Every year in the US alone there are 5 million residential home transactions. For most people this represents on of the biggest decisions they will make and they still trust a real estate agent and a mortgage lender to help them through the process.
Currently there is over a million real estate agents who help consumers with their home transaction. With the growth and near dominance of the major real estate portals like Zillow, the agents are in constant fear of losing their client to an ad for another agent on any of these portals.
The portals make 100s of millions a year charging agents and lenders to appear on these portals alongside property listings.
Planwise is helping agents and lenders stay connected and relevant to homebuyers at a fraction of the cost and without the need for the agent to implement any new technology .
How do you make money?
Our first focus for Planwise is the US residential housing market. We are introducing this month a tool called PlanwiseConnect. It is sold to the agent and their preferred mortgage lenders. The agent introduces their client to the tool (free for the client) which they install as a Planwise branded extension in their browser. It adds Planwise financial tools to every major property site, enabling the consumer to get better financial insight while they look for property without giving up any personal or financial information to these sites.
Embedded in this tool (a sticky footer along the bottom of the browser) is the profile and ability to message the agent who gave them the tool. The agent pays us $99/year for this. This compares to the literally thousands an agent might pay to advertise on a major property site.
It looks like this
As well as this, the preferred lenders of the agent (typically they have 3 - 5) pay to also be featured on this tool and the consumer is able to reach out to them to get pre-approved, with a single click. The lenders pay us $499/month to be featured up to 25 agents versions of the tool.
Even getting only 1 closed deal per year would mean this was better value than buying leads from the portals themselves.
We have your ideal startup team. A product guy (CEO) with over 15 years experience building financial technology and critical domain expertise in both real estate and mortgages. A technology guy (CTO) who has built enterprise financial platforms, critical to supporting the complexity of mortgages and financial modeling. And a business guy (CRO) who has over 10 years and 2 exits specifically in real estate in the US, growing marketing, sales and customer support teams.
We have taken over $1.5m (including funds committed & funded in this round) over 3 rounds to date, with the majority of our investors coming out of the mortgage and real estate industries. Some notable investors include the National Assoc of Realtors themselves and an Australian Stock Exchange listed Mortgage Lender
Selling into real estate requires access to distribution. In the last 2 months we have been approved as a supplier to both RE/MAX and Leading RE (an umbrella organization for the top 500 independent brokerages in the US). Together these groups give us access to over 200,000 agents and brokers.
RE/MAX Approved SupplierJanuary, 2015
60 agent signups in first 2 weeksJanuary, 2015
Homeloans Ltd (Listed Australian Bank) takes a strategic stake in PlanwiseSeptember, 2014
Got approved supplier status for Leading Real Estate Companies of the worldDecember, 2014
National Association of Realtors investedOctober, 2014
Solid Earth deploys PlanwiseFebruary, 2014