Proptech startup Wreno raises $5M in seed funding to provide in-demand skills for tradespeople and connect them with iBuyers, REITs, and real estate companies
Wreno, a Scottsdale, Arizona-based proptech startup that aims to connect tradespeople and trade partners with institutional real estate companies, has raised $5 million in seed funding led by Lerer Hippeau with participation from Fifth Wall, Owl Ventures, and NFX, among others.
The investment, which is large for a seed round, includes participation from senior management from top single-family home institutions, as well as founders such as Vikas Choudhary from Porter and Alexey Dubov and Sam Ruben from Mighty Buildings. To date, the company has raised a total of $6.1 million.
Wreno was founded in 2021 by Charlotte Schell, a recent graduate of Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, and Mark Barton, a former program manager at Zillow. The two have extensive experience in business and real estate. They met while Schell was doing her MBA internship at Zillow.
The story of Wreno started back in June 2021 after Schell joined Zillow as a senior program manager during the summer of her MBA program at Stanford. The duo later got the idea to start Wreno when they were approached by a client who had just purchased 3,800 homes and quickly needed workers to evaluate, renovate, and maintain them all but had only enough to take on three homes.
Fast forward a few months later, Wreno now works with some of the country’s largest institutional real estate companies across five states already, connecting them with skilled workers and trade partners to help maintain, repair, renovate, and evaluate tens of thousands of homes.
Wreno plans to use the funding proceeds from this round to continue to scale into new markets across the US, leverage new technologies, develop new service offerings for customers, and further enhance the platform’s existing machine learning capabilities.
Currently, the US repair and maintenance workforce is declining at an unprecedented rate, despite the fact that by 2030 the top ten institutional homeowners alone are expected to spend $3.2 billion dollars a year on renovation, routine maintenance, and home evaluations. The shortage of the workforce has resulted in costly delays and unfulfilled projects, representing a significant pain point for institutional homeowners.
Wreno is addressing this underserved market by skilling new labor supply and leveraging machine learning along with end-to-end software solutions to provide faster and more accurate home evaluations and data collection at scale. The platform also optimizes fragmented local trade businesses to provide adjacent repair, maintenance, and renovation services.
“The average US home is 37 years old today. With an aging workforce, the labor supply in this industry shrunk by 38% since 2018. As a result, every 1 out of 3 jobs in home maintenance and management are getting delayed. It was clear to us that increasing utilization of existing workers and skilled trades is no longer enough,” says Wreno co-founder Charlotte Schell.
“With a unique business model, we are opening previously inaccessible job opportunities to fresh labor supply, while also utilizing technology to allow more people to complete tasks that would normally be considered ‘skilled’ or ‘semi-skilled.’ We are the first technology company that tackles this societal issue from the root.”
“The rapidly-growing iBuyer, REIT, and proptech markets have been constrained by labor. Wreno’s end-to-end platform opens up labor supply for those companies while bringing efficiencies and improved customer experience to the market,” says Isabelle Phelps, Partner at Lerer Hippeau. “Wreno upskills gig workers and uses technology to provide faster and better estimations and services, pulling together the right mix of software and vendors to support repair and maintenance for businesses at scale.”