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Amid a housing shortage, a budding New York PropTech company is off to a roaring start with a platform that allows buyers to design their dream homes.

Alec Hartman, Mitch Wainer, and Ben Uretsky had recently left Digital Ocean, a cloud infrastructure services provider they had founded and were looking for a new challenge.

They found it in Welcome Homes, launching the company in 2020 with the initial idea that it would help people build and design homes with the help of an online platform.

Hartman, who had been searching for a new home after the birth of his first child, only to come up empty-handed, was the driving force behind the new venture.

“I didn’t like anything I saw, and I wanted a new house, and I couldn’t get one,” Hartman told TechCrunch. “And like every crazy tech person, you have to ask questions like, ‘Why can’t I go online and get a house? Why is this so difficult?’

Three years later, the new PropTech company is well along the road to success, hauling in $29 million during its most recent round of venture capital funding, while also having finetuned its original concept.

The focus of the company has also changed from its initial days. Back then, Welcome Homes offered an open-ended platform for designing a home.

However, the trio realized that users didn’t necessarily want to be confronted with a potentially bewildering set of choices.

Welcome Homes platform now attempts to strike a balance between the two, offering a series of templates or home styles to pick from, while allowing users to scroll through a series of choices related to design, features, and layout.

After revamping the concept in 2021, sales took off in 2022, growing six-fold, the company founders told TechCrunch.

The Welcome Homes platform offers more than just a fancy site with templates of gleaming luxury homes.

The aim is to provide a one-stop shopping portal for buyers looking for a custom-built home, from securing a site to build on, to mortgage financing and then construction.

The cost can range from just $600,000 to $1.75 million – not including land.

Welcome Homes is now doing business in Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, though no word yet on Massachusetts.

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