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Meet Raf Howery of Kukun

Today we’d like to introduce you to Raf Howery.

Raf, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My wife and I loved buying old homes and flipping them in such a way where we kept their original character. Along the process we recognized that the experience of renovating a home is fragmented which made it much harder to execute. We recognized that along the process we needed at a minimum the services of four industries: Real Estate, Lending, Construction and Retail. As we started to think about how we would aggregate these services so that consumers can find them all in one place similar to the way you use Expedia or Priceline for travel, we ran into a friend realtor who said to us that she loses over 20% of her clients because they want a buy a property with a move in condition which they cannot afford and that they hated remodeling. At that moment we decided we needed to do something about that hatred. We coined it “Renophobia”

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
No… not at all…we had quite a few but they were surmountable… Time was our biggest challenge… Things took a lot longer than we anticipated and that put some strains on our finances.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Kukun – what should we know?
We call ourselves the Expedia of home remodeling. We have taken a customer journey approach for any typical remodeling project and tried to solve the key pain point. We know that every remodeling project starts with researching, then calling a contractor to figure out the costs, securing the money, identify contractors to talk to, selecting the ones you want to receive a quote from, selecting the winner, managing the project to completion and finally shopping.

At Kukun (www.mykukun.com), a user can find educational content, a cost estimator where we act like we are a construction company online, a directory of contractors where we collect their work history and reviews across the net to see all in one place, request a loan, create a quote request and compare feature and a management tool. Our cost estimator and our sophisticated ROI calculator are what we are famous for. We have banks and lenders using it to help their customers and we have a lot of users using it daily.

We are 100% consumer focused and represent their interest. Our tools are honest but fair to the contractors. Home owners get answers and choices for free and contractors get leads for free. No one can claim that… We are also the holders of the largest fully normalized and enhanced building permit database…

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
My wife Lin probably. Without her, this could not happen. I am also thankful to Tom Tognoli the CEO of Intero Real Estate (a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate) for believing in us early on and giving a chance by placing our solutions on their website for their customers.

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