Upwork co-founder launches Ergeon, a fence-building startup – TechCrunch

If you had told me this week I was going to learn about a fence company that employed 350 people and raised a total of $53 million, I would ask you to move the bubble, because I want some what you’re smoking. . But that’s exactly what Ergeon secretly built over the past 4 years. It just launched in Georgia, in addition to Texas and California, and recently closed a Series B funding round.

The company was co-founded by Jiayue Heis a licensed contractor, and Odysseas Tsatalosco-founder has now IPO. Improve and Intacct accounting software, acquired by Sage for $850 million.

The company’s pitch is simple – it allows people to order construction projects like fences, driveways and more the way they order other products and services online. The company’s current appeal is that projects are too small to warrant a general contractor but that could really benefit from one. Ergeon does the quoting and owning the client relationship, then assigns the actual work to local contractors.

I spoke with the company’s CEO, Jenny He, to learn more about the what, why and huh? of the company:

“I was exposed to construction very early on. My parents are civil engineers, and they worked on the Biggest Dam in China a long time ago. I studied electrical engineering for undergraduate, then PhD in computer science. Then I was at McKinsey for seven years, where I worked mainly in the industrial sector,” He explains, outlining her path to Ergeon. “I met my co-founder at his previous startup, where he was the founder. He’s also a career CTO, always passionate about how technology is changing the way people work. He and I both went there with our interests overlapping: how do we use technology to transform more skilled jobs? ”

He explained that the duo chose to build in part because the sector is suffering from one of the worst labor shortages in the US, adding that there are more than a million unfilled jobs at any given time. which point. The company claims the industry is worth $1.5 trillion in the US alone.

Ergeon's Citation Tool

Using a quote tool means that the installation of the fence becomes much more transparent – quoting, not the fence itself, will defy the purpose of the fence. Image credits: Ergeon

“Dadfrom a technology trends perspective, we are starting to see more technologies starting to be built for the commercial construction sector; for big projects. There has been progress with CAD and what you can do on mobile devices like phones and tablets, he said, but reiterates that the technology is not being applied to the civil engineering market. “We feel the advantage of residential space as a place to start is that you do thousands of projects and you can start building some pretty meaningful technology. Commercially, there is always a way to monetize a billion dollar project. When you’re talking about projects for the average homeowner, things are different. If you have a project that doesn’t appeal to a contractor – you don’t have a billion dollars to give them – the results can be of a very inconsistent quality depending on who you manage. There are often delays and things that keep you over budget. The whole process is just very painful. I just want to be able to put something the way I put everything else in my life: Online. ”

Ergeon handles all contact between the contractor and the homeowner, and even ensures the job gets done well. The company claims if the fence falls down within months of it being installed, it’s doing it right.

“We do a remote session with you where you show us what you need. We can do all telemetry and we can also do the entire assessment remotely, including the condition of your site. We will then contact you by means of your preference. If you want a text message or email or a call – that’s how we get in touch with you. We manage the project from start to finish so you don’t have to worry about [it] and you really don’t need to talk to the contractor coming to your home. Payments and everything else is done online, he said.

The company claims that not only customers love the product, but also contractors are quite interested in this product.

“We think of contractors as entrepreneurs. They run a small business, and that was a lot more difficult for me,” He explained, while also suggesting that as a tech startup she can raise capital, get resources. “Given the huge shortage of skilled workers in the construction sector – we wanted to close that capacity gap, and we can do that by really empowering them to grow our businesses.” them with us. We eliminate front-office and back-office work, and give them economies of scale that they wouldn’t otherwise enjoy. This manifests itself in terms of raw material purchasing, marketing and other ways. They can grow with us. If you need to scale every aspect of your business, it’s actually pretty tough. “

Of course, while the company started out making fence construction easy, this is a stepping stone towards a broader range of features. The company is planning to start working on the next driveway, followed by several other home improvement projects, with the ultimate goal of being able to do most construction projects. In addition, the company has a lot of geographical developments before it:

“We only have three states right now, and for the kind of work we do, we’re covering about 14 percent of households in America,” He explains. “We are looking to expand that from 14% to 40% over the next few years. The second part is of course adding more products to our portfolio. We started with hedges because they have some unique properties that make them a good entryway to build your tech stack and are relatively high volume. Of course, our vision is towards building the whole house. It is only one piece at a time. “

The company just closed a $40 million Series B funding round Prysmwith participation from GGV, DST, Base set and Metaprop. The company claims it employs 350 people across 42 countries using a remote-first approach.

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