Realtors Launch a Tech Startup Program of Their Own

Published on January 17, 2013
by Liz Gannes

While the real estate industry hasn’t traditionally been thrilled about innovators like Redfin and Zillow, it’s now feeling friendly enough about the Internet to launch its own officially endorsed “tech accelerator” program to support startups in the space.

REachWell, sort of. This isn’t your normal three-month start-up accelerator bootcamp program.

REach, which comes directly from the folks at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), has accepted its first startup, BombBomb, which does video email marketing.

While “accelerator” might be the hip word to describe a startup program, REach is a bit different from Y Combinator, TechStars and the like. The program will include six to 10 companies and last nine months. It doesn’t include any upfront funding, but it does ask for a sliver of startup equity.

The main benefit of REach is to get access to NAR’s one million realtor members, as well as mentorship and exposure, said managing director Constance Freedman.

Participating startups can continue to operate from wherever they like, as long as they attend monthly meetings in Chicago. Instead of “demo days” for investors, companies will present to potential customers at two NAR conferences.

Freedman said the program is jointly run with NAR’s strategic investment arm, Second Century Ventures, which expects to extend investment offers to the most promising participants. Previous Second Century Ventures investments include DocuSign and Ifbyphone.

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