Seattle real estate startup FlyHomes, founded in 2015 by two former Microsoft employees, acts as an intermediary buyer of homes.

Share story

As buying a home gets more competitive across Seattle, cash offers often reign supreme. So a Seattle startup is angling to help homebuyers who don’t have cash on hand to stay in the game.

FlyHomes acts as a sort of intermediary buyer for homes – it prescreens the homebuyer, then puts in an all-cash bid to the seller. If it wins, it allows the seller to move out when it’s convenient within 60 days. FlyHomes then resells the home to the original interested buyer after the standard closing period.

“What we’re effectively doing is providing a buffer,” co-founder and CEO Stephen Lane said.

What you need to know

The startup Thursday announced a $17 million funding round  led by Silicon Valley firm Andreessen Horowitz. Mark Vadon, the low-profile but prosperous Seattle entrepreneur who started online jewelry store Blue Nile and digital clothing retailer zulily, also invested in the round. Vadon originally led the company’s $2 million seed funding round last year.

Lane and co-founder Tushar Garg, both former Microsoft employees, started the company in 2015 after noticing a trend – home sellers were often choosing all-cash offers, even if others were willing to pay more with traditional financing.

FlyHomes collects the standard buyer’s agent commission, usually about 3 percent.

FlyHomes has helped people buy about 400 homes in the hot housing markets where it operates: Seattle, Chicago, Boston and the Bay Area.

The company employs teams of people to act as real estate agents and give homebuyers tours. FlyHomes is a real-estate brokerage, so it has access to MLS listings. And on the rare occasion that a buyer falls through, FlyHomes sells the home it just bought to someone else, Lane said.

The startup has 60 employees, double what it had in December, and plans to use its newest funding to expand its services and head count.