Meet The Real Estate Tech Entrepreneur: Caitlin Bigelow From Maxable
This week, we interviewed Caitlin Bigelow from Maxable.
Let’s get to it!
Who are you and what do you do?
I’m the CEO and co-founder of Maxable. We’re a California-based company that connects homeowners with the resources and tools they need to build accessory dwelling units (ADUs) – otherwise known as granny flats, in-law suites or casitas – from start to finish. This includes help with project planning, property evaluations, connections to designers and builders, and support along the way.
As a mission-driven company, we are fiercely dedicated to building a world where everyone has a home and are empowering homeowners to be part of the solution. We’re optimistic that accessory dwelling units will make a big impact on the housing crisis.
Each Maxable project starts with a property/project evaluation and from there, homeowners can choose to get our help securing a lender to finance the project, hiring a designer or opt to use our in-house design team, as well as finding and managing a general contractor to lead construction.
What problem does your product/service solve?
Up until January 2017, it was almost impossible to build ADUs in California. That all changed with the passing of Senate Bill 1069, which allows any home zoned for single-family to construct a second rentable unit. This was a great win, but I soon realized how little information was available for homeowners who wanted to begin the process – which is both complicated and expensive.
We launched Maxable in 2018 to help make planning simpler, research more pleasant, and construction more efficient.
One of the most challenging aspects of building an ADU, for example, is finding a quality, cost competitive general contractor who has direct ADU experience. A homeowner can spend months just trying to find the right company to build their project. To help, Maxable has curated a network of vetted, experienced contractors and makes personalized recommendations for each homeowner based on their project, goals and budget. We also help interpret the bids since there’s no standardization across the industry – making it very hard to compare final costs. These services alone save homeowners countless hours in the research and planning phases of their projects.
What are you most excited about right now?
I’m really excited to see ADU regulations expanding outside of California. More than 50 major U.S. cities have adopted their own ADU ordinances, and it would be great to see more legislation passed at the state level as well, like what’s now being proposed in New York.
Since launching in 2018, Maxable has helped thousands of California homeowners evaluate and begin their ADU projects. Now, we’re positioning the company to respond to the hundreds of thousands – and maybe millions – of potential ADU builders in markets across the country that are updating or revising regulations.
That’ll be welcome news for the household incomes of property owners, especially those dealing with post-pandemic financial challenges. And it’s also great for society at large as we grapple with the affordable housing crisis and try to create more equitable neighborhoods.
What’s next for you?
Right now, we are focused on scaling up the services we offer and adding more online tools and resources to our platform that allow homeowners to manage their projects in a more streamlined way.
We’re also expanding our capacity within California and will soon look into bringing our services to other markets around the country. We recently closed out our seed round and are now seeking investors to help continue our expansion.
What’s a cause you’re passionate about and why?
Outside of advocating for housing policy issues, I care deeply about advocating for racial equality. As someone who’s soon to have a daughter that will be a person of color, it’s even harder to ignore the injustices embedded in so many layers of our society. This extends from access to housing, education, health care and good careers.
Thanks to Caitlin for sharing her story. If you’d like to connect, find her on LinkedIn here.
We’re constantly looking for great real estate tech entrepreneurs to feature. If that’s you, please read this post — then drop us a line (Community @ geekestate dot com).