Lee Rotenberg’s Message: Turning the Corner on a Marketplace

As many of you know, I found myself in the middle of the Ivy/Houzz controversy last week. A lot has been said about how IvyMark is trying to support the design community, and that it is not about the money. If you listened to my interview with Lee Rotenberg, one of the co-founders, you heard how she berated, tried to bully, talk down, and talk over me… yet still managing to avoid my main questions while accusing me of being a “fear-monger.” I, like many of my interior designer friends, feel that the sale was nothing more than a way to leverage the data that Ivy was able to mine from designers, collected by their platform, AND from their “private” chat community the designers were invited into…all under the guise of trying to build a better solution FOR DESIGNERS.

A friend of mine just shared a piece that was written by Lee on 2/6/2018 titled “Turning the Corner on a Marketplace – One Year Ahead of Schedule.” This article was posted on Medium.com, but was quickly scrubbed. Thankfully, an interior designer was smart enough to save it as a PDF so I could share it with you. Here is the article.  I have copied and pasted the text, but would gladly email out the original capture to anyone that would like to see it.  Sorry, I could not get the graphics to copy over…but they are just boring graphs.

Today IvyMark is the leading operating system for interior design firms. Everything a firm does — from ideation, sourcing, collaboration, billing clients and paying vendors — is done on IvyMark’s platform.

The neat thing about owning 100% of our users’ workflow is that we’re bringing their transactional networks online. Two weeks ago I wrote how we had $121M in transactions in our first 12 months and now at the time of writing this we’re at $153M in transactions (comprised of credit card, ACH, and check):

This crazy invoicing volume is even crazier when you think about it’s impact on IvyMark’s greater mission of reshaping the way B2B commerce works in the home remodeling space. Every line item in every invoice feeds IvyMark with data that doesn’t exist anywhere else and allows us to understand the types of vendors that are being used on projects (budget, geolocation, style, room), as well as the vendors that were included on proposals that never made it to the invoice stage.

By owning the workflow of interior design firms IvyMark is the iceberg of trade decision-making, whereas ecomm players like Wayfair are just the tip of it. What exactly do I mean? Well, we see the entire story of how sourcing decisions are made — not just whether a product is added to checkout cart or not — and how these choices translate into the invoices themselves. That’s the magic of owning the workflow.

You know that little thing called Pinterest? Interior design firms pinned products to create ideation boards for their clients within Pinterest — that is, until IvyMark introduced our Product Clipper that empowers designers to source products from anywhere on the web directly into the proposals & invoices (BOOM! Now that’s a timesaver!).

Since launching the clipper in December 2016 we’ve had more than 154,681 products added into our system giving IvyMark unique perspective on how interior designers source.

IvyMark’s ownership of a firms workday enabled us to launch Discover this month— a year ahead of schedule — because our users built out this section for us. That’s the unstoppable magic of being the center of the decision-maker’s workflow.

Unveiling Discover: A new way for the trade to find the right pros Discover is a new section within our platform that allows users to connect with service pros outside of their existing network. The really unique thing about Discover is it’s 100% curated by our community — service pros are only included if they’ve done business with our members. This is an important element because it creates a trusted knowledge exchange amongst industry peers.

In the first 7 days of going live with Discover over 600 firms used this feature even before we announced it. Our team wasn’t surprised by the success of this silent launch because we see over 28,500 discussions on sourcing products & pros from the Ivy Community every single month.

Discover has done two really important things: 1) IvyMark is now more than just a platform to run a business — we are the place to source & discover new connections; 2) IvyMark is gaining deeper understanding on how new connections are made to empower better ones in the future.

We’re passionate about helping businesses run better and in doing so we’re reshaping the way the industry does business.

Why did they not want people to see this online after the sale and the fallout? Would love to hear your thoughts on this.

About the Author
Host of The Chaise Lounge and The Business Brush Podcast, owner of Walls by Design, and Creative Director for iMayMedia LLC.

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