Today, Camber Creek announced a $7 million Series A investment in Curbio, an integrated financing, design and general contracting service for residential pre-sale home renovations, which we co-led with our friends at Brick & Mortar Ventures
The home flipping market accounts for between 5% and 9% of all U.S. home sales. Over the past few years, home flipping has attracted the attention of entrepreneurs, VCs, and institutional investors. Today, for example, the iBuying market has nearly half a dozen well-funded firms, including Knock, OpenDoor, Offerpad, Redfin and Zillow. Institutional investors are dipping their toes into the market as well; the private equity firm KKR recently announced a $250 million investment in Toorak Capital Partners, which provides ‘hard money’ loans to home flippers to finance home purchases.
There is enormous value that can be unlocked in the U.S. residential market: according to the U.S. Census, more than 40% of U.S. homes were built before 1970, many of which can be profitably renovated. In a series of over twenty interviews we conducted with home flippers and hard money lenders earlier this year, we heard time and again that the best flippers and lenders stay close to their respective markets and borrowers, and that having deep local market knowledge is a huge edge in identifying the houses that are best suited for renovation and resale. That’s why we are so excited about Curbio. Curbio provides the individuals closest to the market and with the most local knowledge — the homeowner and their realtor — the capital and expertise they need to realize the full potential value of their home prior to a sale.
Here’s how it works: Selling through real estate agents, Curbio provides all-in-one design and renovation services to homeowners who are about to put their homes on the market and finances those improvements. Curbio does not charge interest on the loan; rather, Curbio charges for the renovations themselves and then collects payment when the home closes. The firm collateralizes the loans by taking out liens against the homes. Curbio manages the renovations through a proprietary technology system and a network of Regional Managers and sub-contractors who can execute projects in a matter of weeks, rapidly getting updated homes on the market.
A typical Curbio renovation project costs $50,000 and involves renovating a kitchen, two bathrooms and a basement. Many homeowners can’t afford to float that kind of cash; others are overwhelmed at the prospect of managing the design and contractors. With Curbio, the homeowner gets a one-stop shop: the Curbio team works with a real estate agent to determine the scope of the renovation, designs the remodel, sources all materials, manages the sub-contractors and finances the project.
Unlike an iBuyer, Curbio partners with the homeowner creating value for both the company and the owner. The joint venture model creates a win-win where the incentives are highly aligned. In making their renovation decisions, homeowners and their real estate agents benefit from local knowledge about the home itself, the neighborhood and the market, meaning the investments they are making in their homes are far more likely to pay off. To date, the average Curbio customer has taken home (so to speak) more than $50,000 extra after the sale of their home relative to their initial listing price. That’s after paying for Curbio’s renovations.
The team behind Curbio is just as important as their business model. Curbio is led by CEO Rick Rudman, an experienced software entrepreneur. Most notably, Rick led Vocus from 1992 through its IPO in 2005 and to an ultimate acquisition in 2014 by GTCR. During Rick’s time as CEO, revenue grew from under $1M to over $180M, with over 1,500 employees in the US, Europe and Asia. Curbio was founded by Matt Siegal in 2016, who today serves as Curbio’s Chief Strategy Officer.
Curbio’s business model innovation is a great example of unlocking value through innovation, creating a win for the customers and the company. We are excited to work with the Curbio team to improve houses across the country and help homeowners capture the full potential value of their homes.