When Made Renovation opened its debut showroom in San Francisco in February of 2020, the remodeling upstart’s future looked bright. Less than nine months old at the time, the company had not only attracted a savvy Bay Area clientele to its tech-driven approach to bathroom renovation, but investors as well. The flagship showroom was intended as a home base for potential customers to spec materials, for general contractors to check in, and even for the public to attend educational design programming, say the founders. But a few weeks later, all of that changed.
“When we had to close the showroom [due to lockdown orders], I can tell you it was soul-crushing for my cofounder,” says Roger Dickey of his business partner Sagar Shah, who project-managed the showroom himself in an effort to save money. “It was a labor of love for months, and having to shut it down a month after opening was certainly difficult.”
What certainly did not seem obvious then is that the year ahead would accelerate Made Renovation’s business trifold—physical showroom visits or initial on-site evaluations not required. The company inks more than $50,000 in project sales per day, with hundreds of remodels in progress on its platform at any given time. The bathroom industry rakes in nearly $80 billion annually, and its sector—notably in the renovation realm—is a highly fragmented market, the majority of it made up of individual contractors. In less than two years, Made Renovation has scaled to become the seventh largest residential remodeler in the nation, based on the latest Remodeling 550, an annual report of the industry's top earners. With even more expansion in sight, the company closed this month on a $23 million Series A funding round, led by Insight Partners with participation from previous investors Base10 Partners, Founders Fund, and Felicis Ventures, plus one newly acquired investor (and fan), actress and founder of The Honest Company Jessica Alba.
Though every design firm had to adjust to the new reality posed during the pandemic, few were likely as well equipped for a digital overhaul as Made Renovation. The company’s operation was already comparatively tech-enabled: Once a fixed-price bathroom design is selected (either from Made’s 40-plus templated styles or custom-designed with an in-house designer at a premium), a project manager obtains the required permits, assigns a contractor, procures (and warehouses) materials, and offers updates and assistance virtually until the renovation is complete.
But without being able to have its routine initial site consultations, the service had to adapt and become even more streamlined—a familiar task for cofounders long entrenched in the tech start-up world. (Dickey previously cofounded the freelancing site Gigster, and Shah founded e-learning platform Quad.) The firm set out to develop digital tools for more efficient project management, design renderings, and an improved pricing algorithm. (The company uses nearly 20 data points—from square footage requirements of tile or glass to whether a curb shower is being installed—to help determine accurate project fees up front.) Today, the company’s UX software is entirely proprietary except for one camera-enabled digital measuring tool.Become an AD PRO Member
Buy now for unlimited access and all of the benefits that only members get to experience.Arrow
From closed permit offices to material and construction delays, a few pandemic-related diversions challenged the company’s “on budget, on time” service slogan (“We had to pass along bad news all day long,” recalls Dickey), but the newly optimized operation accelerated the company’s longer-term goals for a digitized experience that would help the business scale. “It was something we had on the road map, but we didn’t think we’d get there for years,” says Dickey. With hundreds of projects under way, the team has grown to more than 50 employees—divvied up among tech, design, sales and marketing, and project and procurement departments—and has relationships with more than 100 industry vendors for material sourcing.