The verdict is in: Presale renovation startup Curbio is taking home a $15,000 cash prize from the National Association of Realtors‘ second annual Investment, Opportunity & Innovation (iOi) Summit Thursday.
Curbio, which renovates homes for sellers and gets paid at closing, was one of 14 contestants to go head-to-head in a “Pitch Battle” hosted by NAR’s for-profit investment subsidiary, Second Century Ventures.
The contenders — eight women and six men — were each on stage for eight, visibly nerve-wracking minutes: four to present their product using slides and four to get grilled by industry judges, as conference attendees and thousands of livestream viewers looked on.
“Our goal with this competition is to identify and showcase concepts poised to help drive the real estate industry forward,” said NAR CEO Bob Goldberg in a statement.
Rikki Rogers, Curbio’s vice president of marketing, delivered the startup’s pitch on stage.
“We let every homeowner flip their own property and cash in on their most important asset,” she told attendees. “We renovate homes before they go on the market so they sell for the best possible price. And we wait until settlement to get paid. Whether the home sells in six days or six months, the cost to the seller is the same and Curbio is paid for our work at closing through the proceeds of the sale.”
— National Association of REALTORS® (@nardotrealtor) August 22, 2019
Asked by the judges what happens if the sellers decide not to sell the home after it’s renovated, Rogers said it was a “love it or list it” type of situation. Sellers agree to put the home up for sale within a week of the renovation’s completion and to reduce the list price of the home by 2 percent every 30 days the home is not under contract.
“That makes us the bad guy. Agents love that,” she said.
If the sellers decide they don’t want to sell, all they have to do is pay for the work with no penalty, Rogers added.
The seller must have signed a listing agreement with an agent before Curbio will begin its work, Rogers said. Curbio then partners with the agent to determine which renovations will actually increase the value of the home and to guide the sellers in that direction.
“The beauty of combining our renovation expertise with the agent’s market expertise is that we have kind of a powerful argument to show the seller here’s how much money you can make if you just invest it now,” Rogers said.
When one judge asked if a seller could demand to renovate to their taste, by say, buying a purple toilet, Rogers replied, “We would say, ‘No, you cannot buy that purple toilet,'” prompting some laughter from the crowd.
“We have the toilet picked out already,” she continued. “Preselected materials. We have different ranges for different types of properties.”
Curbio is a member of this year’s class in NAR’s tech accelerator, REACH, as are three of the other contestants: RateMyAgent, reConsortia and Staging & Design Network. Earlier this month, Curbio announced it had raised $7 million in Series A funding led by real estate tech-focused venture funds Camber Creek and Brick and Mortar. The round brought Curbio’s total funding to $13.6 million so far.
The 13 other finalists focused on various aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries, including ways to make co-ownership simpler, track referrals, securely send earnest money and provide amenities in new and existing buildings:
- Cher: a network for people that want to co-own properties
- Coeo: a firm that matches people with commercial spaces that meet their amenity needs
- CRESimple: an “intelligent” platform for commercial real estate lending
- Digs: an app that contributes to a homebuyer’s down payment
- Earnnest: a digital platform that allows buyers to securely transfer earnest money
- Go Figure: a mobile app for general contractors that includes a measurement and proposal tool
- Homebot: a digital tool that agents and lenders can use to help homeowners manage their housing wealth
- Likely.AI: a precision marketing tool that predicts likely sellers
- LulaFit: a company that partners with developers to offer tenants desired amenities
- Propy: a real estate transaction platform powered by blockchain that SCV has invested in
- RateMyAgent: a platform that allows agents to collect reviews and easily share them online
- reConsortia: a platform that tracks real estate referrals using blockchain
- Staging & Design Network: a shared rental pool of furnishings for professional home stagers
The competition was emceed by Chris Smith of Curaytor and the judges were Morgan Carey, CEO and founder of Real Estate Webmasters; Chelsea Goyer, former vice president of partner programs and MLS relations at Redfin; Alex Lange, CEO of Upstream; Dino Vendetti, managing director at Seven Peaks Ventures; and Marilyn Wilson, founding partner of WAV Group.
Aside from the cash prize, Curbio will also receive:
- 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”
On-demand photo-editing service BoxBrownie won the iOi pitch battle last year.