With billions saved — and lost — Opendoor is living by the creed “go big or go home.” Yet even after a dreary Q4, the iBuyer persists, which may be the biggest takeaway, Mike DelPrete writes exclusively for Intel.

This report is available exclusively to subscribers of Inman Intel, a data and research arm of Inman offering deep insights and market intelligence on the business of residential real estate and proptech. Subscribe today.

Last week Opendoor posted its Q4 financial results, revealing mega losses alongside early signs of a possible turnaround.

Mike DelPrete

Why it matters: In 2022, Opendoor experienced an absolutely devastating test of its business model – a worst case scenario event – and survived. 

Behind the numbers: Opendoor posted a net loss of $1.4 billion in 2022, on top of already sizable historical losses.

  • Opendoor, and many other venture-funded disruptors, are burning billions of dollars to grow new business models – and the lack of profitability just doesn’t matter.
  • The most noteworthy fact is that Opendoor lost $1.4 billion in 2022 and is still operating (albeit with a new CEO).

Cash is king: Manufactured financial metrics aside, Opendoor has plenty of (but not unlimited) cash reserves.

  • Opendoor ended 2022 with $1.3 billion in cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities – down from $2.2 billion at the beginning of the year.
  • That’s a cash burn of $934 million – massive losses, but a scenario that Opendoor was able to weather without raising additional capital (or going bankrupt).

Like many companies, Opendoor is racing to cut its operating expenses as quickly as possible.

  • In November, it laid off about 18 percent of staff, and just recently announced it had reduced its run-rate expenses by approximately $110 million.
  • Operating expenses are trending significantly lower – a positive sign for a company looking to conserve cash (note: sales, marketing and operations flex up and down based on the number of home sales).

Mike DelPrete

The focal point upon which the future of the business rests is when Opendoor will turn the corner and stop selling homes for a loss.

  • Homes that Opendoor purchased in Q3 and Q4 are performing much better, with positive gross margins.
  • Yes, but: The first homes to sell always have the best gross margins – over time, with price reductions, gross margins fall – as expertly illustrated by Datadoor.io.

Mike DelPrete

What to watch: Cash, cash, cash – Opendoor’s future as a going concern rests on its ability to fund loss-making operations.

  • With $1.3 billion in the bank and the worst behind it, the company appears to have plenty of runway.

The bottom line: Opendoor is playing a high-stakes game of disruption. 

  • With billions in the bank and billions in losses, the company is living by the creed “go big or go home.”
  • After experiencing its single largest challenge in a challenging history, Opendoor persists – which may be the biggest takeaway from a brutal year.

Mike DelPrete is a strategic adviser and global expert in real estate tech, including zavvie, an iBuyer offer aggregator. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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