Standout social media start-ups

Some new social media–driven real estate companies making waves

Mar.March 01, 2014 07:00 AM

It’s not just brokerages that are cashing in on social media. A whole ecosystem of startups is emerging to meet the needs of the real estate industry, and many of them are able to generate significant revenue and raise enough funds to be taken seriously. Here are four standouts:

BuzzBuzzHome

432 Park Avenue's page on BuzzBuzzHome

432 Park Avenue’s page on BuzzBuzzHome

Founded in 2009, BuzzBuzzHome has information on every new residential development in New York, according to Cliff Peskin, a company co-founder.

Similar to Facebook or Twitter, BuzzBuzzHome visitors can “follow” a new development to get pricing updates, new renderings, construction milestones, and other information. “Crowdsourced reviews help people make a decision before buying a $2 million condo,” Peskin said.

For a $900 monthly fee, developers can feature a building in a prominent place on the website. The self-funded, Toronto-based company has revenue in the $5 million range, Peskin said.

“It takes the pressure off the developers to maintain a Facebook page or a Twitter account for the building,” said Jared Seeger, founder of Manhattan-based digital marketing firm Knightsbridge Park. “They’re taking social and layering it on top of the new development directory.”

CO Everywhere

A screenshot of CO Everywhere and Tony Longo

A screenshot of CO Everywhere and Tony Longo

CO Everywhere connects mobile devices with a wealth of neighborhood information from big data and social media. App users can create a real-time hyperlocal newsfeed based on more than 1,000 sources — including Facebook and Instagram posts, Groupon deals, data on crime and schools, Eventbrite events and Yelp reviews — as well as real estate–specific data from websites like Trulia and Zillow.

“You get to see what’s really happening in the block,” founder Anthony Longo told TRD in August. “We will give you the ultimate experience by pooling in every social event.”

In January, the Boston-based company raised $6 million from investment firmMorningside Group. It previously raised money from investors including Stephen Kliegerman, the president of Terra Development Marketing, which oversees sales and marketing of new developments for Halstead Property and Brown Harris Stevens.

Halstead and BHS have no ties to CO Everywhere.

MyCoop

MyCoop is a social network exclusively available to residents of a particular building. The Manhattan-based site even vets phone numbers and billing addresses before granting access.

It currently hosts more than 150 buildings citywide, including the Ansonia at 2109 Broadway. Alex Norman, who launched the site in November, said it helps residents communicate with their neighbors — whether to organize social events like potluck dinners or to solve building issues such as bedbugs and poor maintenance.

Norman plans to monetize the site in coming months by offering subscriptions for landlords and property managers looking to interact with tenants. Landlords who sign up will be able to nip building issues in the bud, he said, and will also be saved the hassle of routine inquiries, as residents step in to counsel each other on the network.

MyCoop also hopes to land advertisers like retailers Ikea and Home Depot. Real estate agents and brokers may also soon be able to post to the network, for a fee. He said the company has raised about $175,000 from investors so far.

Honest Buildings

Honest Buildings CEO Riggs Kubiak

Honest Buildings CEO Riggs Kubiak (Credit: Jeff Crotty)

Launched in March 2012, Manhattan-based Honest Buildings is an online network that connects developers and landlords with engineers, architects, designers and other vendors. CEO Riggs Kubiak described at as a “LinkedIn for the real estate industry.”

To use the network, a developer or landlord submits project details into the “HB Match” online platform, along with criteria for what they’re looking for in a vendor. The site then searches for matches based on those criteria, and produces a short list of possible vendors. Analysts check the references of those on the list, and then introduce them to the client to kick off the bidding process. Over $85 million in business has been generated in the New York area through the platform, Kubiak said.

Honest takes a commission, typically between 3 and 5 percent, from vendors if they’re hired. The company has raised just under $11.5 million, from investors including Joshua Kushner’s Thrive Capital.


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