This article was originally posted on Mashable.
Home renovation is a long, expensive and drawn-out pain in the butt. That’s a well-regarded sentiment, any way you spin it.
In 2009, husband-wife team Alon Cohen and Adi Tatarko decided to remedy the problem when they had trouble remodeling their decades-old ranch-style home. They felt there was a huge absence of eloquent and straightforward outlets to both properly express their home remodeling visions and find the right professionals for the job.
"The whole process was very cumbersome and very antiquated," Cohen says. "We figured, 'We're doing everything online. There’s got to be a better way to do this.'"
It's a good thing they thought so—what started as a side project born out of frustration has become the leading digital platform for home remodeling and design.
Their idea spread by word-of-mouth, and soon they were getting emails from homeowners, architects, designers, contractors and landscapers from all over the U.S. and Canada, asking them to open areas on the site for them, as well.
"It was a fun project. It wasn't really started as a business," says Cohen, who coded the initial website himself. "At some point, somebody told us, 'Hey, you guys are crazy. You should create a business out of this and really start it as a company. And so that's what we did."
So the husband-wife co-founders became president and CEO, respectively, and in November 2010, Houzz raised $2 million from angel investors. Additional rounds include a $11.6MM Series B round announced in December 2011, and a $35MM Series C round announced in January 2013.
Headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif., Houzz now boasts the largest online residential remodeling and design community in the world, with more than 16 million monthly users and more than 300,000 professionals—pretty impressive for a company that just hired its first employees three years ago.
“There is no magic bullet. There is no one thing that makes you successful," Cohen says. "But it needs to start with an idea that has to do with helping people solve a problem." This must be combined with great employees (he and Tatarko interview every single candidate before they're hired) and great user experience, which he says is paramount to revenue.
User experience, indeed. The company, which has grown to 150 employees, seemingly offers everything a remodel-happy homeowner might need to start—and finish—the project. The site and app has editorial content such as more than 10,000 guides, portfolios and reviews, material and products, inspiration, and tools to communicate with partners, service providers and vendors.
And Houzz is meant for all—from elite echelons to humble abodes.
There are nearly 60 professional categories to help find the right man for the job, including portfolios and reviews. It has more than 2.4 million retina-quality clickable interior and exterior images from which to draw your home inspiration.
Houzz's mobile app now has more than 12 million downloads, and is one of only five non-gaming apps with more than 100,000 five-star ratings on iTunes.
Watch the video above to see how Cohen and Tatarko grew Houzz from an idea to a platform that’s transformed the $300 billion home remodeling and design industry to make the process more relevant and enjoyable for everyone involved.
What do you think of Houzz's rise to success? Tell us in the comments.
Photo: Courtesy of Houzz