Each year, business magazine Forbes honors young visionaries in an array of fields with its annual 30 Under 30 list. The 2018 list, released this week, is teeming with young minds set on creating cutting-edge products to disrupt the real estate industry. Many of them were featured in Forbes’ Consumer Technology category.
Mark Lesswing, senior vice president and chief technology officer at the National Association of Realtors, believes there are a lot of inefficiencies to be addressed in the real estate industry, an attractive target for disruption, and that many emerging tools are mature enough to greatly improve processes.
“With the high values at stake in our transactions, one intrusion on a real estate transaction can yield more than a thousand intrusions in other, lower value (most other businesses are lower value anyway) transactions,” Lesswing said. “If I can be clever enough to intrude on one real estate transaction, why would I go through the same effort a thousand times for the same reward?”
Here are the some of the top individuals who are successfully capitalizing on this opportunity, and were honored on Forbes 2018 30 Under 30 list:
Walker, 29, is the only honoree on the list from the residential brokerage space.
Having worked on construction crews and in leasing offices during his professional career, Walker co-founded Triplemint in 2011. The company has adopted some traditional brokerage business practices while retaining a core focus on technology.
Triplemint uses a powerful listing search website and marketing platform to feed leads to its agents, which the startup pays based on commission and customer satisfaction.
“I think it says a lot about the changing landscape of real estate to see a real estate tech company on the Forbes Consumer Technology list,” Walker said in a statement.
Bernstein, 23 and Kumar, 25, may be barely older than most college seniors — but the average student is their target customer rather than their peer. LoftSmart aims to connect college students with off-campus housing through a state-of-the art listing site.
Students can view curated listings, take 3-D tours of potential properties, and then apply for housing with roommates, sign a lease and make a payment, all with the click of a mouse.
Bittner, 29, is the co-founder of Pinch, a company that helps young renters build their credit scores with on-time rent payments. The company, which was founded in April 2016, has raised $1 million from a number of venture firms, including Homebrew and Collaborative Fund.
The idea is simple: you connect your bank account to Pinch, it mails a check to your landlord and then reports the on-time payment to major credit bureaus. It’s free for the first year if you sign up now, then $5 per month after that.
The smart-light technology from Cheung, 28, aims to set the scene with perfect lighting in every room in your home. From a control panel on your phone, you can choose between three lighting settings or even design your own.
The Noon Room Director, which coordinates lights in a room, sells for $199 on the company’s website. Cheung, a Salt Lake City native, has raised $50 million in venture funding for Noon Home.
The idea behind Sonder — founded by Davidson and Pellan, both 25 — is to let travelers live like a local with hotel-quality service. It’s for the traveler that likes the adventure of home-sharing but can’t do without the amenities that a hotel provides.
Sonder — which has raised over $46 million in venture capital funding — hand-furnishes every single apartment it rents out to travelers and provides a 24/7 concierge service. Currently the service is available in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Montreal, New Orleans, San Diego and Toronto.
Handel, 25, joined Airbnb in 2014 and was responsible for launching Trips, one of Airbnb’s signature products that curates the travel experience beyond the bed and four walls.
Now, just three years after joining the company, Handel oversees the machine learning department, which ranks listings based on guest preferences. It’s a key component of the $31 billion company.
According to Forbes, Jones and Schoenfelder, both 28, first teamed up in 2010 after an earthquake devastated the Caribbean island of Haiti. After two years in development, the duo recently launched Latch, a smart-lock company that has raised $26 million in venture capital funding.
The company has three products: one that controls electronic access points like lobbies and parking garages, a standard apartment or office door lock, and a cylindrical deadbolt that can retrofit into an existing building or be a part of a new project. The devices range from $299 to $399, along with an approximately $5 monthly subscription.
The idea for HubHaus, a platform that connects professionals to affordable shared housing, was born out of Merchant’s own struggles to find and community when she first moved to Silicon Valley.
Merchant, 24, and Jones, 28, have raised $1.5 million and now boast over 300 members and more than 50 homes in the Bay Area and Los Angeles. Their mantra is clear: they’re looking to bring the “home” back to housing, offering not just a place to live but a community.
Fischel-Bock, 26, earned herself over $1 million in revenue from Hutch before she even graduated George-Washington University, earning herself a spot as one of the top 30 Under 30 in the Retail and Commerce space.
And in July Hutch received $10 million Series A infusion from none other than real estate giant Zillow Group, which has hinted at plans to create a virtual co-shopping experience for homebuyers and their agents.
Hutch allows users to to virtually design rooms by placing furniture and design pieces. The app and website is especially powerful for real estate professionals looking to see how pieces would fit together before staging a home.