The National Association of Realtors (NAR) is walking away from its controversial Upstream project, per an announcement Monday night.
NAR, which committed $15 million in supporting the development of the data management platform for the real estate industry, had previously served as Upstream’s technology development vendor through its wholly owned subsidiary Realtors Property Resource (RPR).
With the agreement ending, Upstream is finalizing plans with a new unnamed vendor to operate the platform, which launched in pilot markets in May, two years behind its original goal.
“We are proud of the work we have done with Upstream to help them gain their footing and reach this next phase of their launch, and we are pleased that a new plan is being implemented that will propel them forward and help them become the tool we’ve always envisioned they would be for our members,” NAR CEO Bob Goldberg said in a statement.
“This project has been an amazing opportunity to drive innovation and conversation among our brokerage community and gain their input into building the tools they use every day in their business,” Goldberg added. “As I’ve said since the beginning of my tenure as CEO, we are not in the business of inventing at NAR; we’ve supported Upstream to the extent that makes sense for both our strategic missions and now it is time for them step out on their own.”
Upstream’s goal is to create a central point of property data entry for brokers and agents – whether through a direct feed from partnerships with multiple listing services or through brokers and their agents inputting the data and subsequently transferring it from Upstream to MLSs.
Upstream said it plans to announce its new vendor in January 2019.
“Our team is more excited than ever about the future of the Upstream project,” Alex Lange, Upstream’s CEO said in a statement. “NAR and RPR played a key role in getting us to this point, and now we are well positioned with our new vendor to take the next steps. We expect a very large number of brokers and agents will begin to enjoy some of the first benefits of the Upstream platform in the new year, as a result.”
NAR allocated $6 million for the project in 2015 and added an additional guaranteed $1.5 million in 2017. The association also agreed to provide an additional $7.5 million backstop in the form of a loan, if Upstream’s revenue did not match its operating cost, although neither party confirmed early Tuesday when asked if Upstream met its revenue goal.
Earlier this year, NAR announced it was cutting the staff of RPR by 10 percent to help meet budget goals.
Brokers and agents using the application in pilot markets will eventually convert to the new version of the platform, with Upstream running in parallel with support from RPR during the transition.