• Key real estate tech trends for 2016: 3-D is here to stay; AI and chat bots are hot; there's more consolidation and mid-stage funding; and brokerages are still trying to disrupt the industry.

It’s that time again!

A little more than a year has gone by since we last updated “The Chart,” and there were some notable changes since then (April 2015).

We’re still remaining focused on the residential real estate buying industry (which means there isn’t coverage for CRE-focused crowdfunding or rentals, though we cover those in the fundraising/M&A tables below).

In all, there were 381 unique companies covered here, all working to make the real estate process work better.

A few key trends in the last year:

More consolidation: Led by M&A activity from the usual suspects (for example, Zillow) but with quite a bit of activity from up some new acquirers (for example, Placester and ShowingTime).

Lots of mid-stage funding: Eight-figure funding rounds went to Homelight, Matterport and Opendoor (along with a few large funding deals for crowdfunding leaders like RealtyShares et al.)

Not a whole lot of early-stage VC funding compared to last year, at least anecdotally (we don’t know what isn’t reported), and it seems that a “doubling down” on winners like Placester and Opendoor is a trend (which continues from last year).

It’s the year of the hybrid brokerage: Clearly, “hybrid brokerage” is a great buzzword. Inman published the authoritative white paper on this topic; you can re-read that here.

That said, it’s a fuzzy category that encompasses a lot of different types of brokerages and business models. They’re lumped together here, but there is more than a little nuance between them.

Opendoor is nothing like Compass. Yet both of these darlings of the industry use technology either to upend or to embolden a traditional brokerage model.

What’s unmistakable is that talented founders and deep-pocketed VCs alike are going after the experience of buying and selling a home by owning the experience from start to finish, as opposed to improving single parts of the experience.

AI/chat-based apps could be the drones of 2016: Remember when everything was drones, drones, drones? Perhaps this is an overstatement and we’ll be proven wrong in time, but whether it’s managing client questions through a Watson-powered chatbot like Doss or helping manage and qualify leads through an AI personal assistant like Riley, it seems that Siri is eating the agent world.

Or is it? So long as they don’t appear to “outsource” an agent’s client interaction — the thing that makes an agent great — they just might be the next cool thing in real estate tech.

3-D modeling tools are here to stay: Remember when it was just Floored and Matterport? Well, the category has grown quite a bit with new entrants like Insidemaps and Rooomy (yes that’s three o’s there). And the category has deepened with first-mover Matterport powering 3-D listings for Redfin.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then perhaps these companies cube that number — which is good for agents looking to tell a larger story with their listings.

Aside from those larger trends, there is some miscellany and smaller trends that are worthy of note.

There appear to be a few more home inventory/home management joining HomeZada and HomeKeepr. In fact, post-closing relationship management is a growing category, with agents “gifting” services like these as well as more overt physical gifts via startups like Loop & Tie.

On the listing side, smart lockboxes are creeping into the mainstream. Tools that organize the buyer’s search with social bookmarking are no longer much of a thing, but agent-led collaborative search through the agent’s own MLS portal most certainly still a thing.

In past years we’ve listed out all the funding and M&A events we were able to find in our research; this time we’ve formatted them into tables to make them easier to read. As always, this chart isn’t perfect — we invite your comments/criticism below and will do our best to update the image as we go along.


Company Amount Category Timing
Homelight $11M Agent search April 2016
Realtyshares $20M Crowdfunding Feb 2016
RealtyMogul $35M Crowdfunding July 2015
Nexera Holdings $100M Mortgage platforms Feb 2016
Opendoor $80M Instant buying/selling Jan 2016
HomeUnion $16M Crowdfunding March 2016
Contactually $8M CRM Feb 2016
Roostify $7.51M Online mortgage platform Oct 2015
Estately Undisclosed amount –
Realogy Strategic investment
Search Oct 2015
Zumper $6.4M Rental search June 2015
Matterport $30M 3D/Virtual tours June 2015
Amitree $2.6M Buyer workflow Sept 2015
TripleMint $1.65M Hybrid/online brokerage April 2015
Compass $50M Hybrid/online brokerage Sept 2015
Compass $50M Hybrid/online brokerage Sept 2015

Mergers and acquisitions

Company Acquirer Amount Category Timing
Naked Apartments Zillow $13M Apartment search Feb 2016
RELS CoreLogic Undisclosed Market data/research Jan 2016
RealSatisfied Placester Undisclosed Customer review management April 2016
Homefinder Placester Undisclosed Search April 2016
AddressReport Onboard Informatics Undisclosed Market data/research Feb 2016
RealEstate Business Intelligence (RBI) ShowingTime Undisclosed Market data/research Feb 2016
10K Research and Marketing ShowingTime Undisclosed Market data/research Oct 2015
BookaShowing.com ShowingTime Undisclosed Showing tools Oct 2015
Zurple Constellation Software Undisclosed Agent/client collaborative search Sept 2015
Market Leader (Zillow Group) Constellation Software $23M CRM Sept 2015
Reesio Move, Inc. Undisclosed Transaction management Oct 2015

Jonathan Aizen is the founder and CEO of Amitree Inc.

Email Jonathan Aizen.

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