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2009 Innovator Awards Winners

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SAN FRANCISCO — Frank Borges LLosa, founder of and, has received the 2009 Inman News Innovator of the Year Award, an individual honor that he won today during a ceremony at the Real Estate Connect conference.

Separate awards, also announced today, recognize innovative companies in five categories.

LLosa’s site enables real estate professionals to share photos and text descriptions as a supplement to multiple listing service-provided information. also enables keyword searches of MLS content. Before launching, LLosa (pronounced YO-sa) traveled the world as a photographer, capturing vivid imagery in the Amazon, Israel and Tibet, among other faraway lands.

In describing the effort to Inman News last year (see article), LLosa said, "It’s the world of ‘coopetition.’ While you are competing with these other people, we all work together."

The Innovator of the Year Award recognizes an individual who embodies the spirit of innovation in the real estate industry.

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Bob Hale, who for 20 years has served as president and CEO for the Houston Association of Realtors, received the 2008 Innovator of the Year award. And other past winners include the entire Craigslist online community (2007); Mark Lesswing, chief technology officer and senior vice president of the National Association of Realtors (2006); Prudential Real Estate Affiliates’ then-President Earl Lee (2005); and HouseValues CEO Ian Morris (2004).

Also today, Nest Realty Group received the Most Innovative Brokerage or Franchise Award. Based in Charlottesville, Va., Nest Realty is a full-service, boutique real estate firm. The company’s Web site offers a straightforward home-search tool and detailed reports for specific communities. Nest Realty is the brainchild of Jonathan Kauffman, the company’s principal broker, who got his start in the industry as a real estate investor.

Other category finalists included: @properties, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, Coldwell Banker, John L. Scott and Redfin. took the award for Most Innovative New Technology. Owned and operated by ClosingCorpInc., a real estate information services company based in La Jolla, Calif., is all about transparency in the pricing of closing services. The site allows users to comparison-shop online for a range of closing services.

Other finalists in the "Most Innovative New Technology" category included: Dwellicious, SmarterAgent, Walk Score and the Zillow iPhone app. …CONTINUED