Real estate startup accepted into business accelerator

Inman News

Real estate transaction management company Reesio has been accepted into the 500 Startups Accelerator, a startup-incubation program run by big-name investors.

The company's selection, disclosed to Inman News by Reesio, provides one of the latest indications that investors are increasingly eyeing the real estate technology space -- a sector that has attracted much attention since the successful initial public offerings of listings sites Zillow and Trulia. 

"I think Reesio's acceptance into 500 Startups, like Estately before it, shows that there is renewed interest in real estate amongst investors and as a vertical for entrepreneurs," said Joel Burslem of real estate consulting firm 1000watt.

In addition to Estately, Happy Inspector, a company that participated in Real Estate Connect's Startup Alley in January, is a graduate of the program, as are commercial real estate companies CompStak and 42Floors.

Reesio beat out somewhere close to 500 other applicants to win a spot on the program's roster, according to the company's founder Mark Thomas. The program accepts anywhere from 25 to 30 startups and enrolls two batches of them a year, Thomas said. To participate, Reesio and other startups will set up shop in 500 Startups' offices in Mountain View, Calif., he said.

The program begins on April 15 and lasts four months.

Like other winners, Reesio will receive an investment of $50,000 through the program, with the possibility of clinching up to $200,000 more as the program progresses. 

But 500 Startups offers much more than cash, Thomas said. Its all-star cast of mentors cultivates its enrollees, offering guidance and insights on business aspects like consumer acquisition, fundraising, marketing and product management.

Galen Ward, co-founder of Estately and Sami Inkinen, co-founder of Trulia, are among 500 Startups' long list of mentors, which also include execs from Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Netflix.

Thomas said the program will land Reesio on the radar of a much larger swath of investors, culminating with a "demo day" when Reesio and other startups will present their products to hundreds of investors.

"It just adds a huge layer of credibility to what we're doing, a stamp of approval from a top accelerator," Thomas said. "You know that you're really onto something and doing it right when people outside the industry say, 'Yeah, you're doing the right thing.'"

Reesio is a paperless transaction-management company that competes with companies like dotloop and Cartavi. Originally designed to help for-sale-by-owner sellers advertise their properties on local multiple listing services, the company now offers its platform exclusively to real estate agents.

Both buyer's agents and listing agents may use it to create transactions and invite clients and other parties, such as loan officers. Those with access to the platform may use its cloud-based dashboard to fill out necessary paperwork and monitor how far along other parties are in completing theirs. Along with hosting that information, it provides notifications to consumers that remind them of deadlines.  

The company claims to offer more value to customers than some of its rivals by supporting transaction steps that aren't available on other platforms, such as property showings and offers. Reesio also touts its system as a one-stop shop in the sense that it doesn't require users to sign up for additional services to complete transactions, such as e-signing services.

The company took its product nationwide in November, and so far, about 225 agents have signed up, resulting in 175 created transactions, Thomas said. The service costs $20 a month or $195 a year. Later this month, Reesio will introduce changes to the site that will allow entire brokerages to sign up for it, Thomas said.  

Thomas said Reesio intends to leverage 500 Startups' mentorship to develop its ability to help agents market their properties. That could mean creating a plug-in that allows agents to display Reesio-stored transaction information on their websites, he said.

Reesio also expects to collaborate with mentors on ways to exploit the information it accumulates in order to tailor its service to specific markets as well as customers. For example, Thomas said it may develop a feature that recommends to users whether or not to accept an offer. It also will seek to enhance its social media platform, Thomas added. 

Ultimately, the goal is to transform Reesio into a service that facilitates all aspects of real estate transactions. Reesio could "almost become like a new MLS," Thomas said.

Reesio's acceptance into 500 Startups is one of several other developments that is bringing real estate startups into the tech limelight. 

The National Association of Realtors recently announced the inaugural group of real estate-tech startups for REach, a tech incubator that is run by NAR's strategic venture arm, Second Century Ventures. In addition, Inman News announced this week that applications for its own accelerator program, Inman Incubator, are now open.

Thomas said the IPOs of Zillow and Trulia, which raised hundreds of millions of dollars, were a "huge catalyst" for luring investors into real estate tech. Their success showed investors that "there's a light at the end of the tunnel," he said. 

1000watt's Burslem noted that the real estate tech space "was pretty quiet for a while, probably due to the slow market we've had the last few years.

"But the fact that we're starting to see more and more innovative startups come back into this space and try and crack some of the big challenges in real estate is exciting and I think it's going to be a net positive for agents, brokers and real estate brands."     

Contact Teke Wiggin:
Letter to the Editor
View Comments