Startup pitch competition: Jason invests $25K | E1748 | Summary and Q&A

May 23, 2023
This Week in Startups
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Startup pitch competition: Jason invests $25K | E1748


Neighbor Bright offers a marketplace for homeowners and contractors to find and collaborate on home improvement projects, while Coffee Closers provides data-driven insights for real estate investors to find profitable properties.

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Key Insights

  • 😀 Neighbor Bright offers a unique marketplace solution that addresses the challenges faced by homeowners and contractors in finding and collaborating on home improvement projects.
  • 🪛 Coffee Closers provides real estate investors with valuable data-driven insights to identify profitable properties and make informed investment decisions.
  • 🛀 Both startups have shown traction and potential for growth, with early paying customers and a clear understanding of their target markets.
  • 🪡 Pricing strategy is a crucial aspect for both startups, and further evaluation may be needed to ensure they are capturing the full value they offer.
  • 💪 Building strong communities and partnerships will be essential for long-term success and scalability.
  • 🐕‍🦺 There is the potential for future expansion and diversification, as both Neighbor Bright and Coffee Closers have identified additional services and markets they could explore.
  • 💗 Continual customer acquisition and retention efforts will be vital to maintain and grow their user base.


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Questions & Answers

Q: How does Neighbor Bright acquire users for their marketplace?

Neighbor Bright initially started by reaching out to neighbors on Nextdoor and has seen positive responses. They offer a limited-time, limited-user group page where homeowners can join and find contractors for their projects.

Q: What types of home improvement projects does Neighbor Bright focus on?

Currently, Neighbor Bright focuses on landscaping projects, particularly converting gardens into drought-tolerant landscaping. However, they plan to expand into other exterior projects such as roofing, solar installation, and heat pumps.

Q: How does Coffee Closers differentiate itself from its competitors in the real estate analysis space?

Coffee Closers provides data-driven insights for on-market properties, rather than focusing on off-market properties like some of its competitors. They offer reports on individual properties or a monthly subscription for investors to find profitable deals.

Q: How does Coffee Closers plan to scale its user base and revenue?

Coffee Closers aims to tap into real estate forums and online communities to share insights and reports regularly. By providing valuable information and establishing a reputation, they hope to attract and convert more users into paying customers.


In this episode of This Week in Startups, Jason Calacanis interviews two founders from his Founder University program. The first founder, Luis, presents NeighborBright, a marketplace for groups of homeowners and contractors to collaborate on home improvement projects. The second founder, Liam, presents Coffee Closers, a platform that helps real estate investors find profitable properties by analyzing data and ranking them from top to bottom based on potential profit. Both founders receive feedback and advice from Jason on their business models, pricing strategies, and market potential.

Questions & Answers

Q: What is NeighborBright and how does it work?

NeighborBright is a marketplace that connects groups of homeowners with contractors for home improvement projects. Homeowners join a group, provide project details, and the platform facilitates the bidding process to get the best price from top contractors. NeighborBright also offers design services and handles payment facilitation. The goal is to create a community of homeowners and contractors to collaborate on projects and save time and money.

Q: How did NeighborBright acquire its initial users and what has the response been so far?

NeighborBright initially reached out to homeowners on Nextdoor, a social networking service for neighborhoods. The response was positive, with many homeowners showing interest in the idea. They have already signed 10 contracts worth a total of $5,000 and received positive feedback from early users. Homeowners appreciate the convenience, cost savings, and transparency provided by NeighborBright.

Q: How does Coffee Closers help real estate investors find profitable properties?

Coffee Closers is a platform that analyzes data for every property in a target city and ranks them based on monthly profit and cash on cash return. This helps real estate investors like Luis find great deals without the need to manually search and analyze each property. The platform offers individual property reports for a fee or monthly subscriptions for access to multiple cities.

Q: How did Coffee Closers come up with its pricing model?

Coffee Closers initially determined its pricing model through trial and error. They started with the current pricing and found some success. However, Jason suggests that they may be undervaluing their service and advises them to consider a higher price point based on the value provided to customers.

Q: Is there a potential for AI or machine learning to be integrated into Coffee Closers?

While Coffee Closers currently focuses on solving the problem of finding cash-flowing real estate deals without relying on AI, cofounder Liam mentions that his partner has a background in machine learning. They are open to exploring the use of AI in the future, but they want to ensure that AI is integrated in a way that addresses a specific need and adds value to their service.

Q: What advice do you have for these startups in terms of pricing and expanding their services?

For NeighborBright, Jason suggests increasing their take rate, as they may currently be undervaluing their service. He also advises focusing on finding great vendors and providing exceptional service to homeowners. As for Coffee Closers, Jason recommends reevaluating their pricing to better reflect the value they provide to real estate investors. He also suggests continuing to build out their platform and considering additional services like helping investors find great cities to invest in.

Q: How have the founders benefited from participating in Founder University?

Both Luis and Liam express their appreciation for the Founder University program. Luis highlights the value of the community and mentorship provided, as well as the guidance he received for a VC pitch. Liam emphasizes the motivation and accountability that comes with being part of a startup community, which helped him stay focused and productive.

Q: What factors does Jason consider when deciding to invest in early-stage startups?

Jason looks for founders who are builders, have early traction, and demonstrate passion and determination for solving a problem. He also assesses the market potential and the value proposition of each startup. While the initial investments are small, Jason sees them as the start of a relationship and looks forward to seeing the startups' progress and potential for further investment.


NeighborBright has identified a common problem for homeowners and contractors and created a marketplace that streamlines the process of finding and completing home improvement projects. Coffee Closers offers a valuable service to real estate investors by providing data-driven insights to identify profitable properties. Both startups have received positive feedback and have potential for growth. The founders have gained valuable insights and support from participating in Founder University, and Jason highlights the importance of pricing, value proposition, and community in the success of early-stage startups.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Neighbor Bright brings together homeowners and contractors in group deals for home improvement projects, providing design services, bidding processes, and payment facilitation.

  • Coffee Closers helps real estate investors find profitable properties by running the numbers on all available properties and ranking them based on profitability.

  • Both startups have gained traction and revenue through their innovative solutions in their respective industries.

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