Salt Lake City—Homie, a Salt Lake City-based startup, announced the close of its seed round of funding with a total amount raised of $4.5 million. This round was led by Valar Ventures, a venture capital firm backed by Peter Thiel. Other investors in this round include KPCBedge, Peak Ventures and Epic Ventures. This investment will be used to fuel the company’s growth and expansion to additional markets.
“We invest in ambitious founders building transformative companies,” said James Fitzgerald, founding partner at Valar Ventures, “Homie fits what we are looking for: an experienced team tackling a gigantic, but outdated industry. Technology is reinventing financial services across the board, and for most people, buying or selling a home is the most expensive financial transaction of their lives. We are very enthusiastic to be involved at this early stage of the company.”
Homie is a peer-to-peer marketplace where buyers and sellers of homes can meet, negotiate, and transact without a middleman or high commission fees. Homie combines revolutionary software and shared economies to make finding, buying, and selling a home easier and less expensive. When buyers and sellers use Homie, they save thousands of dollars in commission fees compared to using traditional real estate agents.
“We’re excited to be backed by great investors who believe in what we are creating,” said Homie CEO, Johnny Hanna, “The reception from consumers has been amazing. Everyone we talk to gets it and asks where we were 3 months ago when they bought a home. No one wants to pay huge commissions. The market is ready for a massive change in the way homes are bought and sold and we’re building the platform to enable that change.”
Since launching in the fall of 2015, homebuyers and sellers using Homie have saved over $650,000 in real estate commission fees—an average savings of $10,000 per user. Homie is currently available in Utah and plans to expand to additional markets later this year.
Homie has already captured the attention of the local Salt Lake City tech scene, being named earlier this year to the Epic 100 most buzzed about startups in Utah. Homie recently beat out nine other Utah-based startups to win Most Disruptive Technology in the Great Salt Lake Business Conference’s Tech10 competition.
Home sellers who advertise with Homie have their home listing syndicated across all the major home listing websites in addition to the Homie website and app. Several services are included with advertising purchase, including a yard sign, professional photography, price estimate, call screening, automated tour scheduling, and assistance with the legal work surrounding offers and counteroffers.
Homebuyers are able to leverage the Homie platform outside of Homie-listed homes to schedule an in-person tour or make an offer to buy any home that they find listed on any website. This allows homebuyers to closely manage the entire process and reduce the cost of their new home by eliminating the need for an agent on their side of the transaction. There is no cost to use Homie as a buyer.