The story of real estate in 2018 was one of exploding investment and technology — even if the market did begin to slow down near the end of the year — but unfortunately not every company managed to make it through December.
Here are some of the notable businesses that shutdown, were sold off, or otherwise significantly diminished.
Town Residential lost 400 agents and closed its sales and leasing operations in April
Manhattan brokerage Town Residential didn’t entirely close down this year, but in April it did shutter its sales and leasing operations in favor of focusing on international and new development projects. Significantly, the pivot meant that 400 agents lost their jobs.
Andrew Heiberger, the company’s founder and CEO, wrote at the time that closing the sales and leasing arms of the company was necessary because “new realities of the new marketplace” made it impossible to “profit from those lines of business.”
Home search portal Truepad shuttered operations in July after funding issues
Truepad closed in July when the funding it needed to continue operations through 2019 failed to materialize. Eileen Romito, the company’s director of agent operations, lamented the closure and said at the time that Truepad had been “getting good traction with agents and consumers, and our transition from free to paid agent subscriptions was showing good promise.”
The Chicago-based company offered a home search portal that used agent-supplied data to crowdsource home value and rank quality of available listings. Truepad claimed that its estimates were more accurate that Zillow’s Zestimates.
An online transaction platform snatched up GoldenKey after it became defunct
Landis, which describes itself as an “online selling and buying platform focused on real estate transactions,” acquired GoldenKey in September, TechCrunch reported.
GoldenKey, which was originally known as SoloPro, had functioned as a marketplace letting consumers hire agents to perform one-off or bundled services. The company charged flat fees for those services, and managed to raise millions in capital in recent years. And though it acquired GoldenKey’s assets, Landis actually focuses on large scale investors — an entirely different market from GoldenKey’s original mission.
Sequel bit the dust in October
Sequel specialized in creating custom websites and branded marketing tools for real estate teams. The company was founded by Rennie, a real estate company based in Vancouver, British Columbia, and described itself as a “software startup that unites creative, independent brokers from around the world.”
But the company folded in early October. Laura Monroe, the company’s former vice president of growth and partnerships, confirmed the shutdown but did not say what led to it. She also said two business development employees would be leaving the company, though other employees were expected to remain at Rennie.
Crowdfunding platform RealtyShares laid off staff and stopped taking investments in November
RealtyShares was designed to let investors buy fractional ownership of properties and made headlines in the years following its 2013 founding for accepting bitcoin and buying up a rival company.
However, in November, the company announced it was laying off staff and no longer accepting new investments. In an email to investors, the company attributed the move to its inability “to secure additional capital.” It was not clear exactly how many people lost their jobs, though the San Francisco Chronicle reported that RealtyShares had 75 employees and contractors prior to the layoffs.