The California Association of Realtors (C.A.R.) wants to find technology innovators for the real estate industry, and it’s willing to pay cash to do it.
The trade organization announced its “Innovators Workshop” competition Friday, saying in a statement that it wants to solicit transformative real estate ideas from “industry gurus, engineers, software developers, and entrepreneurs alike.” Applicants to the program don’t have to be real estate professionals themselves, but their ideas should fill some unmet need in the industry and “have a value proposition that is easy to understand.”
From the pool of people and groups who apply, C.A.R. will choose six finalists to present at “What’s Next – A Real Estate Tech Challenge,” which will be part of the group’s REimagine Conference and Expo in late September. The finalists will have to try to persuade a group of judges that their ideas are the best ones in the group.
The winner of the competition will be eligible for a $10,000 investment from C.A.R., as well as a marketing package. C.A.R.’s statement also notes that the organization may end up being “interested in partnering with applicants with the best ideas,” including those who are not necessarily the winners of the competition.
“C.A.R.’s staff and volunteers provide a think tank for your idea and the technical expertise and deep industry knowledge to help bring your idea to market,” the competition’s application page further explains. “In exchange, C.A.R. will negotiate with you a business relationship and equity stake in the product or service should it be chosen for further development.”
Would-be innovators are welcome to submit ideas either in early or late stages of development.
This year will mark the first time C.A.R. has staged a “live pitch battle type event” connected to REimagine, a spokesperson told Inman. However, the organization has previously taken submissions for tech products through its Business Technology Forum. That process has resulted in partnerships with companies such as Centriq, a home maintenance app that creates a property data hub for homeowners.
This year’s Innovators Workshop comes amid an ever-escalating interest in real estate technology. Just to mention a few of the major trends, web-based companies like Zillow and Redfin have seen years of growth, tech-focused brokerage Compass has been valued at $4.4 billion and Gary Keller now insists Keller Williams is a technology company.
Against that backdrop, a massive flood of big money has rushed into the real estate industry to fund an array of tech startups — some of which, such as iBuyer Opendoor, have become influential players in their own right.
Applications to C.A.R.’s Innovators Workshop can be filed online and are due by Aug. 28.
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