On Friday, May 8, HousingWire is hosting its first-ever Real Estate Tech Virtual Demo Day. I spoke with leaders from three of the companies presenting and am excited to share highlights from those conversations.
Chime offers an integrated marketing and business development platform that includes lead generation, custom website, chatbot, and CRM functionality. The company has built a platform specifically for real estate agents and brokers.
The all-in-one platform allows a real estate agent to drive leads from Google and Facebook to their custom website. The leads then enter information and artificial intelligence (AI) takes over to interact with the lead by text until the agent is available to follow up. Chime’s AI then scores each lead so an agent can prioritize who to follow up with first.
A major differentiator of Chime’s platform is there is no minimum contract. According to Brady Mosk, senior account executive and head of affiliate marketing, Chime wants to “earn your business every month.” The company has over 100 developers operating on a two-week sprint cycle, which means end customers see improvements to the platform every month.
During our conversation, Mosk touted a customer churn rate of under 2% per year. Or as Mosk put it, “for every new customer I put on the platform, 9.8 will be on it at the end of the year.” Mosk claimed that he is having success selling to agents at several major brokerages, including brokerages like eXp Realty and Keller Williams that have their own free CRM offering.
As a product leader myself, I have great respect for successful practitioners who see a product gap in their business and build a product themselves, instead of waiting for someone else to solve the problem.
This is what happened with Jay Rooney, CEO and founder of DepositLink. Rooney spent over 14 years as a real estate agent and broker, eventually building a brokerage in Boston that had over 50 agents across three offices.
As the owner of a brokerage, Rooney was spending way too much time dealing with the inefficiencies of paper checks in the real estate process. Checks were bouncing, getting lost or ripped, or addressed to the wrong company or individual.
So in early 2018, Rooney started building DepositLink. DepositLink gives agents and brokers a mobile-responsive website that they can share with their buyers and sellers. Payments for earnest money deposits and commissions can be made in minutes using the ACH network, widely accepted as the most secure money transfer network in existence.
According to Rooney, DepositLink is “Venmo for real estate, but on steroids.” Not only can agents and brokers remove the inefficiencies of paper checks, but they can also avoid some of the potential fraud issues associated with wire transfers.
During the coronavirus pandemic, real estate professionals and their lending partners have had to get creative when it comes to closing. It’s good to know that there are companies like Qualia that are helping the housing economy innovate towards fully digital closings.
According to Matt Kaufman, vice president of marketing at Qualia, “Most people have a basic understanding of real estate and mortgage, but the piece of housing that most people don’t understand is title and escrow.” Qualia is helping to bring transparency to the closing process by bringing real estate agents, loan originators, and closing professionals onto the same digital platform.
Real estate agents can even bring their buyers and sellers onto the closing platform by sharing a free mobile application developed by Qualia.
According to Kaufman, Qualia has been busy over the past few months as COVID-19 pushes housing professionals to move the homebuying process to the cloud. Kaufman expects this shift to continue as more consumers experience the convenience and built-in social distancing of digital closings.