Buying a home is statistically the biggest investment in most people’s lives. Yet, closing on a home is surrounded by anxiety, stress and uncertainty all the way up to the moment the ink is dry. Jen Yosef, co-founder and CEO of Mighty, has made it her mission to remove the pain from one of the most critical moments of the transaction - going through the inspection and finding out with utmost accuracy and unprecedented speed what those fixes will cost to make sure the deal goes through.
We’ve all been there. Buyer finds the home of their dreams. Seller gets a return for their investment. And realtor awaits their hard earned paycheck after countless open houses and even more showings. Everybody’s happy, right? Not so fast. The inspection comes through, reporting broken windows, a leaking roof and an electrical irregularity. An otherwise smooth transaction throws everything back on the negotiating table because of the inability to determine with accuracy and transparency what the associated costs will be.
Enter Mighty. An AI-powered app that gathers big data to deliver buyers, sellers and agents a laser accurate estimate of the repair costs within hours to put every party’s mind at ease and let the transaction proceed as planned. “The real estate transaction is stressful and frustrating for the buyers and for the sellers and our mission was always to empower the real estate agent to be able to help the buyer and seller in the best form possible,” comments Jen. “The glaring problem that we saw was that when it comes to inspections, to home repair, to contracting, it’s a huge pain point. After inspections everybody knows all the things that are wrong but nobody can tell you what they cost. And that’s where Mighty’s intelligent technology comes into play, within 24 hours or less you get these numbers in your hands and now as a buyer and seller you feel so much more confident understanding you know what things are going to cost. Having that data and transparency with you is a huge way to optimize the entire transaction.”
We asked Jen, what’s the secret sauce to deliver such accuracy so fast? “Having a network of contractors helps, but we’re getting more from the vast amounts of publicly available data and becoming more of an AI company. We go deep into understanding a property and say ‘there’s a roof and let’s break it down, it’s an asphalt roof, what needs to be replaced or repaired, etc.’ so we tap into as much information and knowledge as possible. This allows us to deliver extremely high accuracy, we’re talking 99.9 percent,” Jen reassures. But that’s apparently just the beginning “The next couple of years for Mighty is building out our technology to get into virtually instantaneous estimating. Within seconds a real estate agent and consumers are going to know all the data they need in terms of pricing.”
In a city fighting to dial up its diversity in tech, Jen stands out as a bit of a poster child. Originally from Dubai, she is one of the very few immigrant females of color at the helm of a tech company. While she appreciates numerous benefits from Pittsburgh as a tech hub, she also recognizes the challenges that lie ahead. “The advantages of being in Pittsburgh is that in terms of academia and technology we’ve got excellent talent. The challenge that we have is that investment is tough. Pittsburgh in general is a risk averse city so you don’t have a lot of investors saying ‘hey we really want to grow the startup scene, grow the tech ecosystem. On top of that, when you add female entrepreneurs and women of color such as myself we’re talking about a whole other set of challenges.” But that hasn’t made a dent in her tenacity to move forward. “As immigrants, we have that crazy amount of grit and a crazy amount of perseverance to be able to take a company to the next level and I think a lot of people that know the journey of Mighty have seen where Mighty started and where it is today. And a lot of it has to do with how diverse my team is and the kind of experience we have brought in.”
These issues have been raised by many a tech entrepreneur in town, but you do tend to hear more about the problems than the solutions. We asked Jen to share some thoughts on overcoming this. “First, every single company has a duty and a responsibility to be very mindful of their diverse hiring, it means expanding where you’re going out and finding your talent. Go a little bit deeper because talent may not be able to find you because they don’t have access to you. Second, is being engaged in mentoring. I make it an effort, even if it is only a few hours a week, to help create a virtuous cycle. And third, having each one of us tapping into different ways to continue to grow the ecosystem is going to be critical. Since I moved here a few years ago I’ve seen a ton of improvement, how we’re looking at diversity, having more diverse founders and how we’re finding ways to support these companies and help them thrive.”
Back in 2008, upon graduating college, Jen had an offer to join a Pittsburgh company. “I came to town and I said ‘no way, I’m never coming to Pittsburgh.’ And then in the 2015 time frame I got another offer with a company that I already knew, and when I came back I said ‘wow, it has really changed, it’s got a great food scene, a lot to do here, it’s got great arts and theatre and culture and stuff like that.” The rest is history. She’s now made it her home and home to her tech startup and hopes many others will join her. “We need to focus on how do we get more people to think ‘Pittsburgh’s my home, I love it, I never want to move.’” For those taking her on her offer, she’s got a great app for you as soon as you find a new home.