Estately.com is one of my favorite local real estate search web sites (see 10 Kick Ass Real Estate Search Sites). So, when news broke that they had secured $450K in funding I seized the chance to ask founder Galen Ward what was next for the budding property.
What are you going to do with all the money? Ferrari or Porsche?
I’ve found that Consumer Reports doesn’t cover our new car choices, but we’ve only raised an angel round, and that means we have to be frugal. So it’s a Porsche. The company Ferrari will come with the Series A round.
With the remaining money we’re going to build out some new features for our competitors to copy and we’re going to be expanding into new markets. We’ve received quite a few requests for new inspiring ideas from Redfin and Trulia of late, so we’re cooking up some great stuff for them.
Who were the investors?
The investors wish to remain anonymous, but they have all made their money on the web. Mostly through ponzi schemes and fake paypal sites. They 100% support our plans and they are very much bottom-line oriented investors.
What’s next for Estately search technology?
We’re going to monetize social mobile real estate video. I think I’ve said too much.
How has the referral model working? Any shift in strategy?
The referral model is working really well. Consumers have been exceedingly pleased with the service and we’re exceedingly pleased with the good feedback we’ve been getting about our agents. We’re also pleased that we’re generating revenues. I really believe in our model: we work within the industry bringing the best agents from other brokerages to the consumer, which keeps our overhead down, makes it easy to “fire” agents who get bad feedback, and lets us focus on what we do well: search technology. We aren’t reinventing the full-service or discount-service brokerage wheel, we’re finding the best agents, driving more business to them, letting them continue to do what they do well, and letting clients avoid a lengthly interview and search process or the pain associated with working with a mediocre agent.
Any expansion plans? Is Oregon next?
We have nothing but expansion plans. Talk to me in 3 weeks.