Second Century Ventures, a new company launched by the National Association of Realtors to consider investments in the development real estate technology applications, will formally begin operations in January.

The technology incubator is part of a series of Realtor group initiatives that will be supported by a $16 per member national dues increase in 2008, bringing national dues to $80 per year per member, plus a $30 annual special assessment for the association’s public awareness advertising campaign.

A board of directors was approved for Second Century Ventures during the association’s conference in Las Vegas in November, said Mark Lesswing, director of the National Association of Realtors’ Center for Realtor Technology, an in-house division that supports NAR members, state and local Realtor groups and multiple listing services in the development, selection and use of technologies.

Dale Stinton, CEO for NAR, was named an ex-officio member of the Second Century Ventures board, and other NAR representatives include: Ron Phipps, Jeff Young, Steve Harding, Jim Helsel, Dale Ross, George Stephens and Colleen Badagliacco, according to a report presented at NAR’s board of directors meeting in November. The company’s board will also include an “outside director to be determined.”

Helsel, of Lemoyne, Pa., is a member of NAR’s leadership team and serves as 2008 treasurer for the trade group. He has been a Realtor for 33 years and is a partner with RSR Realtors, a real estate brokerage company in Harrisburg, Pa.

Phipps, a Realtor since 1978 who served on the national association’s 2007 Executive Committee and is broker-president of Phipps Realty Inc. in Warwick, R.I., was among a recommended slate of candidates for NAR officers in 2009.

Young is the incoming president of the Michigan Association of Realtors, Harding is executive vice president of the Tennessee Association of Realtors.

Ross in 1994 co-founded the Washington, D.C.-area Metropolitan Regional Information Systems MLS and served for nine years as its president and CEO.

Stephens is a director for the Houston Association of Realtors, and Badagliacco served as the 2007 president for the California Association of Realtors trade group.

The new company will “pursue the evaluation, investment and monitoring of technological opportunities focused on the real estate industry” and “offer and provide financing and funding for the development of technology applications focused on the real estate industry,” according to information presented to NAR’s board in May.

A blog post by NAR during its November 2007 conference stated that the company will “consider potential technology initiatives from third parties.”

Lesswing said that the company is already accepting submissions for project proposals. He also said that he will be in attendance at the Real Estate Connect conference in New York next month “to continue the process of identifying new projects and qualifying existing projects.”

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