Success stories from Startup Alley: BoxBrownie

This startup from down under went big at Inman Connect

Inman Connect is the real estate industry event that launches real estate companies. Through Startup Alley, a dedicated sponsorship opportunity available to the hottest new companies to enter real estate tech, emerging companies have the opportunity to showcase their technology to the sharpest minds in the industry.

“If you’re serious about impacting the real estate space and want to be seen by industry leaders and decision-makers, there’s no better place to make it happen than Startup Alley,” said Brad Inman. “Every year, the exhibit hall floor is the place where new technologies are launched and partnerships are forged. Look no further than Startup Alley to see what’s next in real estate innovation.”

Since its inception, Startup Alley has welcomed more than 300 emerging companies to exhibit. And BoxBrownie is one of them.

Going big from down under

In early 2017, Inman tech writer Craig Rowe reached out to the team at BoxBrownie to write an article about the company. Their image retouching and photo enhancement services were generating serious buzz with agents and brokers in the US.

The company is based in Australia, so it took a little while for him connect. They worked around time zones and were able to grant the interview. But the BoxBrownie team had some homework to do, first.

“We read up on who Brad Inman was and what Inman stood for,” said Peter Schravemade, Strategic Relationship Manager. “Our feeling was that Inman was an independent body on issues around property and property tech, which was of interest to us. So we talked with Craig and he published the article about the company. And we saw a good deal of traffic from it.”

On the heels of that traffic bump, the team signed up to be part of StartUp Alley at Inman Connect in San Francisco. But they had no idea what awaited them.

They were not expecting such a big reception from the American audience in general, but they especially didn’t expect what they received from Inman attendees.

“The first thing I remember was the Ambassadors jumping all over us. And it was amazing!” said Peter.

The team handed out enough brochures and got enough leads that they would have returned just for the value they saw in that alone. “But the connections that came out of that conference were our real ROI, such as our affiliate partnership deals.”

Keep in mind, it wasn’t instantaneous. The deals weren’t done then and there. Some wouldn’t be done for nearly 6 to 7 months.

“The truth is that the results of sponsoring at Inman Connect are intangible — which makes it tricky to justify when you’re starting out. We took a big risk, flying three of us out from Australia to stay at the Hilton and exhibit. But it was well worth it.”

As the BoxBrownie team noted, there is something special about the attendees at Inman conferences. They have a real willingness to try something new — to explore new tools and solutions. They come to Inman Connect to find the next big thing.

“Meeting our support base was humbling, to say the least. I’ll never forget that feeling.”

So what did they do next? They went to Inman Connect in New York. There, they met a different crowd of agents and brokers, but all the same Ambassadors.

“It’s the Ambassadors that totally set Inman Connect apart. They kept funneling people to us. Dozens of people kept coming to our booth saying, “Tiffany sent us!” Then finally, a woman came up and said, “I’m Tiffany!” I had to give her a big cuddle to say thanks.”

The BoxBrownie team will be at over 60 conventions in a year. But they’d be surprised if they don’t attend every Inman event going forward.

“If you’re an early stage company and toying with the idea of sponsoring an Inman event for the first time, I have advice: go with an open mind. You’re going to get feedback. You’re going to get constructive criticism. But the source is good. People there have been in the industry for a long time. The feedback we received was invaluable.”

In short, you’ve gotta be in it to win it. “Startup Alley is priced to allow companies to get in. There was no way we could have done anything else at the time. But we’re doing Bronze sponsorship this year ICSF18!”


Interesting in bringing your young company to Startup Alley at Inman Connect Las Vegas? Apply now!