Announcing Opendoor – New Srs B Investment for GGV

opendoor_logo

I’m proud to announce GGV Capital is leading a $20M Series B investment in Opendoor, a startup taking aim at revolutionizing the market for buying and selling homes. I’ve joined the board as part of the financing.

Homeownership is still a big part of The American Dream. I had my own brush with the process when my wife and I bought our current home. The dollar amount dwarfed anything else we’d ever considered, but the importance of this transaction went way beyond the cost. This decision would define where our kids would go to school and the neighborhood in which we’d raise them, what our daily commutes would be and what type of space we’d have for gatherings with family and friends. In our particular case, we spent months and looked at many properties before targeting our current home. After much intrigue around the bidding and negotiation process, we finally got our house (thanks to my wife, who got to a handshake on the deal while I was on a plane en route to China). We are settled and very happy, but the lack of transparency and stress of the process is still fresh in my mind.

Selling a home can be equally challenging, and it’s not only the price that can make the selling process traumatizing. Not knowing when your home will sell, if it sells at all, can make a trip to the dentist feel like a cake walk. And, if you’re a homeowner who’s ever considered trading up from your current home to another, you’ve gone through the horrifying realization that you might end up owning two homes at once, or none at all. Approximately 5 million homes trade hands annually in the US alone, so these stressful and horrifying moments aren’t just mine or yours — they actually occur to thousands of people on a daily basis.  As evidence, tune into TV shows like “Flip This House,” “House Hunters,” or “Property Brothers.”

Opendoor has the potential to introduce liquidity into the residential real estate market, revolutionizing the way we buy and sell homes:

  • Instead of waiting the average length on market of 90-100 days, what if you could sell your home in minutes?
  • Instead of worrying if you will secure a buyer who can qualify for a loan and close, what if you could guarantee the sale on your timeline?
  • Similarly, what if you could buy a home with the confidence of transparent pricing, quality assurance and a simple online process?

This is the new world Opendoor aims to create. Nine months ago, when I first heard about the concept from co-founder Keith Rabois, whose array of start-up experience is storied and unique, it immediately resonated with me, and I knew the opportunity would be vast. Initially, however, I questioned whether it could done.

Over the past nine months, Opendoor has begun to prove out this model. Using new techniques in data science, Opendoor is converting a lengthy and expensive process into one that’s simple, certain and fast. As with other marketplaces where technology has enabled vast improvements in speed, certainty and transparency, Opendoor has the promise of significantly improving the home transaction process and taking major share as a result. At GGV, we focus on companies going after big markets, and the market for residential real estate transactions is truly massive in size.

Team matters, too, and in this case, the decision made for an easy choice. The leadership of co-founders Rabois, Eric Wu, who has a wealth of experience in residential real estate, Ian Wong, who brings cutting edge data science experience to the company, and JD Ross, who formerly ran Product at Addepar, is evidenced by the team they’re building, the strong progress they’ve made so far constructing the data and business models, and the early demonstration of how well this can work, focusing initially on the Phoenix market. We’re excited to be joining forces with this founding team and Khosla Ventures to help strive to make Opendoor’s vision of a truly liquid residential real estate market a reality.

At GGV, we know we’ll be defined by the quality of the entrepreneurs we back and the importance of the companies they create.  Looking through this lens, we can’t wait for our part of the Opendoor journey to start!

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