BoxBrownie.com was crowned the startup “pitch battle” winner at the National Association of REALTORS®’ first Innovation, Opportunity and Investment (iOi) Summit, held recently in San Francisco. BoxBrownie.com, an on-demand, photo editing service for real estate, beat out 15 other companies in the competition, which consisted of three-minute pitches.
The pitch battle participants were tasked with delivering a demonstration of a product that will help real estate companies, agents or consumers, and outline solutions for the venture capitalists, executives and brokers in the audience. BoxBrownie.com received the winner-takes-all prize of $15,000, as well as a booth at NAR’s REALTORS® Conference & Expo in November. Their demonstration focused on their wide range of services for REALTORS® who want to showcase their products with professional photos.
The battle was hosted by NAR’s Second Century Ventures, and judged by Wendy Forsythe, COO of HomeSmart International; Alex Lange, CEO/president of UpstreamRE; Bill Ness, CEO of Neighborhoods.com; Adi Pavlovic, director, Innovation Labs at Keller Williams; Alex Pelin, founder of xSpaced and Tech Estate Today; and Mike Ryan, EVP at RE/MAX; and led by Chris Smith, author of “The Conversion Code” and co-founder of Curaytor.
The iOi Summit, focused on real estate technology, brought together agents and brokers, as well as developers, investors and vendors, for two days of learning and networking. The event also addressed artificial intelligence, FinTech, predictive analytics, and more, and featured a hackathon, where KW Labs, Keller Williams’ in-house software development arm, was named the winner, NAR announced. Many members of NAR’s REach® accelerator classes, of which there are now five, also presented their stories and success tips.
“The vision of Second Century Ventures is to define and deliver the future of the real estate industry by being a catalyst for new technologies, new opportunities and new talent. The pitch battle and hackathon were an exercise that broadens that vision and brings the leading minds in technology, investors and REALTOR® to the table to share ideas and bring the future of real estate into focus,” said NAR CEO Bob Goldberg.
Hackathon contestants gathered to build innovative products that leverage artificial intelligence to serve REALTORS® and determine the impact on the future of real estate.
KW Labs, the winner of the hackathon, built an app that allows an agent to make a video of a property on a walkthrough. While making the video, the phone will identify the type of room and features in the room, then convert to text, and create a webpage with links from auto-generated images that will appear in the video.
“The iOi hackathon is a cutting-edge collaborative exercise that allowed NAR to work with technology experts to examine, embrace, leverage and be part of the change that surrounds our industry. The hackathon is a piece of my larger strategy as CEO to bring tech firms that many consider to be disruptors under the tent as innovators, and turn them into advocates for our members,” said Goldberg.
Some example problems that teams explored were ways to improve how agents serve their clients, opportunities for improving home search in the real estate industry and ways agents can maximize their marketing opportunities with less effort.
Teams started building their ideas virtually on August 1 and were judged on five different criteria: use of the provided APIs, creativity, functionality, practicality and user experience.
The hackathon data set providers included benutech, CRMLS, enodo, Foursquare, Lyrebird, MRED, restb.ai, RPR, SOLARIA labs, the San Francisco Association of REALTORS® and TLC engine.
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