If you are a homeowner, then you may understand that one of the most expensive renovations you might have is roof repair. Generally, homeowners have to replace their roof if it is leaking or the shingles are falling off. To make the process of determining whether your roof needs to be replaced, a startup that graduated from the Y Combinator incubator called Roofr developed satellite imagery software to figure it out.
Based in Toronto, Roofr makes it easier for customers to receive a free online quote based on the satellite imagery pulled from Google Earth via APIs — which can determine the square footage and slope of the roof. Roofr is also building a service that uses machine learning and computer vision to recognize damaged roofs.
The roof replacement is provided by Roofr’s vetted contractor partners, who can replace your roof using the material of your choice. Contractors are charged a small fee whenever they do a job through Roofr. And the installers are paid once the work is complete and you are satisfied.
Roofr launched in 2016 and raised funding from Y Combinator and several other prominent investors. Roofr recently hit over $200,000 per month in gross merchandise value and is seeing about 50% month-over-month growth. As of right now, Roofr is available in Ontario, Canada, but the company is planning to launch in California over the coming weeks.
Roofr founder and CEO Richard Nelson told me that he is a third generation roofer and is a 15 year roof replacement, repair and sales veteran so he knows the industry very well. He started in the family business at age 12 and so did his father when he was 12 years old. As Nelson learned more about the roofing business, he recognized a variety of problems that could be solved with the right technology. And when the satellite imagery became a high enough quality, Nelson brought on Zach Melo and Kevin Redman as co-founders at the company to build a minimum viable product.
During the interview, I asked Nelson what his thoughts are about solar tiles being used for roofs. “The Tesla solar tiles are very exciting to us. This will most definitely become the norm in the future. By utilizing satellite imagery we will be able to provide cost estimates on solar roofing tiles in seconds and predict the amount the homeowner will save on electricity over time,” explained Nelson.
And when I asked Nelson what some of the growth challenges have been, he said that “the roofing industry is a mess. It’s filled with inexperienced contractors providing inferior services which has tainted the industry and made homeowners wary of using a new roofing service. The first three months were tough, but once a few homeowners used our service we have seen exponential growth and incredible user feedback.”
What is the Roofr’s vision for the future? “Our vision is to be the most trusted roofing marketplace in the world,” added Nelson. And Roofr plans to become available in every major city in North America within the next 5 years.
Original Date: Sept 26 2017