The firm plans to launch a brand-new multiple listing service system in the third quarter of this year to compete with entrenched vendors such as CoreLogic, Black Knight and FBS as well as a suite of broker tools.
Remine’s upcoming “MLS 2.0” platform will offer both a front end (the part that agents see and enter listings into) and a back end (database) like current vendors do, but unlike them, will also allow any front end MLSs to connect to its back end, including a tool like broker data management platform Upstream.
On top of that, Remine’s platform will be “open” in the sense that it will allow integration with any number of third-party vendors and allow MLSs to share specific back-end functionality — such as saved searches — with third-party vendors.
“Remine’s vision is to empower the MLS industry with modern, open and scalable technology which supports front end and input of choice, while adding new reporting and safeguarding controls to ensure the integrity of its data,” said Mark Schacknies, CFO and co-founder of Remine, in a press release.
The Series A round of funding was lead by New York-based growth equity firm Stripes Group, which has also invested in companies such as Refinery29, Flatiron Health, GoFundMe, Blue Apron, Upwork, SPINS, Sift and Gimlet Media.
The round brings Remine’s total funding to $48 million. The company declined to name previous investors, saying they were “private individuals” rather than institutional investors.
“Stripes shares our passion for building the next great MLS platform and marketplace for our generation,” Schacknies said.
Founded in 2015 by real estate agents, Fairfax, Virginia-based Remine currently has partnerships with more than 40 MLS in the U.S. representing about 825,000 agents.
Before the funding round, Stripes spoke with many of Remine’s MLS partners to get “the current lay of the landscape, which was frankly a fundamental lack of innovation and the opportunity to provide new and reinvigorating support for the MLSs trying to get to the next level,” Schacknies said in a phone interview.
He said having the backing of Stripes, which he called a “$2.4 billion fund,” validated Remine’s long-term vision to innovate in the MLS space.
In a statement, Stripes Partner Ron Shah said, “Most proptech is trying to disrupt the real estate agent, whereas the Remine team, comprised of seasoned former practitioners and sophisticated technologists, has clearly recognized the opportunity to use leading edge technology to empower and enhance the agent’s capabilities. We believe Remine’s platform will be the central element in the modern ecosystem connecting the real estate agent, the MLS and the consumer.”
Given how often proptech companies come and go, Schacknies said he hopes the round will reassure MLSs that Remine is “here to stay.”
He declined to say which MLSs will be the first to launch MLS 2.0 in the third quarter, other than to say they will be among Remine’s current customers.
MLS 2.0 will offer MLSs control that current MLS vendors do not as well as something agents and brokers are constantly asking for: integration between the many tools that they use in their businesses, according to Schacknies.
“MLS platforms are all built upon a very closed architecture that frankly does not play nicely with other third-party technologies,” he said.
“In a modern era when these MLS executives are trying to deliver the best tools and innovation to their agents, they are frankly at the mercy of what their current vendor tells them, which is not a good and sustainable relationship.”
Currently, if an MLS wants to change something about its MLS system, including integrate with a new tool, it has to ask that system’s provider and then get in line and wait.
“Our approach is a little different in that we completely give the controls to the MLS,” Schacknies said.
For instance, right now, if an agent sets up a saved search in an MLS system provided by a vendor like CoreLogic, that saved search cannot then be distributed to all of the vendors an MLS has partnered with — Homesnap, for example.
“This is frankly, the fundamental issue of the industry: all of these MLSs don’t realize that a lot of their data and their [intellectual property] is buried in a closed system and yes, they can ask … and, frankly, demand that things be changed, but it’s nevertheless an ask situation versus having the actual keys to your own car,” Schacknies said.
“So the experience for the agents of the future should be that if they have a saved search, it could literally work in any of the products that they choose,” he added.
The way that will be possible is that in Remine’s MLS 2.0 system a saved search will be delivered over an open application programming interface (API) that the MLS will make available to agents, according to Schacknies.
“It’s like you’re doing a renovation of the house and you’ve got that old copper wire and that’s what the incumbent systems are. And we’re retrofitting these houses with fiber optic cables so that they can support all the modern tools of the future. And yes, one of those tools is the Remine front-end system,” he said.
But through the MLS 2.0 platform, MLSs will be able to offer agents as many front ends and add/edit listing inputs as they choose, according to Schacknies.
“We are aware of certain brokers that are actually working on their own add/edits and would like that to hang off of the databases of the future for the MLS and so we will support add/edits of choice, which includes everything from the incumbent systems that you know today, plus as well as some of the new initiatives that are in the works as we speak,” including Upstream, Schacknies said.
“We would absolutely support those levels of permissioning,” he added.
Remine will work with whichever third parties an MLS wants to partner with and will make sure that any integration plays by the MLS’s rules, he said. That means that if a large broker wants to input listings into their own platform and then have that platform feed to the MLS database, “Remine could ingest that data with the local business rules, be compliant, be standardized and get published in [a] manner in which both that broker and that MLS deemed appropriate,” he said.
Asked whether brokers and agents will be able to use Remine to send their listing information where they want it to go — to a postcard company or to Zillow, say — without going through the MLS or its business rules, Schacknies said those were “two different things.”
Agents can already use Remine’s premium offering — an agent upsell from the “freemium” version of Remine offered at no additional charge through the MLS — to send their listing information directly to a postcard company, he said.
“If you’re talking about … could a broker bypass MLS and go directly to Zillow, in that case that’s a big ‘no no’ from where we sit because our top level relationship is the MLS,” he said.
“Generally speaking, that is not what an MLS would want to do.”
Remine is also planning to debut a broker suite of products in the third quarter, according to Schacknies.
“There’s a certain segment of brokers that are sort of underserved by custom technology for their daily workflows. So we are building those. That’s kind of our next frontier,” he said.
The broker suite will focus on agent teams and offer team functionality, such as the ability to add different permissions, have different levels of collaboration, communication, lead routing and hierarchy of workflows, according to Schacknies.
Will the broker tools include the ability for a broker to send their agents’ listing data to different destinations?
“I’m gonna hold off any comment on that for now,” he said.
“It would be very premature for me to tell you exactly what features are launching,” he added.
Remine has about 185 employees, of which about 100 are software engineers. Asked about recent layoffs, Schacknies said there had been about half a dozen terminations, mostly in the customer support department over the last several weeks. He said they were related to individual performance rather than any change in direction or funding at the company.