Home improvement DIY site BuildDirect raises $30M

The e-commerce site for DIY supplies and materials gets support from Mohr Davidow Ventures

Financial trends and news by Faith Merino
January 21, 2014
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Did you know Vanilla Ice has a DIY show? It’s true! I learned this after seeing his “I Love You” video for the first time (omfg) and then wondering, “hmm, what’s Vanilla Ice up to these days? Didn’t he do some Celebrity Rehab thing?” And lo and behold, Vanilla Ice is apparently a big-time DIYer now (and why wouldn’t you trust him with your bathroom remodel when he’s proven himself so capable of picking out the best metallic neon jacket-and-parachute-pants combos?).

If you don’t want Vanilla Ice jazzing up your kitchen baseboards with the designs he had shaved into his head in the ‘80s, there’s BuildDirect. The e-commerce site for home improvement DIYers announced Tuesday that it has raised $30 million in a Series B round led by Mohr Davidow Ventures, with help from existing investor BDC Venture Capital.

Launched in 1999, BuildDirect offers manufacturer-direct prices so customers can save up to 80% on their items.

“Despite its multi-billion dollar size, the home improvement product supply chain is fragmented and inefficient. In the past several years, BuildDirect has achieved phenomenal growth by effectively leveraging sophisticated predictive analytics to address gaps and inefficiencies in the home improvement products industry,” said Katherine Barr, General Partner at Mohr Davidow Ventures, in a statement. “With this latest round of funding, BuildDirect is well poised to fulfill its goal of transforming the home improvement industry by leveraging its innovative data analytics and technology platform.”

It’s actually kind of amazing what BuildDirect can promise, given the fact that we’re talking about pretty heavy-ish orders here. (Have you ever picked up a box of tile? It’s enough to throw out your back.) The site offers free samples, coordinated shipping for items that average 1500 pounds, and free shipping on returns. Free shipping on 1500 pounds of stuff…

The company has seen over 100% user growth in the last year, and 70% of customers are returning users.

BuildDirect is headquartered in Vancouver, Canada and has warehouses throughout North America.

“As a builder I experienced the pain, complexity and lack of customer support when it came to finding high quality products at an affordable price,” said CEO Jeff Booth, in a statement. “With goods changing hands multiple times from manufacturer to retail, these suppliers lose touch with consumer demand, their product costs’ increase at each turn, and no one along the chain is willing to take responsibility for a missed deadline or product quality issue. The consumer assumes the padded costs and risks. This process does not make any sense.”

The company plans to use the new capital to build out its technology platform, expand its product offerings, and grow its employee base. Currently, it has 175 employees and plans to add another 300 over the next year. Additionally, it plans to add some 20 new product categories to the site.

BuildDirect previously raised $33 million across three rounds, bringing its total to $63 million to date.


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