DotLoop, a startup trying to bring real estate negotiations online, has raised a $7 million Series A from Trinity Ventures.
The company says its software is already used by more than 200,000 real estate agents who serve more than 6 million buyers and sellers. To accelerate its growth, DotLoop is now releasing a free version of its product, DotLoop Now, which should make its services accessible to individual agents, not just the ones who work at large real estate companies (though the big companies will presumably still want to pay for the premium version).
CEO Austin Allison says he first came up with the idea 10 years, when buying his first house at the age of 17 (I guess that’s a thing people do in Cincinnati, where Allison and DotLoop are based). He “became fascinated with the real estate transaction process — it was incredibly antiquated, with fax machines and scanners for every single deal.” That’s particularly troublesome in real estate, he says, because you’re not just trying to share documents, but passing them back-and-forth to negotiate the fine points and close the deal, so the old-fashioned process can drag things out.
DotLoop, on the other hand, creates an online workspace where all the parties involved in a deal can work on the document together. Usually, only one party has permission to alter the document at a time, mirroring the negotiation process, so they take their turn and then pass the permission on to someone else, but everyone can see the document and how it’s being altered the whole time, and use the workspace to discuss any issues. By allowing people to negotiate in this way, Allison says this also helps kill some of the “choke points” that can hold up a deal.
Eventually, Allison says DotLoop’s technology could also be applied to negotiations in other fields.
The company plans to open an office in San Francisco. Trinity partner Noel Fenton is joining its board.