The latest startup in online real estate launches today, aiming to mesh a cross-section of real estate data and for-sale listings into one place where consumers can customize and save their preferences and share with others.
Terabitz, based in Northern California’s Silicon Valley, enters an already crowded online real estate marketplace and hopes to put the home-search puzzle pieces together created by its predecessors.
The company, which has raised $10 million in funding from Tudor Capital, has created a cross between a real estate portal, search engine and bookmarking site. Users can customize information on specific ZIP codes for display on their dashboards, which function like a “home page” during their real estate search.
While many of its predecessors aim to be the starting point for consumers or a destination site where they can find anything and everything to answer their questions, Terabitz currently functions more as a research utility used to pull in information from many sources.
The site pulls in content such as mortgage calculators, for-sale listings, recently sold property data, market sales and pricing trends, crime statistics and other neighborhood information such as nearest schools, restaurants, banks, post offices and coffee shops. Users are then pushed out to the source of the data when they click on listings, for instance.
The data is collected from 30-35 sources of information, depending on what’s available in the user’s location. These sources and data points can be dragged and dropped into nine different display boxes on the screen.
Once users create a combination of the information points that matter most to them, they can click a tab to display overlays of the information on a map.
As with all Internet real estate startups aiming for a national audience, the challenge is in obtaining a comprehensive feed of listings information that complements the other publicly available information.
Ashfaq Munshi, CEO and founder of Terabitz, said the company already has partnerships with some multiple listing services for property listings feeds and he expects to announce more types of partnerships in coming months.
The site gets the local data — such as grocery store locations, nearest tutoring providers and cafes — from the same source that provides this information to sites like Google, he said. Terabitz also has licensed and paid for some of the data being used, he said, and scrapes it from other sources when necessary.
Munshi claims Terabitz is not competing with existing real estate sites like Trulia and Zillow and instead views them more as partners that would provide the information Terabitz would push out to consumers.
“We don’t believe there’s a single site out there that integrates information the way (Terabitz) does,” he said.
Some might disagree, as there are examples of real estate brokerage sites that incorporate a lot of local data with for-sale listings, mortgage calculators and market trends. These sites, though, tend to focus on a single market or a handful of markets rather than national coverage.
Munshi said the company plans to monetize the site by offering sponsorship opportunities to the various types of information. For instance, a mortgage lender could sponsor the information on mortgage rates, he said, or a company like Starbucks may want to have its icon displayed in the “nearby cafes” section.
The CEO credits the concept behind Terabitz to his son, Kamran Munshi, who at the age of 15 was inspired by the opportunities Google’s mapping mash-ups were creating for real estate applications. He said his son noticed that consumers had to visit several Web sites to get things like school information, crime statistics, nearest daycare centers, pictures of neighborhoods and for-sale listings.
Munshi hired a team of engineers and set out to create a site that would integrate these data points, while enabling users to visualize it so they could see on a map how far away points of interest are from the property that’s for sale. The other key aspect of the site, he said, would enable users to take a snapshot of their findings and send them to their spouses, family members, agents or whoever else is involved in the buying decisions.
Terabitz is Munshi’s first foray into real estate, but the executive is no stranger to technology start-ups. He’s founded four Silicon Valley companies including Radiance, Vivecon, SpecialtyMD and Commerce Engine, and previously served as CEO of Level5 Networks.
In addition to Ashfaq Munshi and son Kamran, the Terabitz executive team includes a mesh of technology and real estate professionals including Kevin Akeroyd, who formerly served as general manager of mortgage at HouseValues; Chris Kosloski, a former vice president of sales at Move Inc.; and Travis Chow, who founded Neighboroo.