For the last two years, Porch has been almost completely quiet – turning away media opportunities and staying away from awards or competitions. I haven’t posted on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. Some may have believed that this was a signal of things not going well for the company. But sometimes being quiet is quite helpful. As Mark Twain famously said, “The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.”
For Porch, putting our heads down for the last two years has been transformational for our team, business, and bottom line.
In 2012, after experiencing the same pain as so many millions of homeowners, I founded Porch for the purpose of providing homeowners everywhere a trusted partner they can lean on to maintain, repair, manage, and improve their homes. We wanted to help homeowners with every one of the more than 1100 possible home services, and knew from the beginning that we wouldn’t branch out into local or commercial services – this was the first problem we were going to uniquely solve.
And so, after selling my first company (Thriva) and helping build its parent company (Active Network) through an IPO, Porch was born of my passion to solve this problem.
We got off to a great start, and I was named the 2014 USA Today Entrepreneur of the Year just a couple of years after launching the company. We gained a tremendous amount of attention, were in the press and on TV frequently, developed important and deep relationships with great companies such as Lowe’s, and revenue grew rapidly. Yet, as we rounded the corner of 2015 with more than 400 employees, I saw holes in the core economics of our business model. If left unaddressed, it was clear that these issues would ultimately prevent us from scaling the company and achieving our vision.
Hard decisions were ahead, but we knew Porch had the opportunity to emerge as the leader for an evolving homeownership paradigm. People were searching for, purchasing, and ultimately servicing their homes enabled by technology. We believed that by shifting our focus to building a more robust product, we could build a sustainable, strong, service-oriented organization that would ultimately benefit our core customer: the homeowner.
And so in 2015, with a large amount of money in the bank and before layoffs started happening across the tech industry, we let go of 20% of our workforce. Without a doubt, it was the hardest day of my career. Our team members were passionate about our company and gave their all to Porch, but we were in it for the long-run and determined to build a truly great business.
For the last 2 years, we’ve been operating with a “heads down” mentality, focused on the product, healthy growth, developing partnerships, and enlisting the right professionals that are bringing our vision to life.
The company has emerged stronger, more focused, and better equipped to delight homeowners and empower home service professionals to thrive. We’ve grown faster over the last couple of years than we ever have, with revenue doubling year-over-year at a much larger scale. This rapid growth has enabled $1 billion in revenue for our network of 300,000 active home services professionals in 2017 alone.
We’ve built ourselves back up to more than 450 team members, but this time more carefully with the right people in the right roles. We’ve gotten the core unit economics of our business to a very strong place that allow us to know with certainty that this business can continue to scale rapidly. And we’ve invested deeply to build out very unique products and capabilities. We’re back and ready to tell our story and let the world know that Porch is better than ever and here to stay.
So what’s next?
First, it’s about our team. We are investing in our people and are focused on making sure Porch is an amazing place to work. The people at Porch are unlike any group of individuals I’ve worked with in the past – our “no jerks/no egos” policy is real and enforced. And while it was incredibly painful to reduce our workforce a few years ago, that experience galvanized our core team. We built a stronger culture and workplace for today and the future. We’re now back to hiring and investing in the right people who fit our unique culture.
Next, it’s about growth – and we’re doing this quickly. With the investment we’ve made expanding our 100-person EPDA (engineering, product, design, analytics) team, productivity and revenue growth across key initiatives are moving us rapidly toward break-even.
Our focus is on the home services professionals who partner with us in order to grow their own small businesses. It’s about making sure they’re the best professionals who are committed to a quality experience for Porch customers. And it’s about making sure these pros can plug into Porch however they want, while knowing they’re working with a company who cares about doing what’s right and driving bottom-line ROI.
We’re also focused on our incredible partners. Early on, Porch developed a strategic and important relationship with the team at Lowe’s, and we continue to innovate together today. It’s a partnership that was critical to us at the founding stages of our company, and is one I’ll remain personally committed and loyal to for the duration of this journey. We’ve built new products and added many other partners that we’ll announce soon. Our innovation with these brands will only expand in the future.
In the end, Porch is all about serving homeowners. Beyond being a digital marketplace for home services and a way for professionals to grow their businesses, we intend to live up to our mission of being a true partner for the home. By keeping our customers’ best interests in mind – through offering every type of service solution they may need – we look forward to easing that pain and anxiety of home management so we can all love where we live.
Last week, after nearly two years of that “rightly timed pause”, Inc. named Porch one of the four companies positively transforming the way people live.
And we believe we’re doing just that. Being quiet seems to be paying off and you’ll certainly hear a lot more from Porch in the future.