Anyone in the real estate and construction business can tell you that any home improvement project is challenging to finish. From finding a trusted contractor, to the wide range of estimates and timelines, “the home improvement space is broken,” explains Mighty CEO Jen Yosef. By focusing on the real estate transaction and home improvement, Mighty connects real estate agents with contractors to provide estimates for work in just 24 hours.
With over 900 contracting jobs completed since its founding, Mighty prioritizes the customer experience, leveraging feedback, data, and an understanding of the market to drive business decisions.
The platform not only links up agents with contractors, but it takes it a step beyond typical home improvement sites and helps manage the projects to completion. Mighty vouches for the contractors they recommend, unlike other home improvement platforms, who might benefit solely from lead generation. “Some other sites, a contractor can pay to have a bad review taken down,” Yosef says. Mighty instead builds lasting relationships with agents and contractors.
Mighty uses data and machine learning to help streamline the estimation process, making it possible to turn around an estimate of work in under 24 hours, based on data and pricing from previous projects. But in the end, Yosef acknowledges, human interaction is at the heart of the experience. “In this industry, you cannot automate the entire process. Buying and selling is such an emotional process, that if you take out human involvement, you’re not going to be successful.”
When Mighty first started, it offered entire renovation projects with home owners in a very traditional service model, connecting homeowners or agents with contractors. The team learned early on that this process would be challenging to streamline and replicate. But, through the relationships they developed with real estate agents, pain points around the inspection process came to light.
During a home sale, buyers typically require an inspection executed by a certified home inspector. Even for the most prepared homeowners and real estate agents, it’s not uncommon for the inspector to turn up a laundry list of repair recommendations ranging from fixing outlets and replacing light bulbs to restoring the foundation. During this high stress time of a home sale, getting estimates for these repairs can be time consuming and a headache for the agent or homeowner. With that insight, Mighty pivoted to help the real estate agents provide estimates for repairs during the home inspection process. Mighty offers agents not only an estimate for inspection repairs in less than a day, but also connections to trusted contractors in the area willing to do the work.
“I learned quickly never to be married to one idea,” says Yosef, who came on as Mighty’s CEO just ten months after its founding, “that’s such a small part of a company’s success.” With eight years of experience in the energy industry as a civil/nuclear engineering managing projects, her jump to lead a small startup might’ve been unconventional, but not entirely unexpected.
“One of my biggest heartburns [in previous roles] was the lack of innovation,” Yosef says. “I always kind of had that itch to work on projects where you’re testing quickly, trying out new methodologies.”
When a mentor recommended she join Mighty, Yosef quickly realized she’d been an entrepreneur all along. But, her background working with larger companies has kept her from falling into some of the pitfalls entrepreneurs sometimes find themselves in.
“We all know the statistic that nine of out ten startups fail, but when you’re running a startup, you tend to be in denial about that,” Yosef says. “My experience feels a little different. I don’t ever get caught up in how a traditional startup should run or should operate because I look at it as a business, not a startup.”
With that mix of startup agility and traditional business-sense, Mighty’s prioritizes listening to the customer and improving the product based on their input. With that foundation of trust among real estate agents in place,Yosef thinks expansion and brand awareness could be seamless.
That mix of ML and the human touch, coupled with a startup’s agility mixed-in with traditional business sense is Mighty’s guiding core values. While Yosef never rules out pivots or changes in the future, her focus on listening to the user making home improvement easier won’t be changing any time soon.
EMMA DIEHL – Contributing Writer
Emma is a Pittsburgh-based technology and lifestyle writer, covering everything from machine learning in law enforcement to historic building preservation. Her byline has appeared on XOJane, NPR, Huffington Post, NEXTPittsburgh, and Very Local.
Originally published on Friday, May 21st, 2019