Quick: How does your technology product or service improve the real estate industry? You have four minutes. And you’re on a stage in front of hundreds of real estate pros and a few prominent judges who get to grill you on what you’re offering.

Sound attractive? You’re in luck. The application process is now open for the National Association of Realtors’ second annual iOi Pitch Battle, a contest in which aspiring real estate tech startups vie for $15,000 in cash and the attention of venture capitalists and others who could help them make a splash in the industry.

On-demand photo-editing service BoxBrownie beat out 15 other contestants when NAR held its first pitch battle at its inaugural Innovation, Opportunity and Investment (iOi) Summit in San Francisco last year.

This year, NAR is holding the tech conference at the Hyatt Regency Seattle beginning Tuesday, Aug. 20 and going through the late afternoon of Thursday, Aug. 22.

Pitch battle contestants will present live on Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2:30-4:30 p.m., and the winner will be announced Aug. 22 at 9 a.m.

Glenn Shimkus

“The goal of the iOi Pitch Battle is to highlight how some of the most cutting edge and impactful startups are helping to define the future of real estate. All iOi Summit registrants are welcome to attend the live iOi Pitch Battle,” said Glenn Shimkus, NAR’s vice president of strategy and innovation, in a statement.

Chris Smith, co-founder of real estate digital marketing firm Curaytor, will once again emcee the event, Shimkus added.

Second Century Ventures, NAR’s strategic investment subsidiary, will host the pitch battle. Applications are due by July 7. The trade group plans to invite 12 companies from the applicant pool, Dave Conroy, NAR’s director of emerging technology, told Inman via email.

According to the contest’s terms and conditions, a NAR-chosen panel of judges will judge and choose the pitch battle winner based on the following criteria:

  • definition of the problem or opportunity
  • solution to the problem or opportunity
  • impact of the solution or idea
  • feasibility of marketing and implementing the solution or idea
  • presentation style

NAR will publish a final list of judges on July 14. Applicant finalists will hear back July 19-23 and they’ll get a 30-minute coaching session ahead of the event. Finalists must complete the coaching session and submit a logo, description, and optional handout for the event’s mobile app by Aug. 7.

Chris Smith

On Aug. 20, between 2 and 5 p.m., Smith will lead an onsite pitch battle prep workshop for the finalists before the big event. This year, contestants get four minutes to make their pitch, up from last year’s three minutes.

The prize package is winner-takes-all and includes:

  • $15,000 cash
  • A 10×10 booth at the 2019 Realtors Conference & Expo on Nov. 8-11, 2019 in San Francisco (a $3,700 value)
  • A live demonstration from the theater in the NAR booth at the 2019 Realtors Conference & Expo
  • An online article post-event featured by Realtor Magazine
  • Article post-event featured by RISMedia.
  • Opportunity to present the prize check during the presentation ceremony to the winner of iOi Pitch Battle 2020
  • Opportunity to meet with an executive team member from SCV
  • Opportunity to attend an advisory session in September 2019 with iOi Summit’s program director on “How to Exhibit like a Pro — Converting Leads into Relationships”

Bob Goldberg

“If you consider yourself an innovator, entrepreneur, investor, or executive seeking to lead change, I encourage you to join the conversation. It’s one you won’t want to miss,” said NAR CEO Bob Goldberg in a statement.

NAR held a hackathon as well as a pitch battle at last year’s iOi Summit. NAR will not host a hackathon at iOi this year, “instead focusing on the pitch battle after all the positive feedback it received last year,” Conroy said.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with comments from NAR’s Dave Conroy.

Email Andrea V. Brambila.

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