Philadelphia Business Journal: Houwzer secures $2M in seed money

Posted on May 17, 2017

Houwzer has raised $2 million in funding, making a splash in several news outlets including the Philadelphia Business Journal.

Houwzer secures $2M in seed money

By: Natalie Kostelni

May 17, 2017

Houwzer, a technology company that is looking to disrupt the traditional residential real estate brokerage business, has secured $2 million in seed funding.

This is the first outside investment the Philadelphia company has raised and it procured the funds from three main sources: Jay Minkoff, a real estate entrepreneur and co-founder of, who also serves as Houwzer’s chairman and operating partner; Ben Franklin Technology Partners; and the StartupPHL Angel Fund. Several other investors also contributed. 

Of the money, $1.6 million has already closed with the remainder set to close June 1.

Up to this point, Houwzer has been bootstrapping its growth and for Mike Maher, who co-founded the company in February 2015, the funding comes at a time when he is ready to expand the business into other markets. Maher also helped launch Benjamin’s Desk, a locally-based co-working operator, with his brother Anthony Maher.

When Houwzer was formed, the company had a team of six people. Now it has 35 employees. Maher expects that figure to grow to 50 by year's end.

The company, which has a presence in Philadelphia, South Jersey and the western suburbs, is looking to establish more outposts throughout the region as well as launch in an undisclosed major metropolitan area in the mid-Atlantic. The money will also be used to invest in building a technology-based platform that seeks to make buying and selling a house a “much more simplified transactional experience,” he said.

Houwzer bills itself as a zero-percent listing commission model that saves those buying and selling residential properties money by not charging the traditional 6 percent commission fee. Instead it charges 3 percent. Houwzer looks to change the way real estate sales happen much in the way that technology has changed the travel, stock brokerage and other businesses.

“It’s a consumer play in a massive market,” Maher said.

Maher spent the last six months making his pitch to investors and there were challenges along the way.

“Unlike many startups, we’re not a product but a services business and we have to tell a different story,” he said.

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