Real estate exec turns energy toward Facebook and famous figures

Like many during the real estate market collapse, former Dwelling Quest CEO Daren Hornig found himself “with some free time” on his hands as lending chilled and buyers soured. Also, like many, Hornig decided to spend his spare time on Facebook.

However, he’s not catching up with old classmates or asking his peers to join his virtual Mafia family. He’s launching an app of his own.

Known as Cameo Stars, the Facebook application, which officially launched last month, allows users to send birthday wishes and personal greetings to their online friends. Rather than writing on someone’s wall, the salutations will come from big-time celebrities via video.

So far, football stars Tony Romo, Drew Brees and Reggie Bush are available for greetings — and Carmen Electra, too, in case the college-age male Facebook demographic hadn’t yet been adequately covered.

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Hornig hired his stars through business relationships, connections and, he said, good old-fashioned sales pitches.

The cost for buying the virtual messages varies — some greetings could cost as much as $3, as the New York Times first reported, while others might be free. Hornig told The Real Deal he has “over a hundred” more celebrities whose greetings are set to be released in the coming months.

Hornig said his career in real estate has taught him about being an entrepreneur.

“Each transaction, from buying land to hiring an architect, from the development standpoint, is like starting a business,” Hornig said.