• Bridge Interactive creates back-end software for MLSs and brokerages.
  • The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
  • "The data will continue to be the customers' data," Errol Samuelson, chief industry development officer at Zillow, told Inman.

When Zillow Group acquired dotloop, a real estate transaction software company, in late 2015, industry insiders wondered what the next big move would be. Would the real estate behemoth keep its eyes out for another dotloop, or would it turn its sights elsewhere in the industry?

Today we have an answer: Zillow Group announced that it acquired Bridge Interactive, a company that creates brokerage and MLS back-office software.

“Bridge Interactive helps brokers and MLSs address the complex world of listings management by implementing systems based on open standards from the Real Estate Standards Organization (RESO),” reads a press release sent by Zillow Group.

Zillow Group and Bridge did not disclose terms of the agreement.

Pace Davis

Pace Davis

According to Bridge, the company services a few more than 30 MLSs. MLSs have been the company’s “main focus,” said Pace Davis, the co-founder and CEO of Bridge, who says that the company assists “probably 10 of the largest MLSs in the country,” servicing about 400,000 agents who are members of those MLSs, according to Zillow Group and Bridge Interactive.

What will happen to the data?

Errol Samuelson

Errol Samuelson

“The data will continue to be the customers’ data,” Errol Samuelson, chief industry development officer at Zillow, told Inman. “We aren’t going to use the data for display on Zillow’s sites; the only Zillow employees touching that data will be the Bridge Interactive people who are maintaining the system for the brokers.”

Bridge’s current customers won’t see many changes, noted Turan Tekin, vice president at Bridge. “Pricing won’t change, agreements won’t change — we’re just excited to be able to have more resources behind us as part of Zillow Group so we can invest more heavily in R&D (research and development) and product development.”

Streamlining data

Davis noted that Bridge has been involved with RETS (Real Estate Transaction Standards) since “maybe 2003-2004.” He noted that the company has helped some MLSs become compliant with the RESO (Real Estate Standards Organization) data dictionary by mapping the MLSs back-end to the data dictionary.

By infusing some cash into Bridge, Samuelson said, Zillow Group is hoping to spur some innovation in the industry.

“Our belief is if we can get more MLSs and brokerages using the RESO standards, it makes everybody’s life easier,” he said. “It promotes innovation because everyone’s speaking the same language. One of the things we’ve noticed in the industry is there are these islands of software. It creates a lot of inefficiencies. Part of this acquisition is about trying to accelerate the adoption of open industry standards.

“This is consistent with some things we’ve been doing at Zillow for the past two years,” Samuelson added. “We spent maybe the first eight years of the business really focused on building a great consumer experience, but we also have been trying to solve some of the pain points that our partners are facing. It’s the reason we invested in dotloop, because what we found was that the transaction is still very paper-based and very inefficient.”

It’s also why Zillow has invested so heavily in its Premier Agent app, Samuelson added — and the Bridge acquisition is intended to solve another pain point, albeit one that is perhaps less visible to the everyday real estate agent.

“This is about trying to eliminate some of the inefficiencies that are making it difficult for software to talk to each other,” he said. “If I’m an agent and my software can now automatically import my MLS data so I don’t have to rekey it into our MLS, I’m a beneficiary. Individual agents are among the greatest beneficiaries when you have an ecosystem in which data can flow freely.”

In the press release sent by Zillow Group this morning, Samuelson stated that “Bridge Interactive’s offerings simplify a sometimes tedious process that many of our agent, broker and MLS partners face on a daily basis.”

According to the press release, the Bridge Interactive suite of tools includes:

  • Contact, a RETS server that allows MLS administrators to review real-time queries
  • Cheque, which enables MLSs to manage syndication of listings and billing
  • Compose, a web application for adding and editing listings

Davis will be transitioning from CEO at Bridge to general manager at Bridge; he will report to Samuelson.

“Bridge Interactive will remain an independent brand, and current customers will see no immediate changes,” read the press release. “Bridge Interactive’s employees are now part of Zillow Group and continue to work out of their office in Atlanta, Ga.”

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