Please welcome Wreno, the home repair and maintenance workforce development company
Meet Wreno, the latest addition to Lerer Hippeau’s portfolio.
HQ: Scottsdale, Arizona
Founders: Charlotte Schell and Mark Barton
The problem: The US home repair and maintenance (R&M) workforce is declining at an unprecedented rate, despite the fact that by 2030 the top ten real estate holding companies alone are expected to spend $3.2 billion a year on routine maintenance and renovations for their properties. Workers aren’t training for trades at the rates they used to, and those that do aren’t able to use their skills efficiently in the market. Yet homeowners and institutions alike need skilled workers to help with projects in their homes, and institutions incur significant holding costs due to their inability to service their homes quickly and efficiently.
Wreno’s solution: Wreno is an end-to-end home evaluation and maintenance service platform for iBuyers, REITs, and proptech companies. Through the platform they bring together fragmented local trade businesses and upskill additional local gig workers to provide repair, maintenance, and renovation services. And, their software uses ML and computer vision to provide faster and more accurate home estimations and data collection. In the future, they’re planning to license their proprietary suite of technologies to allow real estate companies to more efficiently recruit, onboard, train, and deploy their own internal home evaluation professionals and vendors at scale. The company leverages tech to help companies continue to evaluate and service homes, while making trades a desirable career path for the next generation.
Origin story: Charlotte Schell and Mark Barton founded Wreno after working together at Zillow, where they watched issues in home repair labor supply drive inefficiencies. At the time, the pair was approached by a client who had purchased 3,800 houses in a major US city. All of the homes needed evaluation and basic repair and maintenance work, yet the company in possession of the properties only had enough employees to manage the work for three houses. It occurred to Charlotte and Mark that there were likely thousands of folks interested in and capable of taking on projects in this vein — people familiar with the gig economy and looking for flexible jobs. They built Wreno to address the lack of supply in the market.
Why we’re betting on it: By connecting underemployed gig workers with trades training and connecting fragmented networks of local trade businesses, Wreno is positioned to reskill an entire generation with the trades that are in high-demand today. We believe there is tremendous value in utilizing technology to support the services industry overall. Wreno has identified a large and growing segment of the services market hamstrung by a lack of supply, and an opportunity to address it through software.
Our take: We first met the Wreno team while Charlotte was finishing up at Stanford Graduate School of Business and Mark was spinning up the business full time, and in the months since we have been extremely impressed by their relentless execution across all aspects of the business. Wreno has an ambitious vision, and, supported by the enormous demand in the market, Charlotte and Mark have the tenacity to accomplish that.
Further reading: “Here’s an exclusive look at the pitch deck the proptech platform Wreno used to raise a $5 million seed round” via Business Insider