31. Houzz

Improving home improvement.

Founders: Alon Cohen, Adi Tatarko (CEO)
Launched: 2009
Headquarters: Palo Alto, California
$613.6 million (PitchBook)
Valuation: $4 billion (PitchBook)
Key technologies:
Artificial intelligence, augmented reality, machine learning
DIY and professional home remodeling and design

George Kavallines | CNBC

Chip and Joanna from HGTV's Fixer Upper probably aren't going to be renovating your house anytime soon, so that's why there's Houzz. This Palo Alto, California-based home remodeling and design platform was started by husband-and-wife team Alon Cohen and Adi Tatarko in 2009. Cohen was an eBay engineer, and Tatarko worked at a boutique investment firm. While remodeling their own home, they ran into the typical construction and design problems and figured other homeowners were dealing with the same issues.

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It was a good bet. Today, Houzz has 16 million photos of remodeling and renovation projects on its site, giving help and inspiration to anyone trying to redo a bathroom or renovate a kitchen. And if a still photo isn't enough help, the company now has View in My Room 3D. Introduced last spring, the app for iPhone and iPad users lets customers visualize more than 300,000 different products in their home in 3-D so they can see how everything looks and fits before making a purchase. Houzz says since the app's introduction, more than 1 million people have used it. These folks are 11 times more likely to make a purchase and spent nearly triple the amount of time in the app.

The company's online marketplace lets visitors buy the furniture, appliances and home accessories they see on Houzz.com directly from the site rather than having to switch over to the manufacturer's or retailer's site. (The company collects a 15 percent commission from the vendors on these sales, creating another source of income.)

Rather than view Houzz as a rival, contractors love the site because they use it to build their brands, collaborate on projects and, perhaps most importantly, connect with potential customers. There are plenty of folks there to impress: The company says it has more than 40 million monthly unique users and 1.5 million active home-renovation and design pros using the site. The company operates in the U.K., Australia, France, Germany, Japan, India, Italy, Spain, Sweden and Denmark. This global reach helps explain why investors still love the company. In June, Iconiq Capital injected $400 million into Houzz, along with Wellington Management, Sequoia Capital, GGV Capital. This brings the company's total funding to $613 million and gives it a valuation of around $4 billion. No word yet on when the company might look to go public.