Having raised $300 million and more than more than $500 million in debt. Opendoor has become a model for a new kind of tech upstart: Call it the fat start-up.
Opendoor fits that mold. Its plan is precarious: It faces rising competition, high operating costs and — because we are talking about the market that caused the global financial crisis — the possibility of an unforeseen blowup. But if it works, Opendoor could be transformative; by making buying and selling houses as easy as buying and selling cars, it might thoroughly alter the American economy and change how we think of homeownership. “Real estate is a $25 trillion asset class — people spend more on housing than food, transit, health care and education,” said Eric Wu, a founder and the chief executive of Opendoor. “We think we can make it work much better than it does now.”