real estate report

(Sept. 21, 2018) The National Association of Realtors holds an Innovation, Opportunity & Investment Summit where technology vendors can market their products to brokers and agents.

This year, NAR included what they dubbed a “hackathon” and a startup pitch battle, providing opportunities for the tech community to demonstrate what they can do to transform real estate.

“There’s nothing like this being done in the real estate vertical,” NAR CEO Bob Goldberg told attendees Thursday, calling the events part of his “larger strategy as CEO to bring tech firms that many consider to be disruptors under the tent as innovators, and turn them into advocates for our members.”

The summit’s hackathon was a month-long effort that attracted some 40 groups to figure out how artificial intelligence and machine learning might improve customer service, the home search process, real estate marketing, and listing data display.

KW Labs, Keller Williams Realty’s in-house software development arm, took home the grand prize check for $15,000. Their team created an app that automatically detects and tags video listing tours with certain property elements, such as building materials, architectural structures and lighting sources.

Once uploaded, the app instantly creates a landing page for the property, where home buyers can view videos room by room and read personalized notes and insights that the agent has added to the tour.

The runner-up was Voicester Pro, a company that uses voice-enabled search applications to help real estate companies and associations connect with consumers. They created “The Home Buying Game” where two people text answers on their homebuying preferences to an Amazon Alexa speaker. The winner gets to choose the next showing.

The summit’s startup pitch battle was hosted by Second Century Ventures, NAR’s strategic investment arm.

Sixteen tech startups offered live demos to venture capitalists, c-suite professionals, brokers and real estate professionals with a mission to help improve the real estate process for brokerages, agents, or consumers. They each had only three minutes to make their case to a panel of six judges.

BoxBrownie, an on-demand, à la carte photo editing service for real estate listings, virtual tours and floor plans, came out in first place.

The company’s director, Mel Myers, said they’re looking forward to expanding their reach into the U.S. real estate market to offer what he called “Botox for your real estate photos.”

— Lauren Bunting is an Associate Broker with Bunting Realty, Inc. in Berlin.

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