1.4 million professionals and 60 million projects to identify trends supply and demand curves, and make predictions, as well as suggest home service professionals that suit each individual’s needs.

“There are too many disparate places to find information to solve a real problem and we are bringing together those pieces of information,” said CEO and cofounder Matt Ehrlichman in a Q&A. “You may go to Houzz for ideas, Angie’s List to get paid professional recommendations, and the state licensing board to get project history and professional credibility. Your home is your biggest investment of your life, taking care of it should be easy and intimate.”

The national marketplace spans 250 home improvement, maintenance, and repair categories. People can find inspiration by viewing their neighbor’s home projects, access information about actual product costs, and check out friends’ endorsements of service providers. Porch conducted a survey in 2012 which found that 98 percent of homeowners experience pain when searching for a professional to address their home needs. Ehrlichman said that Porch uses data and social features to bring greater levels of transparency, relevance, and simplicity to this massive market.

“No one provides that chain of a connected and organized experience, except for Porch,” he said. “We are connecting and organizing hundreds of thousands of data points around you — your home, your neighbors, your style, your budget, your neighborhood, your economic atmosphere, as well as professional project history, details, and performance. Many inspirational sites are deemed house porn. We say we are smart home porn because of our data and personalization and beauty.”

Ehrlichman previously founded event management software startup Thriva, which was acquired by Active Network (a larger provider of event software)  in 2007 for more than $60 million. He then served as the Chief Strategy Officer at ACTV which went public in 2011. He left ACTV and promised his wife he would take some time off. During this period, he began building their house from the ground up and described the experience as “comically painful.” Like a good entrepreneur, he did a bit of digging into the market and its problems, and realized what a huge and stagnant market it was. Ehrlichman forsook his vacation and began building Porch.

Porch primarily monetizes by serving home professionals through services. Although still vague on the details, Porch will use its exclusive data to facilitate customer acquisition and has a supplier, manufacturer, and retailer monetization stream in the works. The company is based in Seattle and currently has 20 employees. The round is made up of angel investors and home improvement experts, including AV Angel, Chamath Palihapitiya, Javier Olivan, Jeff Skoll, Bill Lee, Geoff Entress, Charles Moldow and 20 others.

10,000 users participated in the alpha test and early access sign-up is available as of today.

Photo Credit: Porch