Twelve real estate startup leaders braved the stage at the National Association of Realtors technology conference Tuesday, offering tools for staging, rentals, listing presentations, keeping up with clients post-close, real estate development, affordable housing, risk assessment and accounting.
The 1.48 million-member trade group’s third annual Innovation, Opportunity & Investment (iOi) Summit is being held Tuesday and Wednesday at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel in Dallas, Texas. The event is best known for its “Pitch Battle,” a contest hosted by NAR’s for-profit investment subsidiary, Second Century Ventures, 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.
SCV live-streamed the Pitch Battle Tuesday afternoon from NAR’s Facebook page. After submitting applications in July, 12 companies made the cut. Each contestant had four nerve-wracking minutes to make their pitch live and in person and then another four minutes to answer questions from the Pitch Battle judges.
The judges were York Baur, CEO of MoxiWorks; Kenya Burrell-VanWormer, senior vice president of diversity at T3 Sixty; Alex Lange, CEO of Forbes Global Properties; Shana Schlossberg, founder and CEO of Upword; and Marilyn Wilson, founding partner at WAV Group.
They lobbed questions such as: “How would you get Realtors involved in your product?” “How do you collect your data?” “What is your average revenue per user? ” “How will you scale?” “Where will you expand next?” “What’s your total addressable market?” and the all-important “How do you make money?”
The winner, as selected by the judges, will be announced on Wednesday. Throughout the event, attendees and viewers were also encouraged to vote for a “Crowd Favorite,” which will also be announced tomorrow. Votes for the Crowd Favorite award must be cast by midnight Central time on Tuesday.
Here are the 12 contestants, along with their company-provided descriptions:
- Docitt examines a consumer’s debts and credit to orchestrate the optimal credit profile and the best integrated and actionable (financial) solution to improve the consumer’s purchasing power.
- Feather is the next-generation furniture and home decor rental service that makes it possible for people to find beautiful furniture quickly, without the upfront cost and commitment of traditional retail.
- HighNote Labs is a sales pitching platform that streamlines the sales pitch process for agents listing presentations, offers, new buyers, and agent recruiting.
- Matrix is a fintech digital application that provides deeper insight into credit profiles of would-be tenants by automating conditions and providing recommendations to landlords for rejected applicants.
- Milestones is a customer-experience platform for buying, selling, and managing home ownership—provided by real estate professionals to their clients.
- Otso provides A-rated insurance coverage for lease security, an alternative to traditional cash deposits and letters of credit, which provides landlords increased protection against default.
- Parafin is a cloud-based design platform for real estate developers to instantly generate building designs, budgets, and proformas for their next construction project.
- Remarkably is a marketing and business intelligence platform that aggregates disparate marketing and leasing data, monitors and analyzes performance, forecasts future trends, and more.
- Renter Mentor is a platform that provides a centralized, secure, and automated way to list, manage, and find affordable housing.
- Restb.ai’s suite of AI-powered solutions enable real estate companies to instantly extract insights (room type, home features, styles and condition analysis, and more) from their property imagery.
- Hospiria/UnderTheDoormat Group is a business professionalizing the short-term rental industry and transforming both the property and hospitality industries with three unique products.
- Zipi reimagines a fractured system to easily facilitate and transact real estate with their back office, accounting and digital payment offerings.
Ines Hegedus-Garcia, director of strategy and innovation at Avanti Way Realty, emceed the event.
The judges will choose the winner based on these criteria, according to NAR:
- Definition of the problem or opportunity
- Solution to problem/opportunity
- Impact of solution/idea
- Feasibility of marketing and implementing the solution/idea
- Presentation style
On-demand photo-editing service BoxBrownie beat out 15 other contestants when NAR held its first pitch battle at its inaugural iOi Summit in San Francisco in 2018, and Curbio, which renovates homes for sellers and gets paid at closing, won against 13 other contestants at the second pitch battle in 2019 in Seattle.
According to NAR, the prize package is winner-takes-all and includes:
- A 10 x 10 booth at the 2021 Realtors Conference & Expo (a $3,800 value)
- A live demonstration from the theater in the NAR booth at the 2021 Realtors Conference & Expo
- An article feature about the Pitch Battle winner in RISMedia and Realtor Magazine
- A meeting with an SCV executive
- The opportunity to present the prize check during the presentation ceremony to the winner of the iOi Pitch Battle 2022