Radius Agent, a real estate social network, referral and lead generation startup is launching a real estate brokerage. The company simultaneously announced it raised an additional $2 million to launch the brokerage first in California and Colorado, with the funding round led by NFX, a venture capital fund founded by Pete Flint, the co-founder of Trulia.
Radius Agent was first launched as an agents-only social network community where agents could exchange ideas an ask each other questions. One of the biggest use cases that came out of it was exchanging referrals.
“Our goal has always been very agent-focused, so we want to build products on top of this community that help them grow their business and increase their income,” Sanya Gurnani, the chief operating officer and co-founder of Radius Agent told Inman exclusively.
The company launched Radius Marketplace a lead referral market place and vetting service, as well as and Radius Assist, a lead qualification service in July 2019. The next evolution for the 70,00-agent community was to launch a brokerage, which the company plans to scale nationally.
“After launching these products and growing these businesses and having a tech platform that agents rely on, we’re now excited to launch Radius Agent Realty,” Gurnani said. “The premise here is the same, we want them to grow their businesses, we want them to have more earnings.”
Radius Agent Realty is a virtual brokerage — though the company will have coworking spaces for agents who need a place to conduct a face-to-face meeting — that is operating on the 100 percent commission model. At Radius Agent Realty, agents pay $199 per month and either $500 per transaction or $900 per transaction, with the latter also paying for transaction coordination.
Gurnani acknowledged the concept of a virtual brokerage isn’t new, but she believes that Radius Agent provides unique value to agents, through its existing lead generation and nurturing platforms, as well as its existing agent community.
“What we’ve looked at, when we look at that gamut of virtual brokerages is, for the most part, they’re very hands-off,” Gurnani said. “They’re not providing relevant value, they are providing a place for you to hang your license, and they’re fairly hands-off.”
“We know we’re providing leads through the market place, we know we’re providing technology to help them manage and qualify leads, and on top of that, one thing we’re very conscious about doing is building their online presence,” Gurnani added. “We’re going to support their marketing, their branding, and keep us at their side helping build out their brand.”
The company is first launching its brokerage component in California and Colorado, with its eye toward significant growth.
“Our biggest advantage is that we have over 70,000 agents in the community, and nationally,” Biju Ashokan, Radius Agent’s founder and CEO, told Inman. “Whenever we’ve launched products in the past, they’re grown really fast because of the overarching community.”
“As soon as we make this launch, our goal is to get to that first 100 in the next couple of months,” Ashokan added. “We’re pretty confident about getting there because of the community.”
The company is launching the new brokerage simultaneously raising $2 million from investors, bringing its total fundraising to $8.5 million. The funding includes venture capital firm NFX, as well as Cota Capital, Sierra Ventures and Gary Beasley, founder of Roofstock.
Flint, in an exclusive conversation with Inman, praised the company’s agent-first approach, specifically the 100 percent commission model, existing agent community and low overhead associated with the virtual brokerage model, saying agent-first brokerages are a long-term trend that’s hitting the real estate industry.
“Agents are taking more control over how they run their business,” Flint said. “Agents are really at the center of the process rather than the broker.”
Flint also praised the leadership at Radius Agent, and the company’s technology-building track record. He believes the company’s ability to execute technology — its existing leads platform, for example — will ultimately separate it from other brokerages jockeying for market share.
Radius Agent is fundamentally a technology company that’s focused on building great agent tools, rather than a brokerage focused on changing the brokerage business model.
“Many of the more traditional brokerages don’t have the leadership or DNA that truly embraces tech in a way that Radius does,” Flint said.
The timing of Radius Agent’s launch also coincides with the trend of digital acceleration that’s accompanying the COVID-19 pandemic.
“What agents and consumers demand is a virtual, digital transaction,” Flint said. “And at this time, people are focused on efficiency.”