Mapping the World’s Homes in 3D: Improving on Home Improvement
On behalf of Menlo Ventures, I’m thrilled to announce our investment in HOVER, a San Francisco startup using deep learning and computer vision to digitally map any home (or structure) in 3D using a few pictures taken from a mobile phone. The power of a precise 3D image of a home is manifold, creating an opportunity to reinvent the $200 billion home renovation industry. We’re looking forward to partnering with HOVER CEO A.J. Altman and the terrific team he’s assembled. A.J.’s vision, passion, leadership, and energy are the perfect combination to help transform a longstanding industry in need of modern digital software platforms.
With HOVER’s app, contractors and homeowners can take photos of homes to quickly create a 3D model of the structure with very precise measurements. HOVER automatically estimates home repair and renovation costs eliminating manual workflows, time delays, and imprecision. It also connects contractors to product suppliers, enabling them to design the home with different products, styles, and colors while completing transactions in real time. When all these efficiencies are added up, contractors can close more business faster.
Until recently, a commercial solution like HOVER seemed technologically impossible. The platform evolved from a product initially created for the Department of Defense that enabled the military to create 3D maps of buildings that reduced risk for troops heading into harm’s way. A.J. helped build that tech and now the team at HOVER has made it work on a standard smartphone. Renovators now have an end-to-end digital customer experience in the palm of their hand. It’s game-changing: Consumers today expect a simple click-through journey, but before HOVER, nobody built one for home renovations.
HOVER is also winning over the insurance industry which uses HOVER technology to estimate the cost of home damage claims, decrease claim resolution time, and improve the overall customer experience. Ultimately, HOVER becomes a de facto system of record for exteriors—or as A.J. predicts, “a single source of truth for the physical world.” The implications of that are intentionally broad. We love systems of record and one for the physical world has vast potential.
With this funding, HOVER will expand its offering to build the first digital marketplace in home renovations. They have already lined up leaders in every vertical, from The Home Depot to Beacon (a leading building materials distributor) and GAF (the largest roofing manufacturer) as well as several of North America’s top insurance carriers. The HOVER platform will enable e-commerce for large home improvement projects for the first time, taking a renovation from idea to install with a few clicks on a smartphone. This marketplace represents an incredible leap forward in an industry long limited to brick-and-mortar purchasing and opaque processes.
Menlo has been an active investor in SaaS and HOVER fits our core thesis: broken workflows will be automated, digitized, and made more intelligent with AI. We are also excited by HOVER’s vertical focus and the magnitude of their market. While the first wave of SaaS innovation focused on transforming functions such as finance, legal, sales, marketing, HR, operations (including a personal favorite: devops!), we are bullish on the newer trend of SaaS addressing industry-specific workflows and processes, otherwise known as Vertical SaaS. Construction is a massive industry traditionally reliant on paper-based processes, but companies like Procore and Plangrid have proven the benefits that technology can bring. We’re excited about the growing vertical SaaS wave and will accelerate our investment activity in the category.
We couldn’t be happier to be partnering with the HOVER team to transform the home renovation industry, and many more to come.