- Placester is working on adding natural language search, web analytics and new mobile technology to its product offerings.
- Placester claims that 1 in 5 real estate agents use its platform, thanks in part to deals with Keller Williams Realty, a Re/Max sub-franchisor and the National Association of Realtors.
- Placester, a provide of low-cost websites to real estate agents, has raised an additional $27 million.
Placester, a provider of low-cost websites to thousands of real estate agents, has raised an additional $27 million that the startup will use to build its engineering team and add new features and services to its offering, including natural language search, analytics on user activity and new mobile capabilities.
Placester has already been growing at a break-neck pace, having closed a Series B funding round of $15 million only seven months ago. The startups claims to now serve 1 in 5 real estate agents, thanks in large part due to deals with Keller Williams Realty, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and Re/Max Integra, the largest Re/Max sub-franchisor representing 30 percent of Re/Max broker-owners and sales professionals worldwide.
The startup’s financing round will further fuel Placester’s quest to “democratize” technology for real estate agents.
“Annually, $25 billion is spent on real estate marketing and advertising, yet industry professionals experience fundamental roadblocks when connecting with consumers online—where the search for a new home often begins,” said Ravi Viswanathan, general partner at New Enterprise Associates (NEA), a lead investor in the funding round, said in a statement.
“Placester’s solution enables real estate professionals to effectively connect and engage with the people they serve.”
Placester offers websites for as little as $5 a month to Realtors (thanks to an agreement with NAR), and $10 a month for non-Realtors. The websites provide IDX (Internet data exchange) search, mobile-friendly responsive design, lead capture features and blogging capabilities.
Agents can also pay for add-ons, including a customer relationship management system; drip marketing; online advertising through Google AdWords, Facebook and other channels; and coaching and support.
One feature on Placester’s product roadmap is natural language search. The startup has already added the functionality to some of its website themes, but will roll it out to others in the months ahead.
Placester CEO said the feature is “very similar to the way Google works.”
“So you can literally type anything into it, prices and bedrooms and combinations of prices and bedrooms and keywords, not only does it suggest what you’re looking for but it also instantaneously refreshes,” he said.
Also in the pipeline are web analytics that offer agents insight into how visitors are interacting with their Placester websites, such as the most popular pages and listing searches. Some products provide this type of information, but they are typically much more expensive than Placester, Barba said.
“The reason why we’re so excited about it is it brings it into their grasp,” he said.
Barba said Placester is also “leaning into” mobile, seeming to hint that the startup will roll out a mobile app product to augment its mobile-optimized websites
“I don’t think it’s going to redefine anything in the industry, I think the thing that’s powerful about it is it’s democratized technology,” Barba said.