Realogy executives, franchisees, agents and venture capital leaders converged at Realogy’s FWD Innovation Summit to look at some of the top real estate technology companies and meet the innovators behind the products. Here’s what we learned.
Realogy executives, franchisees, agents and venture capital leaders converged at Realogy’s north central New Jersey headquarters for the sixth annual FWD Innovation Summit about some of the top real estate technology companies and to meet the innovators behind the products.
Homebot, a digital tool that agents and lenders can use to help homeowners manage their housing wealth, was chosen among 10 finalists as the startup to receive a $25,000 prize, and placement in the ZapStoreSM, an app and service marketplace that is integrated within Realogy’s proprietary technology platform.
While the startups were competing for the top prize, the day was really an opportunity for Realogy to get a look at products that can enhance its agents and franchisees value proposition. Each startup had 15 minutes to impress a panel of judges and the audience, which ultimately voted on the winner.
“This is a big part of our future,” Ryan Schneider, CEO and president of Realogy Holdings Corporation said. “It can’t be our only future — this is still, at the end of the day, a human-focused business in the end.”
“But it’s about helping those humans, whether agents or franchisees, be incredibly successful by not just keeping pace with the technology and data evolution of the day, but showing that we can be the company on the lead end of that to make people more successful and make their lives better,” Schneider added.
Dave Gordon, the chief technology officer of Realogy echoed those sentiments, that buying outside technology is part of Realogy’s future, in addition to proprietary offerings.
“The goal is to offer great products from Realogy but also, not just build, but buy and integrate with new products,” Gordon said. “We believe that is the future.”
The companies that presented were:
Amarki is a Texas-based digital marketing startup that allows agents, through Adobe InDesign, to create customized, branded marketing materials. The materials include email campaigns, signs, business cards, fliers and social media posts.
“We are the Amazon for all your marketing and integration needs,” Wayne Creel, the president and co-founder of Amarki said. “At Amarki, we automate, market and integrate. We partner with you to leverage your existing systems, branding, technology and marketing systems combined into one single interface.”
Amarki, since its founding, has completed more than 120,000 jobs for 22,000 agents.
ByteGain is a tool designed to rein in potential online leads using artificial intelligence technology. As consumers begin their home search journey on a brokerage website, the technology reads their every move and slowly increases the likelihood that the consumer will want to tour an open listing.
As the consumer hits certain trigger points — based on how many listings they look at, the photos they scroll through in the listing, how much information they see, etc. — it will prompt different actions. It can prompt the user to sign up for a company newsletter, retarget them later with the listings on social media and even prompt them to schedule a tour.
The lead is then input into the brokerage’s customer relationship management (CRM) tool and shows how likely, based on their browsing behavior, they are to actually be interested in the property. It also provides tools to send the lead more information, like a mortgage pre-approval guide, data on local schools, etc.
Disclosures.io is a software that allows agents on both sides of the transaction to cooperate all in one space. Listing agents create a page for each property and populate with relevant information, and then they can either privately share that link or post it to listing portals or multiple listing services. Agents can also track their client’s activity.
“We build software that helps listing agents share property information with interested buyer parties,” Adam Gothelf, the company’s co-founder and CEO said. “This helps them collaborate to get to in contract or accepted offer faster.”
Consumers can make offers on properties right from the listing page, instead of filling out all of the requisite paperwork like a summary of terms, cover letter and additional documents.
Since launching last year the platform has enlisted 40,000 agents whose properties have been viewed over 550,000 times with 7,000 offers submitted.
EvaBot is a gifting service that creates tailor-made, branded gift boxes for agents to send to clients to ensure referral business. Each gift costs $50, but the suggested retail price of the items in the box is $70 because EvaBot is able to use its scale to get discounts.
An agent sends the gifting link to the client and a bot subsequently asks the client questions about their gift preferences, such as are you a coffee or tea person? After logging the client’s preference, the service sends a gift.
EvaBot stores the client’s preferences, so from the company’s backend, agents can send other gifts at a later time. It also provides data on which types of things clients like to receive as a gift.
HomeBot, the big winner of the day, is a platform that helps consumers manage their housing wealth with the help of an agent or lender.
“It’s a tool that agents and lenders can give to their clients to empower them to build wealth with the largest asset they’ll ever own,” said Ernie Graham, founder and CEO of Homebot. “It positions [the agent] as the expert on real estate home value.”
From its homepage, which is always branded to the agent or lender, clients can see how much their home has grown in value since they purchased it, how much is left on their loan, what refinancing could save them, how they can lower their monthly payments and a myriad of other financial information.
Consumers can also utilize a map feature that shows where they can move to get a bigger house, where they will have the quickest move or which markets are more favorable to buyers and which are more favorable to sellers.
Iovox is a call management and tracking company that gives agents a single-place to store data on the phone calls they make and receive. Through the app — which is available on both iOS and Android — agents can record their side of the conversation for privacy, transcribe and make searchable notes.
“Think about it like call history on steroids,” said Ryan Gallagher, the CEO and founder of Iovox. “It’s exactly the same thing, it’s exactly the same data, [it just gives] you more functionality and more creativity around how you inject data into it and can search it.”
Agents can also tag the call with relevant information — from where the lead came, what type of home they’re interested in at what price point, etc.
RealKey is transaction management and loan origination in a unified portal. It aims to be the centralized portal for all communication and documentation between all of the parties involved in closing a transaction.
“There’s a lot of documentation, a lot of different information needed by a lot of different parties,” Christopher Hussain, CEO and founder of RealKey said. “These parties are all on different systems so they’re calling and emailing each other.”
Consumers also get a unique key to log into the platform and can manage their mortgage application and upload all of their documentation. RealKey just does one credit pull, so it saves consumers from multiple credit pulls when shopping for a mortgage.
Sisu is a business intelligence platform currently available for the real estate and mortgage industries. It aims to provide solutions to agent productivity issues, recruiting and retaining top talent, deploying capital and resources in a smarter and more efficient manner.
Brokerages can use the platform to encourage competition and help agents meet goals for example, by adding a leaderboard or sending push notifications about deadlines. Brokerages can also create various challenges for its agents to hit.
“You can quickly get a snapshot and look at any level and say ‘hey where is my business at?’” Brian Charlesworth, chairman and CEO said.
“If I want to drill into an individual agent that comes into my office, as leader, I can quickly click on that and know immediately where they’re business is at, why it’s failing. I can see the conversions ratios that are slacking, and it gives me an opportunity, as a leader, to say, this is where I’ve got to train my agents.”
SHYFT’s aim is to make the moving experience as simple and painless as possible. It provides a custom online moving package and experience. So far the company has completed 33,000 moves.
SHYFT uses technology to allow consumers to start their move with just one click. Agents can customize and brand the landing page they provide to consumers, which consumers then use to input all of their moving information: where to and from, with whom they are moving, are they donating anything, their budget and any additional services they want.
The consumer is then connected with an employee who walks them through the process of showing everything they plan on moving through using their camera, which then uses machine learning and algorithms to convert the items into cubic weight and provides a quote within minutes.
TourZazz is a property tour app, available for iOS and Android, that allows agents to schedule and manage property tours while providing and receiving real-time feedback from consumers. It was founded by Stacy and Michael Spickes, who have 16 years of experience as Realtors in Austin.
“The property tour and homebuying process is still wrought with clunky and inefficient old-school practices,” Stacy Spickes said. “We’re still using clipboards and printed MLS sheets and copy and pasting tour itineraries.”
In the backend dashboard, agents can create a tour itinerary — and share a detailed tour map created by an algorithm — and highlight spots along the tour that they think the client will love in the neighborhood. Consumers can make a list of the favorite homes and features they saw along the way.