Placester, a provider of listing search platforms and dirt-cheap real estate websites for agents and brokers, has raised $15 million in a Series B funding round to accelerate its growth, double its employees and, in the words of CEO Matt Barba, “continue innovating around the ways real estate agents serve local markets.”
Placester began offering one of the cheapest website products available to real estate agents in November of last year when it slashed the cost of its basic website product to $10 a month from $45.
Made possible by financial backing from investors, the price cut brought the cost of Placester’s product down the same price as Zillow’s website offering. Realtors can get Placester websites for even cheaper, $5 a month, thanks to a deal Placester inked with the National Association of Realtors (NAR) last year.
Placester said it will use its new pot of cash to double its number of employees from 50 to 100 with focus on sales and engineering. “We’ve got a robust roadmap for product releases and innovation that is going to transform how agents and brokers market themselves online,” said Barba.
Placester’s strategy is to get its technology into the hands of as many real estate agents as possible in the near term, even if that means losing money, with the goal of turning a profit in the future by eventually selling them additional products.
Placester’s agent websites provide IDX (Internet data exchange) search, mobile-friendly responsive design, lead capture and blogging capabilities. Its broker product adds websites for offices, and the ability to manage all of a team’s sites from one master broker dashboard that can be branded with the company’s logo.
The firm’s website products also provide a marketing management tool that lets agents and brokers run Facebook and Google advertising campaigns.
Plaster also powers the listing search tools of a number of publishers, including media giant Hearst Corp.