Joel van DorpFormer TNW employee
Joel is a former partnerships manager at TNW. Get in touch with him on Twitter if you're feeling lucky. Joel is a former partnerships manager at TNW. Get in touch with him on Twitter if you're feeling lucky.
Stories of Scale is a content series we’re doing with startup participants from our conference in a partnership with EQT Ventures, sharing growth stories and lessons from industry insiders centered around 4 pillars: technology, business, human optimization, and communication.
At our most recent TNW Conference in Amsterdam, we spoke with Yoram Speaker, co-founder of SweepBright. The company aims to transform the way real estate agents use technology in their industry. He explains: “If you want to sell your apartment or house today, a real estate broker will come to your home, take a pen and paper and will literally write down specifics – such as the location and all the property’s features. Then, back at the office, these notes will be handed to the next person, who will put the information in the system and then upload it to Funda.nl or other local real estate websites.”
SweepBright developed a mobile solution to update this process to the digital age. The iOS app and desktop browser compatible software record all the relevant information from visiting properties on their smartphones, while integrating with a variety of third-party applications like Zapier, MailChimp, Intercom, and social channels.
The agent is mobile
For Speaker and the team, standing out means offering flexibility. Most companies in their already saturated market specialize in localized solutions, like offering established partnerships with the region’s property portals and dedicated relationships with property listing networks. Other mobile software enterprises focus on hand-tailored apps as a solution for real estate agencies.
SweepBright decided to focus on what they believed was key: mobility. As he explained, agents spend a lot of time processing the information they gather during property visits. Their app allows users to create new property listings on the go, share photos of the space, upload additional information such as geographic location, attach legal documents or contracts, and adjust the property’s features, including the condition of rooms, the floor plan, and price. All of these features are accessible within a few swipes.
Speaker offered me a live demonstration of their app, emphasizing their focus on the mobile experience. This included becoming a mobile-first business: “Real estate agents are always on the move, so they need tools developed for mobile use.” Many competitors are trying to completely disrupt the market, according to Speaker, believing that real estate brokers won’t exist down the line. “We think they will still be needed, which is why we will keep delivering solutions that cater to their needs.”
Once the team identified the core components necessary to develop a mobile solution to the problem, they had to ensure the product would be able to scale and be a good fit with brokers internationally. Therefore, the app was tested with brokers not only in Belgium but also in the United States.
SweepBright can be integrated with other products such as Zapier, says Speaker: “Using Zapier, we didn’t invent something new. Instead, we’ve taken a solution that has already proven its worth in other industries, and applied it to the real estate business.”
Offering scalable solutions to global problems
To give some idea of the real estate industry’s magnitude worldwide, Speaker says, “in Belgium alone, there are 9,000 real estate brokers. New York is home to 200,000 brokers. So solving a global problem for real estate brokers was key.”
He continues: “Apparently, the workflow inefficiencies we came across were an issue of global scale,” with larger real estate agencies suffering most from time management inefficiencies. Speaker and the team developed something that caters to brokers everywhere, from Tel Aviv to Europe and New York.
While the company is experiencing rapid growth, this doesn’t come without its issues. According to Speaker, “one big challenge is combining different channels like sales, marketing, and funding. Also, integrating our system into real estate portals hasn’t been a smooth process so far. And having teams globally means there are time-zone challenges. We are launching in Australia and are active in Europe, and will be launching in the States this winter.”
Read next: Stories of Scale: Standing out in SaaS with custom tracking metrics
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