Investments in the Real Estate World

Build-house-found-object-1Last week I was on a panel at Real Estate Connect, Brad Inmans Conference.  An insanely well run event that is the place to be if you are in the real estate world.  

Morgan Brown was our moderator.  The panel was Josh Guttman from Softbank, Brian Hirsch at Tribeca Ventures Partners, Amy Wu at IA Ventures and me.  The panel lasted 15 minutes and what we talked about in that short about amount of time was impressive.  Morgan can moderate any panel I am on anytime.  

I heard from a few people after the panel sharing their businesses with me.  I have written about real estate many times.  Real estate is an industry that some would say is still incredibly conservative and not using the technology available to them.  I am not so sure about that.  What makes the real estate community unique is that this space comes down to something very simple, dollars.  Most peoples biggest physical asset they own is a home.  II is about supply, demand and desire.  I know because I have been buying, selling and renovating for years.

My first investment in real estate was Curbed.  The early adapters to that proved to be the start of an industry going through change.  10 years ago, in NYC,  real estate agents put their listings in the NYTimes real estate section.  Fast forward, they are all on line reading Curbed daily.  Dottie Herman got it from day one and so did Brad Inman.

Fast forward I met the Nestio team at Techstars NY and became a mentor to the team.  This was about three years ago.  This is when I knew that the real estate market was moving into technology. Many naysayers said Nestio would not work that people had tried this before but the reality is that timing in life is everything.  They began as a place for renters to find listings and categorize them.  Overtime they evolved into giving landlords and agents the ability to manage their listings in real time, in one place.  They are growing and definitely changing the way their clients manage their listings.

Sweeten came to me through a friend who had used the service and thought I should meet with the entrepreneur.  I got it immediately.  The difficulties of finding the right contractor for your project is not easy.  Having a marketplace to match your needs with someone who has been approved makes total sense.  Having maps that show what other transactions have taken place in your neighborhood is brilliant.  Bringing on customer service to help both the client and contractor move the process through with less angst makes sense too.  Huge fan.  Yes an investment.

Architizer helps architects explore and collect information that currently resides in huge books that look like yellow pages.  Certainly consumers can browse too.  A business to business model with a little consumer tossed in on the side.  They also put on an annual awards event that acknowledges the industries professionals in over sixty categories

I am also invested in Tactile Finance.  Tactile Finance helps customers navigate complex financial products making it easier not only for the customers but the banks and mortgage brokers in regards to complete transparency.  As we all know the mortgage industry has not been so transparent over the past few years.  Being able to calculate everything through technology makes total sense.  It is a win for real estate buyers. 

The real estate industry is going to look very different ten years from now.  There will always be places to be bought, places to sell, buildings to get built, renovations to take place, real estate portfolios that need to be managed yet the way all of this is done will be so much more efficient with collected data and more effective when it comes to cost and timing.  What that means will certainly be interesting to watch.