Anyone who lives in the area understands that PNW is a hotbed of all sorts of activity. Of course, apropos of this blog, there are many hot real-estate markets in the region; but it’s also one of the top places for tech startups in the U.S. So, it should come as no surprise that it’s also a great place for real estate startups. Ergo, I was not surprised when the latest round out of Techstars Seattle Accelerator was said to include companies that “tap into traditional strengths of our regional economy like aerospace, enterprise software, real estate, retail, and gaming”. However, when I actually looked at the list, I was surprised and disappointed to find that there was actually only one real estate startup, and it barely qualifies: Keepe.
Keepe actually looks like a fairly cool app, but it’s entering the rather crowded space of connecting contractors to people who want to hire them. That said, and the reason it qualifies as a real estate app (even though this isn’t obvious from their own website) is that, they’re ostensibly targeting connecting contractors with property managers. They might be the first ones entering that space. Now, most property managers have lots of existing relationships, so it’s unclear what the market for the app is — nevertheless, they’ve gone and gotten some funding, so some investors must think they’re doing something right.
The fact that there was only one in this years list, does not, however, mean that we have a shortage of real estate startups. In fact, according to GeekWire, there are 20 in the region. If you fit anywhere in the industry — loan officer, commercial real estate, land lord, appraiser, etc… — then it’s worth checking out that list, and worth paying attention to the growing number of real estate startups (regardless of whether they’re in our backyard or not). Much of the new technology will be focused on consumers, and much will have very small niches which they’re targeting, but so much is changing so quickly that it behooves us all to pay attention to it, and use the pieces that make life easier for us or our clients.