One of my favorite segments of Inman Real Estate Connect is the “New Kids on the Block” portion. This is where Inman introduces new real estate tech start-ups and gives them a chance to pitch their company to the audience. Their goal is to explain how their business can make a real estate professional’s life easier. They also have small booths in the vendor area in a section called “Start-Up Alley.” There were some promising companies featured at this year’s Real Estate Connect. Here’s the rundown on the companies that were featured in the “New Kids on the Block” segment.
1. Happy Inspector – A home inspection app that converts home inspection reports into PDF files for immediate sharing with attorneys, real estate professionals, consumers, etc. This app is available for the iPad only right now, but they are working on an Android version as well. This company is from Australia and the CEO said that they had much success there, so they decided to move their headquarters to Silicon Valley to build their user base. It looks like a good app for home inspectors to use. I can also see buyers using this with their home inspector so they can get inspection results immediately.
2. HomeVisor – A matchmaking service that matches buyers and sellers to agents who specialize in a particular area of real estate. For example, if I need to sell my house in a short sale in a certain location, HomeVisor will find me an agent in the area who specializes in short sales. The idea is great, but the problem they currently have is it’s too labor intensive. They actually call agents in an area to find one that specializes in a sector of real estate. This can take a few days. If they can improve on this and find a faster way to do this, it could be a great tool both for agents and consumers.
3. Honest Buildings – Mostly for commercial real estate, this company helps give consumers information about buildings through their their website. It’s also a network to find qualified professionals such as real estate brokers and tradesmen. I like this company because they shed light on an area of real estate that is still very close-knit. Unfortunately, they have very little residential property information.
4. Lovely – A consumer facing rental property search portal. The website is livelovely.com, and it’s got some pretty cool features. It’s simple to use and you can save searches so that you can be notified first when listings come up for rent. You can also get verified by the website (called a Renter’s Resume) so that landlords can access this information about you. You can also e-mail this information to them. It sounds good for big city leasing, but is more sporadic in suburbs. I don’t know where they get their data from, but it’s probably like Craigslist, where agents and owners can upload their own listings.
5. Ravinta – This is one of my favorite “New Kids.” This company helps agents retain clients by tracking client search activity on real estate portals. The agent encourages their client to look on the various search portals (i.e. Homes.com), and the client agrees to initiate the tool. When a client looks at a listing, it downloads to the agents’s file so that he or she can see what their client is looking for. Sounds creepy, but it can be very powerful.
6. Videolisciuos – This company has the best chance of making it, because they are backed by Amazon.com. What this video app does is let a user add photos, video, text and music to produce video tours of properties. It’s not real estate specific, so you can use it for other videos as well. It’s a cool app that reminds of iMovie, but is more social. iMovie allows for immediate Facebook and You Tube uploads, this one also has Twitter. They have apps available for iPad and iPhone already, with Android to follow. Check them out at videolicious.com.
7. Dream Commerce – Another strong company at Inman, this company has apps available in the iTunes store as well. This app allows real estate professionals to connect with clients in a social environment (private) where they can share listings, ideas, etc. It also makes it easy for agents to share listings with people on the social platforms. They have some patent pending technology that gives each listing a personalized “Dream Score.” This company is very interesting and I think they are going places. Check them out at dreamcommerce.co.
I wish I had time to speak with every CEO of these start ups. I didn’t. But I think that they all have a chance to make it if they can show some early success. Starting a company is an exciting venture, but takes a lot of work. I wish them all the best.