Houzz

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Template:Infobox dot-com company Houzz is a website and online community about architecture, interior design and decorating, landscape design and home improvement. The Houzz platform and mobile apps<ref name=NYT>Template:Cite web</ref> feature photos, articles, product recommendations, and a user forum. <ref>Template:Cite news</ref> The company was founded in 2009 and is based in Palo Alto, California.

History

Houzz co-founders Adi Tatarko and Alon Cohen launched the site in February 2009 as a result of their own remodeling project.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> In addition to finding it difficult to communicate their vision for their home,<ref>Template:Cite news</ref> the founders found it difficult to find the right professionals for their project.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref> What started as a side project to help with Tatarko and Cohen's own home remodel soon spread by word-of-mouth and they began to receive emails from homeowners and home professionals outside the San Francisco Bay Area asking them to open more categories on Houzz and expand to other areas.<ref name="Mashable">Template:Cite news</ref> Houzz became a company in the fall of 2010.<ref name="Mashable"/>

In November 2010, Houzz released an app for the iPad.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> The Android version of the app was released in December 2012.<ref name="HouzzstatsDec2012">Carney, Michael (August 27, 2013). "The numbers say Houzz has lit a fire under the home remodeling market". PandoDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2013.</ref> By August 2013, the iPhone/iPad apps had been downloaded millions of times<ref name="LardinoisFred">Lardinois, Frederic (September 10, 2013). "Adi Tatarko of Houzz: Bootstrapping Was The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Us". TechCrunch.</ref> and the website featured millions of images.<ref name="LardinoisFred" /> In January 2014, Houzz announced that it had opened offices and hired local managers in the UK, Germany and Australia to accelerate its global expansion; 35% of the company's site traffic already came from outside the U.S.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref> In December 2014, Houzz announced its expansion to the rest of Europe and into Asia, starting with Japan, given the demand for its platform and the success of its first international launches.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref>

As of July 2015, a localized Houzz platform was available in UK, Australia, Germany, France, Russia, Japan, Italy and Spain.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref> By the end of 2015, Houzz was also live in Sweden and Denmark and cited over 35 million monthly unique users and over one million active home professionals including contractors, designers, architects, etc.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref> Houzz launched its first national advertising campaign in August 2015.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref> In April 2016, Houzz launched localized platforms and apps for both Ireland<ref>Template:Cite news</ref> and Singapore <ref>Template:Cite news</ref> and said it had more than 40 million monthly unique users worldwide. It launched a localized experience for New Zealand in May 2016 <ref>Template:Cite news</ref> and for India in November 2016.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref>

Company

Community

Houzz started as a side project, with twenty parents from Adi and Alon’s kid’s school, and a few architects and designers from the Bay Area as its first users.<ref>Template:Cite news </ref> “The site has become the biggest residential remodeling community online, and has grown to this point entirely through word of mouth.” <ref>Template:Cite news</ref> As of December 2015, this community had grown to over 35 million monthly unique users and over 1 million active home professionals globally.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref> Houzz has focused on the needs of homeowners and home professionals and “on fostering a community among them.”<ref>Template:Cite news</ref>

Business Model

Houzz has a home products marketplace where it collects a 15% commission from sellers on transactions. Houzz also has a premium subscription service for home professionals, and brands advertise on the platform.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref>

Houzz Pro+ Subscription

In January 2013, Houzz announced the launch of its Pro+ platform for professionals in a select number of metro areas in the U.S.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref> While listings for professionals are free, the optional “Pro+ program gives professionals additional visibility in their local area and allows them to highlight their work to attract new customers for an annual subscription.” In March 2013, Houzz announced that it had expanded the service from 12 markets in the U.S. to 425 new markets in the U.S. and Canada and launched new Pro+ Dashboard analytics tools. <ref>Template:Cite news</ref> The metrics dashboard gives professionals “additional insight into how their photos are doing on the site and includes real-time data about the total number of photo impressions, the number of clicks on them, click-through rates and add rates (how many people saved a photo to their Houzz ‘ideabooks’).”<ref>Template:Cite news</ref> In July 2015, Houzz announced the rollout of Houzz Pro+ to its first market outside of North America in the UK.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref>

Home Products Marketplace

Houzz launched the beta of its home products marketplace in October 2014. The Marketplace allows users to buy products directly on the Houzz site. The service launched with over one million products from “a large variety of sellers.”<ref>Template:Cite news</ref> Houzz does not handle shipments or inventories but has its own customer service team “to make sure that users of the Houzz marketplace get the best possible shopping experiences and have an advocate if anything goes wrong.”<ref>Template:Cite news</ref> Houzz collects a 15% commission from merchants that sell on the site.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref> "Since Houzz announced the beta launch of its home products marketplace in fall 2014, the platform has grown to more than five million products and over 10,000 merchants."<ref>Template:Cite news</ref>

Product & Technology

“The Houzz product is made up of five interconnected parts” inclusive of photos, products, find a pro, ideabooks (editorial) and community advice.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref>

In July 2013, Houzz introduced the Real Cost Finder, an interactive tool that helps users plan home renovations and total costs. The tool is based on data collected from the Houzz community.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref> In February 2014, Houzz launched Site Designer, a free website building and publishing tool for home professionals. Websites are connected to a pro’s Houzz profile, “which allow them to easily pull in their images, reviews and other information from their existing profiles.”<ref>Template:Cite news</ref> In May 2015, Houzz introduced Houzz TV to empower homeowners through video content. “My Houzz” was the company’s first video series and featured Ashton Kutcher as he renovated his mother’s basement in the first episode.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref> In November 2015, Houzz introduced its app for Apple TV.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref> In December 2015, Houzz introduced Sketch, a feature that lets users upload their own photos or choose any from the platform to add products from the Houzz Marketplace. Users can also draw on photos or add stickers and text, as well as collaborate with others on their ideas simultaneously.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref> Houzz introduced Sketch for Android in January 2016.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref> In February 2016, Houzz introduced View in My Room within its app for iOS and Android that lets users virtually place products from the Houzz Marketplace in their homes before buying. <ref>Template:Cite web</ref> In March 2016, Houzz announced that it had opened its Commerce API to third party partners, with Shopify as a first point of integration, to make it easier for merchants to sell and manage their inventory on Houzz. <ref>Template:Cite news</ref> In September 2016, Houzz launched Visual Match, a new visual recognition tool that "uses deep learning technology to analyze more than 11 million home photos on Houzz. Furniture and decor that looks similar to the six million products on the Houzz Marketplace is then surfaced for users to browse (and hopefully buy)."<ref>Template:Cite news</ref> In May 2017, Houzz introduced a new feature for its iPhone and iPad app that allows people to preview over 300,000 products in 3D within the context of their own rooms.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref>

"My Houzz" Series

In March 2017, Houzz launched the latest episode of it's "My Houzz" series, which "includes five episodes documenting public figures as they surprise a close family member with a renovation, using Houzz as a resource." The episode featured actress Kristen Bell, who renovated her sister Sara's home outside of Detroit. <ref>Template:Cite news</ref> In the second episode of the 2017 series, actress Jenna Fischer secretly renovates her sister's kitchen, living room and dining room in St. Louis.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> The third episode features actress Mila Kunis as she surprises her parents with a renovation to the condominium where she grew up and her parents still live today.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> In the fourth episode, recording artist and actor Chris "Ludacris" Bridges secretly updates his mother Roberta's home in Atlanta, the first house Bridges bought when he became successful as the rapper Ludacris.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref> Kyrie Irving renovates his father Drederick's home in West Orange, NJ in the fifth episode. <ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

Industry Partnerships

In June 2014, Houzz entered a strategic partnership with The American Institute of Architect (AIA).<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> In 2015, the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) partnered with Houzz “to increase public awareness on the impact and value of interior designers.”<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> In January 2016, The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and Houzz announced a strategic alliance to “help NAHB members use Houzz’s technology and marketing capabilities to connect with a community of 35 million users interested in building or renovating their homes.”<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

Research

In February 2012, Houzz launched its "Houzz & Home Survey," an annual survey of residential remodeling, building and decorating activity among Houzz users. The 2012 survey had nearly 30,000 respondents in the U.S.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref> The 2015 survey had nearly 260,000 respondents globally (170,000 in the U.S.). The 2015 study found that nearly two-thirds of Houzz users in the U.S. completed a remodeling or redecorating project in 2014.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref>

In February 2015, Houzz introduced the Houzz Barometer, a quarterly index that “tracks confidence in the home renovation market among industry professionals.” The inaugural study found that the majority of professionals were bullish about 2015.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref> The Q4 2015 Renovation Barometer, released in January 2016, found continued confidence in”year-over-year and quarter-over-quarter gains in business activity.”<ref>Template:Cite news</ref>

Houzz released the findings of its 6th annual "Houzz & Home Survey" of renovation activity in May 2017, a study that had more than 100,000 respondents in the U.S. alone. "This year is set to be another banner year, according the survey, with more than half of homeowners on Houzz saying they plan to start renovations in 2017. They're looking to spend 4 percent more than in 2016." The company's "Renovation Barometer," found that firms are equally bullish about 2017. <ref>Template:Cite news</ref>

Funding

In September 2010, Tatarko and Cohen secured $2 million in first-round funding<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> and began hiring a staff for their office in Palo Alto. The round was led by Oren Zeev,<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> from Orens Capital who joined Houzz's Board of Directors. In 2011, Houzz secured $11.6 million in a Series B round led by Sequoia Capital and other investors.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> Alfred Lin, a VC at Sequoia and former senior executive at Zappos, joined Houzz’s board of directors. In 2013, Houzz announced a Series C of $35 million led by NEA and GGV capital, with participation by Sequoia Capital, Comcast Ventures, KPCB and David Sacks.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref><ref>Template:Cite web</ref> In 2014, Houzz announced it had closed a $165 million financing round, led by Sequoia with participation from existing investors Oren Zeev, New Enterprise Associates (NEA), GGV Capital and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB), as well as new participants DST Global and T. Rowe Price.<ref>https://techcrunch.com/2014/10/01/houzz-raises-165m-series-d-led-by-sequoia-to-fuel-international-expansion/</ref>

Home design photo database

As of December 2014, there were millions of images of home interiors and exteriors on Houzz.<ref>with-rabid-demand-from-overseas-home-design-favorite-houzz-looks-to-triple-its-international-reach-in-2015</ref> Homeowners browse photos by room, style and location, and bookmark photos in personal collections the site calls “ideabooks.” Images had been added to ideabooks hundreds of millions of times. <ref>Template:Cite news</ref> Users can click on an image to learn more about the designer, ask a question, and learn about products tagged in the photos.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref>

As of August 2015, there were more than 7 million high-quality photos of interiors, exteriors and gardens.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref> Houzz had more than 11 million home photos on its platform by September 2016. <ref>Template:Cite news</ref>

Editorial content

An editorial staff in Palo Alto and contributors write daily design articles for the Houzz homepage and newsletters.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> Content is tailored to each country where Houzz has launched a localized platform. For example, in Australia the “tailored experience is designed to overcome problems such as seeing northern hemisphere Winter Christmas ideas, during Australia’s Summer time; or reading American terms such as ‘countertop’ instead of ‘benchtop’.” <ref>Template:Cite news</ref>

Professional directory

Houzz has a directory of home improvement professionals who use the site to connect with homeowners.<ref name="Wall Street Journal">Template:Cite web</ref><ref name=Businessweek>Template:Cite web</ref> Many professionals use the site to showcase their work and reach new customers.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref>

Reception

CNN named Houzz App of the Week, calling it "The Wikipedia of interior and exterior design sites".<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>  The magazine Real Simple called Houzz "the online equivalent of clipping décor images from magazines".<ref>Template:Cite journal</ref> Bloomberg Businessweek called Houzz "An online antidote to the housing bust."<ref name=Businessweek /> Architectural Digest wrote, "This app will stoke your imagination."<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>  TechCrunch wrote, "Houzz appears to be a decent idea that's been executed well."<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>  The Mercury News wrote, "You'll find ... ideas for your swipe file there that you and your architect can both contribute to and comment on."<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> The Wall Street Journal said “Houzz is ... a well of inspiration at the tip of your swiping fingers" and asserted that the app is one of the few nongame apps on iOS that have a 5 star rating.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

TIME included the Houzz App in its 2014 list of "essential software every iPad owner should download." <ref>Template:Cite news</ref> In 2015, Fast Company named Houzz to its "Most Innovative Companies List" for being "a one-stop design shop" and noted that "unlike many tech companies that try to lather on unnatural business models, Houzz is so strong because its revenue streams grew out of customer demand." <ref>Template:Cite news</ref> Also in 2015, CNBC named Houzz to its 2015 Disruptor 50 List, noting that "Pros use the Houzz platform to build their brands, collaborate on projects and connect with homeowners. Consumers love the site because they can click on thousands of different ideas for remodeling and renovating their homes and research and hire professionals. Houzz's online marketplace lets customers buy the furniture and home accessories they see, rather than having to toggle over to individual retailers and manufacturers."<ref name="The List: Disruptor 50">Template:Cite news</ref> Houzz was named to CNBC's Disruptor 50 List again in 2016.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref>

Awards

In May 2016, Houzz won "Best App" at Google's inaugural Play Awards. "User experience and high star ratings" were among the factors considered by Google's panel.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref>

Controversy

In October 2015, Houzz settled a lawsuit to, "to resolve allegations that the company violated California privacy laws by recording incoming and outgoing telephone calls without notifying all parties on the call that they were being recorded".<ref name="Office of the Attorney General">Template:Cite press release</ref>

References

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External links