The Real Deal New York

This startup and established players are duking it out for control of the listings space

By E.B. Solomont | March 13, 2018 09:55AM

From the March issue: Since its debut last year, Perchwell — which bills itself as a one-stop shop that combines listings, analytics and marketing — has racked up a slew of big-name clients.

In addition to Sotheby’s and Stribling, those clients include CORE, Warburg Realty, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Fox Residential and Sloane Square.

The listings software market has long the domain of two companies in New York — RealPlus and On-Line Residential — but new tech startups with venture money to burn are upending the space.

Click here to read the full story: Piping in listings, pumping out cash

Founder Brendan Fairbanks, a 31-year-old former investment banker, came up with the idea for Perchwell after an ill-fated apartment search. To date, he’s raised $4 million in seed funding.

According to Fairbanks, StreetEasy and Compass have changed the way NYC residential firms view data and technology, giving Perchwell an opening.

The startup — which only sells subscriptions to firms (not individual agents) — allows clients to created branded market reports on smartphones and then instantly send them to clients. In addition to historical sales, data also included development permits and geospatial data. Fairbanks said he doesn’t consider OLR and RealPlus competitors.

“We’re offering a different product,” he said, arguing that Perchwell’s focus is on enhancing data and helping agents interact with clients.

Doug Heddings, CORE’s executive vice president of sales, said he tested the beta version of Perchwell and worked closely with Fairbanks to fine-tune the platform before switching from RealPlus in August.

According to Heddings, agents must often tap multiple platforms — StreetEasy, OLR, RealPlus and even PropertyShark — to search for listings, scrutinize contract activity, crunch the numbers on closed sales and interact with clients. Over the years, he added, some vendors became “complacent” in their offerings. “I don’t want to pretend the market is efficient yet,” Heddings said. “If you compare the New York City real estate market to the rest of the country, we’re archaic.”

But, he said, startups are “definitely moving us in the right direction.”