San Francisco-based real estate startup Reesio is announcing today that it has closed on $1.096 million in new funding for its transaction management software for real estate agents. Investors included Digital Garage, MicroVentures, Hiten Shah, and other angels. The company had previously raised a seed round of $205,000.
Reesio first launched in April of this year, where it was focused on selling its platform to agents using the SaaS-based subscription model at prices ranging around $15 per month per agent. And this was a pivot from an earlier idea focused on the FSBO (for sale by owner) market.
During the company's participation in the 500 Startups accelerator program this year, co-founder and CEO Mark Thomas and his team found that by processing the transactions on its platform, they were accumulating listing and property data in real-time. Then, in comparing that transactional data to large portals like Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com, they found that Reesio's data was more current and more accurate, leading them to realize that they might have something even more valuable on their hands.
Thomas claims that as much as half the data on the search portals was inaccurate for a variety of reasons - it wasn't being updated in a timely fashion, as MLS systems were protecting their data against scrapers, for example. He says that the portals would not have the current, correct status of a property (contract, pending sold, etc.), the right listing price, or the right property data, like number of beds, baths or square footage, in a number of cases.
The problem lies with how the large portals are collecting this data. They syndicate listings from the 900 MLS's across the U.S. and pull in public record data. And the MLS systems themselves receive their data by manual input from real estate agents – and sometimes, it's never input at all.
Reesio's solution is to bring the transactions online, in a modern web-based system designed for brokers, transaction coordinators, and agents. The platform includes support for workflow templates that help agents to follow through with each step in the transaction process – a process which, traditionally, includes a large stack of printed paperwork. Instead of having to print out copies for everyone to sign, Reesio integrates DocuSign into its product so users can upload, share and sign all the files. The online file system also doesn't have a storage limit like other cloud storage companies do – such as Dropbox, a service that's fairly popular among agents today.
The platform itself is clean and simple in its design, which makes it easy for the sometimes less-tech savvy realtors to use, as well as the brokers who track their transactions. There's a social element to it, too, with member profiles, an Activity feed, and an invite system that allows users to reach out to clients, other agents an third-party vendors to get them online.
To take on competitors in the space, including companies like Cartavi and dotloop, among others, Reesio has until now been focused on offering a lower-cost agent offering. Brokers and transaction coordinators also start at those same lowered prices ($15 per agent per month, on average), but increase based on the number of users in their brokerage. The pricing included the e-signature account option, as well, so that's not a surprise fee later on.
To date, the company has signed up 1,700 real estate agents to use Reesio, but Thomas stresses that they haven't yet focused on growing the user base because they were in the accelerator program and have been still fine-tuning the product and platform, as there are also a lot of legal and compliance nuances that go into something like Reesio.
WHAT'S NEW: REESIO GOES FREE, ADDS PREMIUM FEATURES
Now, with the additional funding the plan is to drop the $15 per agent per month pricing plan altogether. (The website still reports pricing as being $20 per month, we should note – a discrepancy based on discounts currently offered). Starting on October 29th, Reesio will begin going after scale and growth by giving its product away for free to agents, who can then create as many transactions on Reesio as they want. The company will then launch additional features on the platform at the same time.
“Most notably, we're taking all of the transaction details and automatically using those details to create public listing pages that agents can use to market their properties and that buyers can find through Google searches. Agents will be able to subscribe and pay between $99/month-$399/month to receive buyer leads that come through their public listing pages,” says Thomas, explaining that the rest of the platform will remain free. Reesio is also going to be launching the ability to make, accept, and decline offers, schedule showings, and it will introduce a revamped documents and compliance section, he adds.
The longer term business model also includes an advertising component. Because Reesio knows when transactions occur, like a new listing is posted or a buyer goes into contract on a property, the software can present tasks in the workflow that point to third-party vendors who advertise with Reesio. This includes things like staging, home inspections, homeowners' insurance, and more. “The buyer won't be put off by that because they need to get it done,” says Thomas.
He also tells us the funding will be used to grow Reesio now four-person team by two more. They're hiring an iOS engineer to bring Reesio to the iPad and iPhone – a top request because realtors are typically on the go. The remaining funding will be used toward marketing efforts, with the goal of getting 25,000 to 50,0000 agents online over the course of the next 18 months.