- Through the acquisition, Clareity gains heft while CoreLogic expands its real estate tech offerings.
Real estate technology powerhouse CoreLogic has acquired one of the industry’s most well-known technology and consulting firms, Clareity.
The deal closed yesterday for an undisclosed sum.
CoreLogic, a publicly-traded firm with a market cap of $3.8 billion, offers global property information and analytics, including its public records product Realist and data aggregation and distribution platform Trestle. CoreLogic’s Matrix multiple listing service system serves 600,000-plus MLS subscribers — more than any other MLS vendor nationwide.
With the purchase of Clareity, CoreLogic has extended its real estate tech offerings to include Clareity’s flagship SafeMLS user authentication tool and its single sign-on MLS and broker dashboards. SafeMLS protects MLSs from improper usage of their databases, including password sharing. The dashboards integrate with over 250 applications and allow MLSs and brokers to show off their product offerings to subscribers and agents in one place without agents having to log into each product separately.
“Clareity offers SSO, integration, and workflow management software to the MLS, association, and broker communities which is synchronized with the broad focus by CoreLogic on these same customer segments,” Chris Bennett, executive leader of Real Estate Solutions for CoreLogic, told Inman via email.
“The overlap of MLS and broker communities and the complimentary nature of technology solutions make this a strong fit.”
Potential for expansion into other industries
Clareity’s customer base includes MLSs that serve more than 80 percent of MLS subscribers in Canada and about 60 percent of MLS subscribers in the U.S., Clareity founder and CEO Gregg Larson told Inman. Clareity also counts more than 300 state and local real estate associations as customers, he added. In total, the company says it serves more than 850,000 real estate professionals in North America.
“We’re excited. CoreLogic is obviously a big company with a lot of resources,” Larson said. He has joined the CoreLogic executive team.
With the acquisition, Clareity’s security and dashboard tools could potentially be extended beyond residential real estate to banking, lending and insurance, Larson said.
“There are a lot of parallels out there with insurance agents, loan officers. Clareity is a systems integrator. At the end of the day, our dashboards integrate with hundreds of real estate applications.
“Roughly 80 percent of the appraisals in the country are managed by CoreLogic. [We see] appraisers, lenders, and insurance [companies] as future customers for Clareity products.”
Clareity has a large prospective customer right now that was concerned about the company’s small size, Larson said. “Being bought by a multibillion-dollar company takes that concern way.”
‘Magic for agents’
Clareity’s dashboards offer API-enabled integration and workflow automation between different applications, allowing apps to “talk” to each other and sync data entered into one app so that it doesn’t have to be re-entered. “It makes things easy, makes things magic for agents. It’s pretty cool and a growth area for us,” Larson said.
The dashboards also offer secure messaging and communication; Intranet-like content management tools allowing brokers and MLSs to publish blog posts and videos to their agents and subscribers; and analytics showing which applications are being used by whom and how often, allowing brokers and MLSs to make business decisions such as which products to keep and which require more training, Larson said.
He also considers the products that both companies offer “a great fit,” though the companies haven’t yet figured out exactly which products and services Clareity will continue to offer.
“We’re going to continue offering the consulting products and services that make sense to our customers. There will be certain ones that don’t make sense,” Larson said.
For instance, Clareity will no longer help MLSs select a new MLS system, since there’s an obvious conflict there, he said. But the firm will continue to help its MLS customers with strategic planning, security assessments, and other management and technical consulting, Larson said. He’s not sure if Clareity will continue issuing its annual MLS system rankings, though it will continue to hold its annual MLS workshop in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Clareity will continue offering its security products to all MLSs, including those that don’t run on CoreLogic systems, just as CoreLogic sells its own products — such as Realist — to all types of MLSs, Larson said.
“In general, the MLS customers decide what products they want. Or the broker customers decide in the case of the broker dashboards. We anticipate that we’ll sell even more of them,” Larson said.
More resources and product options
Larson expects that Clareity’s customers will have more resources and product options as a result of the acquisition.
“CoreLogic has a plethora of products and information. We’re going to sit down and make those plans. I can’t say with specificity which ones we’re going to do. It’s pretty clear that they’ve got a lot of good stuff, a lot of information. We think we’re going to be able to deliver more information to Realtors. The goal is to tech-enable Realtors,” he said.
In a statement, CoreLogic’s Bennett said, “Every day, a cutting-edge app or web service is introduced to agents and brokers to help them find and serve customers.
“The addition of Clareity solutions to the CoreLogic Real Estate Solutions suite helps tech companies deliver those innovative tools to users more transparently. We think our mutual cultures of commitment to moving our industry forward through innovation is a terrific catalyst for the benefit of our customers.”
When asked how the combined solutions will help tech companies deliver tools more transparently, Bennett said, “Through their SSO with a deeper level of integration into the CoreLogic Matrix MLS platform.”
‘A mutual attraction’
CoreLogic has hired all of Clareity’s 40 employees, most of whom work at Clareity’s offices in Scottsdale, Arizona, and Knoxville, Tennessee, Larson said.
“Today is their first day at CoreLogic. We just told the employees this morning. People were happy. There were a lot of smiles in the room,” he said, noting that Clareity has partnered with CoreLogic for years.
“The people at Clareity — our talents, our skills — bring a lot of value to CoreLogic. I think they were interested in obviously our technology, our customer base, and our people.”
Real estate consulting firm Clareity Consulting was born in 1996, at the dawn of the internet age when the firm wanted to offer jumpy real estate companies “clarity,” Larson said. There was already a Clarity Software around, so the firm tweaked the name a bit, making its middle “rei” for “real estate information.”
Larson founded real estate tech firm Clareity Security in 2004 and began offering SafeMLS. Previously separate companies, the two were merged under the Clareity brand in the last several months.
Although not the reason for the rebrand, the deal between CoreLogic and Clareity had been in the works for several months, Larson said.
“It was a mutual attraction. We’ve been business partners for 12 years. We’ve talked in the past about extending the partnership,” he said.
“But this year the stars just kind of lined up this summer and we decided to explore it. We got excited as we started talking about it. I guess technically at some point they said, ‘Hey, would you guys be interested in letting us buy you.'”
In January 2015, Clareity made a mid-six-figure investment in Housefax, a service that offers home history reports that include information on factors that may affect a property’s condition, such as building permits, fires, floods, sinkholes and meth labs, among other data. Larson said he will remain on the Housefax board and will remain an investor.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to add comments from CoreLogic.