The New York-based real estate technology startup formerly known as Perch announced Tuesday it has rebranded as Orchard and raised $36 million in Series B funding, an equity raise. The company plans to use the funds to invest in product innovation, bolstering its staff and general growth.
“Orchard is now one of the only companies in the country to deliver a delightful end-to-end home buying experience including AI-driven home discovery, the ability to buy before you sell, and an all-digital closing,” Orchard CEO Court Cunningham said in a statement.
“As our customer offering has evolved, we took the opportunity to rethink our name and choose a brand that reflects the things our customers tell us they love about us: warmth, friendliness, and humanity,” Cunningham added.
Orchard is a company that’s focused on dual trackers – consumers buying and selling a home – which Cunningham estimates is roughly two-thirds of the market place. The company operates in essentially three phases: a modern search platform, enabling customers to buy before they sell with a guarantee and an all-digital close.
Pieces of that vision – a more seamless, certain home transaction – already exist with different companies, but nobody is putting it all together, Cunningham claims.
Before the rebranding effort, Perch launched as an iBuyer, but has since shifted away from that identity. In one phase, the company offers a home sale guarantee, where it provides cash upfront for consumers to buy a new home, while guaranteeing the current home will sell within 90 days.
If an Orchard agent doesn’t sell the home, the company will buy it.
“We want to sell it on the market because that’s good for you, the consumer, you get the best price,” Cunningham said. “We’d rather not own the real estate.”
With the money raised from this funding round, Orchard plans to hire on two fronts. First, the company plans to bolster its tech and product team, which works on the company’s proprietary offerings, including the most accurate automated valuation model in the business, according to Cunningham.
Orchard also wants to bolster its agent workforce. Real estate agents at Orchard are full-time employees, unlike much of the industry, where agents are independent contractors affiliating with a brokerage.
And while the company also plans to use some of the equity to continue to automate and refine the customer experience, Cunningham stressed the importance of having more real estate agents.
“There is always a place for the Realtor in the transaction,” Cunningham said. “It’s an enormous transaction for people and people want the consultation, the advice, the handholding.”
The funding round was led by Navitas with participation from FirstMark, Juxtapose, and Accomplice. The latter three firms were involved in the company’s $20 million equity raise in early 2019.
In total, Orchard has raised $69 million in total equity.
“Navitas brings deep real estate expertise to Orchard’s investor base,” Cunningham said. “More importantly, they share our vision that today’s real estate transaction is outdated, fragmented, and poorly served by a patchwork of different point solutions. Consumers need a platform with a single digital backbone that can serve them through the entire transaction seamlessly.”
Orchard is based in New York City and currently services Texas, Georgia and Colorado.
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