The Real Deal New York

Former Casper, HuffPost execs launch home renovation startup Block

Startup recently raised $4.5M in Seed funding
By Konrad Putzier | December 13, 2018 07:30AM

Koda Wang and Luke Sherwin

Block Renovation, a new startup founded by former Casper and HuffPost executives, wants to shake up the home renovation industry.

The platform, launched Thursday, allows users to choose between design packages online and pick materials and a contractor with one click. Block claims that its product is 25 percent cheaper than traditional home renovation booked directly with a contractor, in part because it hopes to save money by buying materials in bulk and negotiating for lower prices with suppliers.

The startup’s co-founders are Koda Wang, formerly the chief customer officer at clothing rental startup Rent the Runway and chief operating officer at media company HuffPost, and Luke Sherwin, co-founder of mattress company Casper.

“I grew up around the opaque, black box of construction and also the subculture of it, and always found it really interesting,” said Sherwin, adding that his father developed brownstones in New York in the 1980s.

Block doesn’t actually employ contractors (although it has an in-house design team). Instead, it partners with contracting and architecture firms, including Schiller Projects and Leong Leong Architects.

“The experience today, for a lot of people, is hiring two guys in a van and figure everything out themselves,” Wang said. “What we’re offering is all-inclusive packages that give consumers transparent pricing, known timelines and higher-quality outcomes.”

For now, the startup is only offering bathroom renovations in New York and New Jersey, although it plans to branch out into different types of rooms and other regions in the future.

The company recently raised around $4.5 million from investors in a Seed funding round that was led by NEA and included Lerer Ventures and Rainfall Ventures.