- NAR's venture capital arm has announced the members of the 2016 class of its real estate tech accelerator.
- They include startups focused on seller leads, 3-D staging, lead identity authentication and streamlined mortgage lending
- Other real estate tech accelerators include programs run by Moderne Ventures and MetaProp NYC.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has pulled back the curtain on the crop of industry-friendly tech startups that it believes are providing some of the most promising tools to real estate agents and their clients.
Firms focused on generating seller leads, 3-D staging, lead identity authentication and streamlined mortgage lending were among startups selected by the trade group to be a part of the 2016 class of its tech accelerator, NAR REach.
The accelerator, an eight-month program managed by NAR’s venture capital arm, Second Century Ventures, is designed to give a boost to startups covering real estate and related industries, in part by offering enrollees mentorship by more than 100 industry stakeholders.
Having launched in 2013, REach was one of the first real estate tech accelerators, but a number of others have sprouted over the last two years, amid growing interest from investors in real estate startups. Other real estate tech accelerators include programs run by Moderne Ventures, an early-stage venture fund founded by the former director of Second Century Ventures, and MetaProp NYC.
Startups that enrolled in REach’s 2015 class agreed to pay a marketing fee of up to $25,000 to Second Century Ventures and hand over equity stakes of between 2 and 5 percent, Inman reported last year. NAR spokeswoman Sara Wiskerchen said NAR doesn’t disclose program fees when asked if fees had changed for REach’s 2016 class.
The members of REach’s 2016 class are:
- Flipt lets agents launch marketing campaigns targeting “motivated home sellers in five minutes.” The campaigns are supposed to push ads with the right message at the right time to homeowners, and direct prospects to landing pages that collect their contact information.
- Homeselfe, a patent-pending technology designed by Energy Datametrics, enables real estate professionals to help clients lower their utility bills and get rebates for upgrades.
- HomeDiary lets homeowners and buyers visualize designs and furniture layouts for rooms in interactive 3-D renderings and keep a log of projects and a scrapbook for design ideas.
- Sindeo offers technology that helps lenders process loans more efficiently and improves communication between homebuyers and real estate agents.
- Trust Stamp, which is slated to launch in a few weeks, almost instantly authenticates the identities of strangers by analyzing photos, public records and social media accounts. The service, which generates “trustworthiness scores,” could help agents vet strangers before deciding whether to show homes.
- VA Loan Captain, an online marketplace for mortgages guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, provides agents with tools that help them attract military and veteran homebuyers.
- Zenergyst offers a broker management and transaction system that’s designed to shepherd transactions from lead to close.
Second Century Ventures scooped up its 2016 class from a pool of hundreds of applicants.
Unlike some other startup incubators, REach is not focused on helping participating firms raise money. Instead, the program aims to help companies grow revenue, by tweaking their products to best fit the real estate industry, and by providing networking channels to get them face to face with decision-makers. Enrollees have access to over 150 advisers and mentors.
“On average our REach graduates have grown their customer bases by 90 percent throughout the program and have gone on to raise $50 million collectively after participating in the program,” Wiskerchen said.
Second Century Ventures has chosen to make investments (beyond the REach enrollment equity fee) in four graduates — Updates, SmartZip, Goby and Planwise — and is “currently evaluating investments in several other companies,” she said.
“The exposure and feedback they will receive from working with some of the best in the business through one-on-one meetings and at real estate events will set them up for success in ways not possible through any other program,” said Mark Birschbach, managing director of REach, of REach class members.