HomeLight raises $11M for real estate agent search

Ronny Kerr · April 18, 2016 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/44d9

Series A startup using big data to connect real estate agents with home buyers and sellers

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HomeLight, an online marketplace for finding real estate agents, today announced that it has closed $11 million in Series A funding led by Zeev Ventures with participation from Dovi Frances of SGVC, Bullpen Capital, Montage Ventures, Krillion Ventures, Innovation Endeavors, Oren Dobronsky, and Yariv Davidovich. To date, the company has raised $15 million in funding.

The company also announced today the appointment of Oren Zeev of Zeev Ventures to its board of directors.

If you’re like me, you’re probably wondering how there’s still an unfilled niche when it comes to finding a real estate agent online. Realtor.com (owned by Move, Inc.) and Zillow are two obvious examples of major websites that let you search for real estate agents, see their specialties, and read their reviews.

Even beyond real estate search, the promise of online real estate marketplaces (as in travel with flight or hotel searches) has always been about cutting out the middleman. Trulia, Redfin, and Zillow all let you search for a home without talking to a real estate agent first, meaning prospective buyers don’t even need to have a conversation until they’re actively interested in a property.

Even so, HomeLight says only 10 percent of home buyers find a real estate agent online, with most still going through traditional offline means. What the company is doing differently, a spokesperson told me, is making data a “backbone of their service.”

On HomeLight, you enter in the city you’re interested in, whether you’re buying or selling, and then you’ll start seeing a list of recommended agents. If you provide additional data, then the list of recommended agents continues to get more and more refined. For example as a prospective home buyer you might know your budget (e.g. $840K - $1.1 million), what kind of home you’re looking for (e.g. single family), or what you’re looking for in an agent (e.g. “Gets me the best price).

For San Francisco, the company tells buyers they save an average of $23,000 per home purchase, while current owners can sell their home an average of 23 days faster.

"HomeLight has created a new way for consumers to put the home transaction into the hands of the person that is most certified to support their needs, and this is an incredible innovation,” said Oren Zeev of Zeev Ventures in a prepared statement. “I anticipate that within two to three years, people will use data to buy or sell their home - turning one of the most stressful times of their lives into one of the easiest, with new layers of trust and transparency."

If they continue their current trajectory, HomeLight could be a powerful force in the real estate market. Year-over-year, the company experienced 400 percent growth in the volume of matches on its platform.

HomeLight says it will use the new funding to continue refining its product.

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