By Cila Warncke; reposted with permission from the AIM Classified Intelligence Report.
Spanish start-up 1001Portales.com‘s proprietary software allows real estate professionals to auto-post ads to multiple classified sites. It is part of a growing subsection of firms that are not traditional classifieds but work exclusively in the sector.
Other examples include Madrid-based Witei.com, also a property multi-posting service; Multi-posting.fr, a French company that works in the recruitment sector; and British firm XML2U.com, which provides XML (extensible markup language) data feeds.
These vendors are taking advantage of the increasing size and complexity of the classified industry. While many software products are non-classified specific, some like 1001Portales.com are built specifically for the sector. This creates new possibilities for both classifieds and vendors.
The 1001Portales story
1001Portales is a current example of a company seeking traction and revenue by serving a specific need in the classified industry. Founder Cristina Toyos has a background in real estate consulting, marketing and sales, but not classifieds.
However, the lingering Spanish real estate crisis gave her an idea: Build a company to help real estate professionals use classifieds more effectively and improve sales. After a year of planning, she hired a CTO in early 2014 and began building the software.
Start-up carves new niche in Spain
The company launched in March 2015, offering Spanish real estate agents a tool that would let them simultaneously post to 30 classified sites. A year later, 1001Portales reaches 79 sites, and it is growing rapidly.
“We started with professionals as that was the greatest need,” Toyos said. “But 50 percent of house sales in Spain are by the owner, so we are preparing the product for use by individuals.”
The company also plans to expand across verticals, including employment, auto and marketplaces, with a special focus on small business owners who use classifieds as a shop front.
Using mostly email and social media marketing, 1001Portales built a client base of about 500 property sales professionals. It operates a freemium subscription model, starting with a free service that posts 20 ads to 11 sites (a total of 220 ads).
The top package posts up to 1000 ads across 79 portals for a total of 79,000. Key for the Spanish market, 1001Portales also translates ads into English and posts them internationally, helping agents reach foreign buyers.
The changing classified landscape
Companies like 1001Portales have a role in the industry, but will they be partners or competitors in the long term?
Toyos and her small team have bootstrapped the company so far. They are currently seeking seed funding of 150,000 euros, a modest sum compared to the venture capital commanded by many classified startups.
Can small vendors compete with massively funded brands who can afford to develop solutions in-house rather than buying software? The answer varies by vertical and territory, but there are three factors vendors can exploit.
New needs: “There is demand for products to analyze property values, determine in-vestment potential and so forth,” said Javier Ortiz, Business Development Director of vertical search engine Mitula Group Ltd.
Local knowledge: Toyos has worked in the Spanish real estate industry for more than 10 years. She identified an important gap and had the expertise and contacts to reach to po-tential clients.
Targeted ambitions: In addition to rolling out the product for individual users, and oth-er verticals, 1001Portales is focused on specific territories. “We want to find a partner and go into the U.S.,” Toyos said. “It is a great Spanish-speaking market. And from there into South America. It’s an ambitious goal, but we will try.”
From Classified Intelligence Report, reprinted with permission. © 2016,Advanced Interactive Media Group LLC