Home trade-in platform Knock has brought in a $400 million investment to accelerate a national expansion and double its 100-person headcount.
Foundry Group has led the Series B funding round in New York-based Knock, with participation from Company Ventures and existing investors RRE Ventures, Corazon Capital, WTI and FJ Labs. Knock co-founder and chief executive officer Sean Black declined to disclose the startup’s valuation.
Founded in 2015, Knock helps its customers find a new home, then buys it for them outright in cash. That way home-buyers — who are often in the process of selling an old home and purchasing a new home at the same time — are able to move into their new home before listing their old one. Knock doesn’t purchase your old home but it does help with repairs in hopes of getting its customers the most value out of the sale. Ultimately, Knock receives a 3 percent commission from both the buyer and the seller of the original home.
“We are trying to make it as easy to trade in your house as it is to trade in your car,” Black told TechCrunch.
Knock is led by founding team members of Trulia, a platform for real estate listings, including Black and co-founder and chief operating officer Jamie Glenn. The pair wanted to build an end-to-end market place where people could trade in their homes at a reduced cost, with less stress and uncertainty.
“Good luck finding anyone who’s bought or sold a home and said they had a great experience doing it,” Black said. “It’s something people just hate and dread. We can make it better and faster and transparent and stress-free.”
The investment in Knock comes amid consistent year-over-year growth in venture capital deals for real estate technology companies. According to PitchBook, deal count in the sector has been increasing since 2010, with 351 deals closing in 2018 — a record for the space. Capital invested looks to be leveling out, with $5 billion funneled into global real estate tech startups in 2017 and $4.65 billion invested last year.
“We are at that part of the evolution cycle of the internet; the low-hanging fruit has been taken,” Black explained. “[Real estate] is so inefficient. Mostly consumers have no idea what is going on. They have no sense of control or empowerment. I just think it’s ripe for disruption.”
SoftBank is responsible for the largest deals in the space as an investor in Knock’s biggest competitors. The Vision Fund has deployed capital to both Compass and Opendoor in rounds that valued the companies at $4.4 billion and north of $2 billion, respectively. Katerra, a construction tech startup also backed by the Vision Fund, is said to be raising an additional $700 million from the prolific Japanese investor at a more than $4 billion valuation, per a recent report from The Information.
Knock previously raised a $32 million Series A in January 2017 in a round led by RRE Ventures, and is currently active in Atlanta, Charlotte, Raleigh-Durham, Dallas and Fort Worth.