For most people, buying a home is the single biggest investment in their lifetime. For existing homeowners, the process becomes a bit more stressful when they need to consider selling their old home. Orchard, which just rebranded from Perch, allows homeowners to manage this delicate balancing act by allowing you to purchase a new home before you have sold your existing property. Orchards agents handle the entire process of getting you into your new home and selling your old home; handling listing, cleaning, and showings.
AlleyWatch sat down with Cofounder and Head of Customer Experience Phil DeGisi to learn more about how Orchard is making the homeownership process easier, the company’s decision to rebrand, and recent round of funding, which brings its total equity funding to $66M. The company has also raised $220M in debt.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
As part of our series B, Orchard has raised $36 million in new equity funding, led by Navitas with participation from FirstMark, Juxtapose, and Accomplice.
Our Buy and Sell service allows our customers to buy their new home before selling their old home. That way customers don’t have to miss out on their dream home because they haven’t sold their current one. Orchard customers work directly with an Orchard licensed agent to find a new home they’ll love. When they find their dream home, Orchard makes a cash offer on their behalf. Since Orchard customers are making cash offers, they’re more likely to be chosen by sellers. The customer moves into their new home and then our agents get to work on selling their old home for top dollar. Orchard handles everything from cleaning to listing and showing – all after the customer moves out, so they never have to deal with it.
What inspired the start of Orchard?
We saw that while other industries like retail and transportation have seen dramatic change via technology over the last 2 decades, the process of finding and buying a home has changed very little. The traditional model for home buying is stressful, uncertain, and inconvenient. We started Orchard because we wanted to create a stress-free and simple end-to-end experience for home buyers.
How is Orchard different?
Orchard is creating a new way to buy and sell homes. We do this by offering a better, more relevant way to search and look for new homes, enabling them to buy a new home before selling their old home, and streamlining the closing process. We’re doing for real estate what Amazon did for retail.
What market does Orchard target and how big is it?
Residential real estate is a $1.5 trillion-dollar market.
What’s your business model?
Orchard delivers unprecedented value to our customers by enabling them to buy before they sell their home, as well as a simple, digital closing process. Orchard does all of this for the same fee as a traditional agent.
You just rebranded from Perch to Orchard. What is the rationale behind that?
As we continue to grow, we took the opportunity to rethink our name and choose a brand that best reflects what our customers think of us: warmth, friendliness, and humanity.
What was the funding process like?
As a company and a leadership team, we have a lot of experience fundraising, which makes things run smoothly.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
The biggest challenge in fundraising is balancing the focus required to scale the business and hire top talent, while also meeting with investors. That said, it’s not a challenge that’s unique to us.
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What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
Orchard will continue to grow, both in terms of customers and the team. We just launched our latest markets, Denver and Atlanta, and will surpass 200 employees soon.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Focus on the customer and offering them a substantially better offering than the status quo. If you do that well, you give yourself an outsized chance of success.
Where is your favorite bar in the city for an after-work drink?
One of our favorite places for company outings is Bo’s Kitchen and Bar in Flatiron.