Sometimes a good deal gets in the way of that family vacation to the South of France. But from his hotel room this summer, Olivier Grinda had good reason for being glued to the phone: the second funding round for his Miami real estate startup Home61 was unfolding. The fledgling, tech-driven brokerage just announced $4 million in financing from both local and national investors.
Home61, which launched its first year of official business in 2015, uses automation to streamline the buying and renting experience from first click to closing. The proprietary Home61 platform provides agents with qualified leads and generally frees them up from the time-consuming manual processes so they can focus solely on the client, according to the company.
Home61 offers agents a 50/50 commission split — which Grinda admits was a “tough sell” in the beginning — but claims agents earn up to 10 times more than the industry average. Agents in their second year make $70,000 on average, and up to $120,000 in their third year, according to the company.
Founder and CEO Grinda plans to use the money to fund Home61’s nationwide expansion once he has built up the company’s agent count and expanded its tech tool offerings in Miami. The office is gaining five new agents a week and grew from 55 to 100 agents this year. Grinda will also be “doubling down” on the firm’s Agent Accelerator onboarding program, an intensive 120-day training that the company likens to a tech accelerator.
Home61 has now raised a total of $5.3 million since launching; in this second round, participants included FF Angel, Founders Fund’s early stage investment vehicle; a group of local Miami venture capitalists; and FJ Labs, an investment firm run by Grinda’s brother Fabrice that also participated in Home61’s first venture capital raise in 2016.
“Real estate is one of the largest industries in the world, yet no tech company has managed to modernize it,” Fabrice said. “The Home61 team has already demonstrated with concrete results that their system works, and I believe it’s only a matter of time until they are operating across the country.”
“Today, the process of buying or renting a home is much more complex than it needs to be,” added Cyan Banister, partner at Founders Fund said. “By streamlining this process for both buyers and agents, Home61 will democratize the U.S. real estate market.”
FF Angel, a well-known VC fund in the tech world, will boost Home61’s cred as it expands to new cities, Grinda said.
“We want to find a profile that is similar to Miami and by extension that is similar to (other cities in) the U.S.,” he added. “We want markets that are spread out, a larger city helps with the ability to recruit, and a large population (which is growing) means there is plenty of client demand.”
While Chicago and Phoenix are on the shortlist, Grinda is also considering Houston because of its growing reputation as a tech hub and pleasant place to live.
“The first city we open in is going to be me directly going there, finding local partners,” he added.
As he continues to build the business in Miami, Home61 is also partnering up with companies such as property managers and PRMG, a mortgage lender, to offer complementary tools that will become part of its automated platform. The CEO noted that the company doesn’t earn anything from these partnerships.