43. Houzz

A $4 billion house

Founders: Adi Tatarko (CEO), Alon Cohen
Launched: 2008
Headquarters: Palo Alto, California
$613.6 million
Valuation: $4 billion (PitchBook)
Key technologies:
Artificial intelligence, augmented reality, machine learning
DIY and professional home remodeling and design

George Kavallines | CNBC

Does anyone start a home renovation project without getting ideas on Houzz? The Palo Alto, California-based home remodeling and design platform has 18 million photos of remodeling and renovation projects on its site, giving help and inspiration to anyone trying to renovate a kitchen or redo a bathroom. In 2017 it launched View My Room in 3-D, and today it allows customers to visualize how more than one million different products would look in their home.

Read More: FULL LIST 2019 DISRUPTOR 50

In April, Houzz introduced its latest augmented reality feature that allows homeowners to cover their floor with tile, true to scale. A customer simply scans the floor and points a smartphone camera to each corner of the room to set the perimeter. The app will populate the floor with tile in 3-D and even estimate how much is needed to complete the project. Houzz says since the 3-D tool's introduction, more than 2 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.

Houzz 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. 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% commission from the vendors on these sales, creating another source of income.)

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 2.3 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.

Houzz's total funding is $613 million and gives it a valuation of around $4 billion. Last May it hired Richard Wong from LinkedIn as its first CFO, fueling the idea that the company will soon be gearing up for an IPO.

Latest Special Reports

  • CNBC’s Women & Wealth explores ways that women can increase their income, save for the future and make the most out of current opportunities.

  • Unlock the keys to building a successful long-term financial plan: manage your money, grow your money, and protect it.

  • In a world of big box retail and e-commerce, successful business owners are taking new paths to Main Street success.