Five Startups Shaking Up the Real Estate Industry
Where there is funding, there are disrupters. These five caught our eye. The type of ingenuity demonstrated by these companies inspired the recent launch of our Jump Start program. But in addition to creativity and problem-solving, these companies are bringing something else to the real estate transaction – a little bit of fun.
Flyhomes, known for quick closes and perks like Lyft credits and airline miles, is quickly expanding after raising $4 million. Rather than have a single agent act as a “generalist” and work the real estate transaction from start to finish, FlyHomes has a team of experts who work in various parts of the homebuying process, similar to the structure of many agent teams.
Like others on this list, FlyHomes doesn’t treat agents as independent contractors working on commission. Instead, they hire employees for specific jobs and pay them a salary and bonuses.
In addition to the fun perks, Flyhomes touts on-demand home tours and pre-offer home valuations, which can give buyers an advantage in competitive markets.
“We are hoping to make the home buying process more transparent, fun and seamless,” said CEO Stephen Lane.
AskDoss imagined a different type of real estate search experience. Rather than logging into a portal to hunt and peck your way through listings, AskDoss wanted to create a virtual real estate assistant you could literally talk to. The result it AskDoss, the first AI platform for real estate.
With AskDoss, users can literally speak their preferences into the application, similar to Siri or Alexa. Instead of choosing from dropdown menus on a website, users verbalize their request directly into the application: “Doss – I’m looking for a three-bedroom apartment in Uptown Houston with a garage, lots of natural light and a salt water pool.”
Founder Bobby Bryant is an experienced Realtor in Texas. He set out to create an Artificial Intelligence Real Estate Advisor build on three core principals: efficiency, results and trust.
“I’m an insider…. I know how Realtors feel about the current state of the real estate industry and the technologies that are threatening to replace us,” said Bryant. “I wanted to create something that Realtors can be proud of and rally behind because they know DOSS has their best interest in mind.”
While AskDOSS is creating a virtual assistant for home-buyers, Amitree is using technology to create an assistant for real estate agents. Amitree recently raised $7 million to expand their Google Chrome extension tool called “Folio.”
Folio is able to process millions of emails in an agent’s account. It files, sorts, and organizes emails based on where the consumer is in the transaction. Because agents often handle multiple clients and deals simultaneously, staying organized with communication can quickly become a monumental task. Folio, a free tool for agents, works to streamline this process.
The tool has been downloaded over 30,000 times and has helped 200,000 transactions, according to the Amitree website.
Amitree is a great example of real estate technology that’s not trying to disrupt the current structure of the home-buying process, instead, it’s trying to use technology to help agents keep up.
Home61 is on the list because while they aren’t attempting to turn the real estate transaction on its’ head, they are making slight changes throughout the process with technology to help make the process more efficient and successful for everyone involved.
Home61 recently raised $4 million in funding to expand its concept outside of Miami. Because Home61 agents are hired, trained and receive a salary, many aren’t concentrating solely on larger deals and can focus on the “other 80%” of the market, according to the CEO.
In addition to training and paying their agents, Home61 equips them all with an ipad where they can research any home or neighborhood in the market, communicate with prospects and even process documents through HelloSign.
These efficiencies seem to be working. Their website claims a response time of under 5 minutes and the CEO says agents are closing an average of 2.5 transactions per month, much higher than industry standard.
Home61 demonstrates how small tweaks and adjustments can produce substantial results. We’ll see how their expansion goes in the coming months and years.
This one is (admittedly) a little out of left field, but we really like it. What could shake up the industry more than consumers buying tiny houses and putting them wherever they want?
Kasita was founded in 2015 after its founder, Jeff Wilson, spent a year living in a dumpster and fell in love with a minimalist lifestyle. Kasita offers pre-fabricated, 352 square foot homes for $139,000.
The homes can be stacked and used for in-law houses, offices, vacation homes, or permanent residents. The company called the units “i-phones for housing.” The homes, while small, are extremely high tech and focused on design. There is no inch of wasted space and every unit is outfitted with the latest voice-activated technology. In addition to helping with things like home security and temperature, it can recognize “moods” and adjust the environment accordingly.
Admit it. Don’t you kind of want one?
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