Of all the episodes we've published, this one may be the most focused on marketing and communications. I'm joined by Franco Faraudo, the co-founder of Propmodo, to discuss a wide variety of topics including content marketing, working with the media, pr strategy, and why your press release about raising $50 million is uninteresting. Franco has a real heart and passion for writing and for the cutting edge in real estate. When you put those two things together, you're bound to get something unique. Propmodo is one of the industry leading media sites you can follow for industry relevant news and thought pieces. I've been a reader of Propmodo and a fan of Franco's work for some time now, so of course I was super pumped to do this interview. I think every founder or exec in proptech will walk away with a ton of value from our discussion.
There's this constant pressure as a renter to buy, because of equity advantages and potential upside for when you sell. But with that comes committing to living in one house, with a 30yr mortgage, and the expense of fixing the water heater. Ryan Frazier, Co-Founder of Arrived Homes, has a different vision for today's generation. Arrived Homes is building a new model where tenants can rent a home while still enjoying the upside of owning. This model uses a real estate fund. In short, renter's get an opportunity to put up a small investment (first months rent and deposit) and then 7% of their monthly rent through Arrived Homes earns them a stake in a fund to buy investment properties. Those tenants then get to enjoy dividends, so long as they retain their shares in the fund even after they move out of an Arrived Homes property. It's an interesting model, but I think Ryan does a better job explaining it. Listen in.
Generating leads is one way to help agents build a business...but it's not a game of quantity. If there are only approximately 5.4 million residential deals each year, then what are we to do with the 100+ million leads generated annually? Drew Fabrikant, CEO of Scout, has some answers on this. Scout is working to create the best match-making service found in real estate. While Scout is a brokerage, they're more of a referral service for other brokerages than your typical setup. They're addressing the consumer challenge of finding the best agent--by using data, not just a simple form request for more info. We talk about the unique datasets Scout is building, why their approach helps agents build better businesses, and the massive opportunity Scout has to connect consumers with professionals in all service industries.
Will AI replace the real estate agent? Well ... not exactly. The better question to ask (at least for the next few years) is how will AI help real estate agents and ISAs better serve their clients? In this interview, Nate Joens, the CEO and co-founder of a company called Structurely, discusses how they're using AI to transform the process of cultivating leads. Structurely is helping prospective real estate customers in text discussions, up to the point the customer is ready to begin working with a live agent. Joens shares how Structurely is ideal for real estate teams, vs. the individual agent. This is probably a good strategy since teams are sweeping the nation in how they leverage resources to run better businesses. I think you'll like hearing what Structurely is up to and you may start to consider how you can be leveraging AI in your business after listening to this episode. Tune in!
Buckle up for this one, because Alex Doubet is going to drop some wisdom bombs on us all. He's the founder and CEO of Door.com, a flat-fee brokerage based in Dallas, TX that is on a mission to help home-owners keep more when they sell. In this interview, Alex details how a simple thank you note (or should I say the lack of one) was the catalyst to starting Door, how culture impacts the growth of a company, and it's both good for the consumer and challenging to run a real estate brokerage, title company, and mortgage brokerage--all at once. Of course, we get into some industry banter and yes you will hear some complaints in here about how the average real estate agent is working (or not working) these days. Listen in!
Do not pass up on this episode! If you have zero interest or knowledge in blockchain, (which the more I dig into it, the more I realize I'm not alone in my ignorance) that won't matter. Natalia is one of the brightest in the biz and you'll hear us discuss her company, Propy, and how they're leveraging blockchain as part of their solution to removing friction in the transaction process for residential real estate. One of the selling points that grabbed my attention, is that if I'm using Propy, I don't need to know how to do anything with blockchain. That is really important if you want to gain adoption, in my opinion. We also talk about the market size potential for Propy and it's a doozy! Lastly, you'll hear me rant and rave about their product explainer video. I can't quite articulate why I love it so much, but I did. Check the show notes if you want to watch it.
This is kind of a special episode in a few ways. Noel is SVP of Renters Warehouse and he's also a previous guest on the Tech Nest Podcast. I wanted to have him back because Renters Warehouse has been very busy in making some significant acquisitions and building a new marketplace ideal for investors who may be struggling to find the right opportunities to invest in. I think Renters Warehouse has really set themselves up for long-term success by developing multiple plays in the residential investing space.
The first thing that stood out to me was name, HappyCo. How could you not want to know what they're doing with such name? Jindou Lee, CEO of HappyCo, shares in this interview details about their work in creating a better way to manage and QA units under management. HappyCo is building a dataset few others can rival, with inspection checklists and info on nearly 1.9 million managed units, comprising of 3.8 million inspections and 131 million photos. Jindou's on to something special and has a great attitude.
That's the tagline you'll read if you visit Homebase.ai. Blake Miller is the founder and CEO of Homebase.ai and he's paving the way to create smarter apartment living and management. Homebase has created a way for property managers to better engage and enhance the living experience through technology such as smart home devices, WiFi, payments, and maintenance. Additionally, Blake shares how the addition of some of these technologies opens up new potentials of revenue for property managers.
Very few companies I can say I get their branding. I mean totally getting their color choice, font, icons, name, and the aesthetics they associate with their product. But that's Breather. A non-conventional marketplace and operator of commercial office space in major metropolitan areas. I got a chance to interview Packy McCormick, VP of Experience, about how Breather is separating themselves from others in the rush to scoop up swanky office space to lease out to thriving tech companies. Packy demonstrates his in-depth knowledge of the commercial office space, the need for extra attention to details, and the unique strategies that have helped Breather succeed over the last few years.
Have you ever heard someone say, "You can't be in two places at once,"? Well, they're right...kind of. See, for property managers, this is often a challenge. How do you show two units, that may be across town from each other AND enjoy your Saturday BBQ? Remote locks is part of the equation, along with a high-level of screening and security. Listen in to hear how James Barrett, CEO of Tenant Turner, is working to ease the pain many property managers feel in having to be in two places at once with smart automation solutions.
James Strong is the co-founder and CTO of a company called Rabbu and he's on a mission to make home automation, smarter. Keyless entry, climate control, and Wi-Fi monitoring are only a few of the smart solutions they provide. While these service may seem like "nice-to-haves" on the surface, we delve into the details about how it's services like this that can totally transform the rental experience for customers. This means better reviews, higher rent rates, and greater returns on investment.
I admit it. No one wants to talk about or even think about scrubbing boogers off of walls. But I can't not include this detail, because it's how Jeanna Carr's story as to how she became a tech founder, begins. She'd been working in the hospitality industry and as an investor in residential rentals when she got taken advantage of by tenants who cost her thousands in damages. That lead her to creating a tool called Rent Assured. She's got an incredible story of taking action and is making great progress, fast!
The short story is there are a few changes coming to the Tech Nest podcast, my personal life, and my career. I don't want to give it all away without you getting to hear it in this short episode, but I've decided to join a client full time as director of marketing. I discuss some of the history behind Tech Nest, what this all means for my agency, Real Team Panda, and reveal who I'm now working for. Listen in. Big things to come!
Bringing the ability to invest in real estate to nearly anyone is a noble cause and that's exactly what DiversyFund is trying to do. Anyone, accredited investor or not, and with as little as $2,500, can invest in their funds to begin investing in real estate. This episode features a discussion with Craig Cecilio, founder and CEO of DiversyFund. We talk through why creating access to real estate investing is important, some of the challenges, and how DiversyFund is specifically working to accomplish their vision.
When you think about it, there's a lot of unnecessary waste in the hotel world. Air conditioners or heating units running all day with no one in the rooms. Wasted time standing in line just to check in, even though your room has already been assigned and your identity was likely (or should have been) confirmed when you reserved your room online. And then when you start to think about security more and include AirBNB vacation rentals into the mix, you can quickly see there are countless ways we can make the experience of vacation rentals—hotels or AirBNB alike—much better, safer, and efficient. Operto is a company that is working to do that and in this episode we interview the CEO, Michael Driedger, about why this is so important and what his approach is to solving these challenges. He's also as big a fan of pho as I am and is an expert on smart locks. We had fun during this interview. Enjoy!
This is a special episode in that we get to feature both co-founders from a startup out of Seattle. Anna-Lea Dieringer and Erina Malarkey have known each other for many years. Only recently did they decide to align their skills from consulting, asset management, marketing, and commercial real estate to create a platform, Remarkably, aimed at improving multifamily marketing and asset performance. Whether its a new building not yet under construction or an under performing asset, Remarkably is aimed at helping owners and management companies better understand who their ideal tenant is and to give the actionable insights that enable that asset to get where it needs to be in terms of performance. You'll hear how they compliment each other as co-founders, some of the challenges they have faced, and where they're headed with Remarkably in this interview. Enjoy!
It's no doubt you've seen ads, and have likely seen news articles buzzing with hype about Opportunity Zones in the US. And while details are continuing to come out regarding some of the rules and stipulations, one company found themselves way ahead of the curve with a product that is specific to Opportunity Zones. Stefan Schimenes is the CEO and Founder of InvestReal. InvestReal is described as the, "first data-driven real estate marketplace focused on matching investors to projects in Opportunity Zones all over the US". So, just how is it possible Stefan and his team were able to create such a specific service in response to Opportunity Zones so quickly? Well, for that answer you'll just have to listen in to this episode!
What if I told you that you could start investing (soon) in Manhattan real estate—exclusively—if you wanted? You'd probably tell me that it's likely too expensive or you have no way of finding a deal that could make sense. But part of the vision Janine Yorio, CEO of Compound Asset Management, is to IPO a REIT to allow you to do just that. One thing that makes the approach of Janine and her team unique, is that they're aiming to create city specific REITs, so you can invest in your favorite city. I have a feeling you'll be seeing Janine in the news more as they plan to IPO three REITs in the next year!
Imagine you're an Airbnb Superhost for one property. You'll probably be pretty busy communicating with guests. Now imagine you're a Superhost managing 10, 50, 100, or even thousands of properties? Ok, so that requires a whole staff and not just one person, but you get the point. The rise of short-term stays has created a market for tools like Guesty. In this episode, we get the chance to speak with Guesty's COO, Vered Schwarz. This is a company that is taking on the complex task of managing short-term rentals globally. Check it out!
Let's first start with this: LionDesk is not just another CRM. They've been around for a few years, but if there's one thing you'll learn from their founder, David Anderson, its that he is working to make the heavy work of keeping up with clients much easier for agents. We don't often feature tools like this on our show, but it's the focus on making the real estate transaction better by improving how the agent can do their work that stood out to me. Listen in to hear what they're working on and what's to come from LionDesk.
The entire rental market is ripe for disruption from many different angles. Possibly one of the most important aspects to managing a rental property, other than collecting the rent, is the screening process. In this interview, we talk with Maraz Rahman, Naborly's VP of Growth and Business Development. Naborly is working to bring AI to the process of screening prospective tenants and they're working to make this a free service for landlords. Listen to hear more about this new service.
What if there was a way to ensure building owners could always get qualified tenants, who are likely to be loyal long-term tenants because they had the right incentives in place? What if we took the idea of loyalty rewards programs and started applying the same concepts we see with hotels, airlines, and credit cards to renting a place to live? This is just part of what Barret Newberry, founder of Leasera is looking to do. I think you'll discover the passion Barret has for the rental industry and for creating a great experience for tenants is contagious. And he's looking to do this all the while making the rental business more profitable for owners.
For about the last 5 1/2 years, Lisa Fettner has proven to be an industry leader as she's taken charge in the marketing and growth at ReferralExchange. ReferralExchange provides a platform that allows real estate agents to more seamlessly transfer and better manage referrals—anywhere in the country. Think about when a client is relocating out of state or they're looking to purchase a property out of state, the old system of having to know everyone, everywhere just isn't efficient for agents and that can lead to a poor experience for the consumer. ReferralExchange has a great approach to what they're doing and Lisa really knows the industry well. Listen in!
The security deposit is one of the biggest hassles in all of real estate. The tenant is required to sometimes tie up thousands of dollars to move into a new apartment or house, the landlord has to secure that money in a separate trust account, and then at the end of the lease the landlord has to return that money back to the tenant. But often times the exchange doesn't go as smoothly as planned. Obligo is challenging the concept of even having a security deposit at all and instead looking into how both landlords and tenants can kiss that practice goodbye for ever in exchange for a more seamless system. During this interview Omri Dor, CEO and Co-Founder of Obligo, explains exactly how they're tackling this challenge and why this is so important for everyone involved in the rental transaction.
Ryan Coon and his company Avail are serving hundreds of thousands of DIY landlords and tenants across the country, making the experience of renting better. Avail is an online tool that enables DIY landlords to effectively find and screen tenants, market their properties for rent, collect rent automatically each month, and keep track of all their rental properties all in one place. Ryan also drops quite a few knowledge bombs in this episode on the state of the industry, the importance of branding, and more. Ryan co-founded Avail (formerly Rentalutions) in 2011, is a member of the Forbes Real Estate council, and is a RE200 Mentor with MetaProp NYC, so you know he's bringing the heat. Listen in!
Sometimes is all starts with a mission. "At CrowdStreet we believe that markets are stronger when they are accessible, transparent, and efficient." That's straight from the CrowdStreet website. In this interview, you'll hear how Tore Steen, Co-Founder and CEO of CrowdStreet, is working to help investors and sponsors across the country connect and invest in commercial real estate. CrowdStreet was recently voted "best crowdfunding and capital sourcing" by CREtech. Tore and I got to discuss quite a lot during this interview including commercial real estate investing vs. the stock market, opportunity zones, and the three different ways you can invest in a wide variety of commercial real estate through the CrowdStreet platform.
Have you ever wondered what the secret is to scoring a big chunk of cash for your startup idea? Well, that secret isn't exactly revealed in this interview, but you will learn more about obtaining backing from VCs. Nima Wedlake, Principal at Thomvest Ventures shares insights into how they invest, and what they look for. You'll hear how Thomvest is different from many of VCs. We talk unicorns, how fintech and real estate tech go together, and more. If you're a company founder or think you'll ever need to seek out investors, this is an episode you can't afford to miss out on.
Most real estate transactions include real estate title and settlement services. And if you ask these different companies, they will tell you they're not all the same and charge different prices, though it's tough to compare. So exactly how is the consumer supposed to know who to go with, what the cost is, and how stable is their title insurance provider is incase there is an issue on title? All of these challenges and more is what William Devar is working to tackle at Tridster. He's the co-founder and CEO of Tridster that is helping bring transparency to title insurance and settlement services in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and California. William mentioned the average Tridster visitor has reported savings of $800 by comparing title and settlement services. I don't know about you, but I'd be pretty stoked on that savings.
Anytime you get a chance to learn from true movers and shakers, do it. It'll save you time, energy, and money. Alissa Harper is a true mover and shaker in real estate and the real estate tech space. She's the VP of Growth a Buyside, a company that is working with the top brokerages nationwide to help them better leverage data to win new business. There's simply no shortage of tools and tech right now, but we don't get caught up in the shininess of everything. It's clear the work Alissa is doing is focused on helping real estate agents achieve the optimal result, not just have a fun tool that can do some neat things. Do not pass up listening to Alissa's interview!
You can play the game of non-stop lead generation in order to build your business, but at some point you need to convert those leads. And if you convert more leads, then you won't likely have to do so much lead generation. This is just a snapshot as to what RealScout is doing for THOUSANDS of real estate agents nationwide. In this interview, Andrew Flachner shares a lot more than just how RealScout is helping realtors perform more efficiently and effectively. He also discusses the need for a collaborative buyers graph, shares advice for startups, and leaks out information about his latest project--a documentary covering the technology battle that's happening right now in the real estate industry. (Listen all the way to the end for the details on that!)
So much to say about the work Pat Kinsel and the team at Notarize are doing to revolutionize the role notaries can have in the real estate transaction. They've helped pass legislation, have partnered with real estate investors, and are already having an impact serving iBuyers (though I couldn't get Pat to reveal which ones). This is a longer episode, but it's worth the listen because you'll hear how Notarize is paving the way for speeding up the real estate transaction with their 24/7 digital service. Check it out!
Sam Viskovich is blazing a path in the commercial real estate tech space and the effect has been explosive growth for the data company Reonomy. Reonomy leverages the power of data and technology to transform commercial real estate. As Sam notes, commercial real estate is the world's largest asset class, but it really hasn't done well in keeping up with tech disruption like so many other industries. We discuss why the commercial real estate space needs data tools like Reonomy, the numerous use cases you wouldn't likely assume, and why Reonomy is uniquely positioned to dominate this space.
Juan Molina is a lead-generation machine. In this interview we discuss the lead generation challenges, and the need (or lack there of a need) for agents to have their own individual search portals. Juan is a serial entrepreneur and investor who's pro-actively working to improve the process of lead generation, community, and technology for real estate professionals. We go in to details about systems and the need for systematic follow-up that Juan's new tech platform Neighborly is solving.
Tech Nest season three coming at you! Here's what we discuss in this episode: * The future and direction of Tech Nest--new website, videos, and written content * TET '19 -- http://bit.ly/TET19EVENT * We've become a founding member of Industry Syndicate, but what's Industry Syndicate? * Real Team Panda, what we do and why that matters to those in real estate tech