Real Estate Association Debuts Startup Accelerator
Six companies jumped on board the National Association of Realtors' new startup accelerator. What does it mean for the real estate industry?
News that the National Association of Realtors (NAR) is debuting a startup accelerator program could be evidence that real estate is primed for an economic comeback and that companies are fully embracing the idea of business incubators.
Six charter companies—BombBomb, Lumentus, Planwise, Reach150, Updater, and Workface—were selected to join the REach accelerator program developed by Second Century Ventures, the strategic investment arm of NAR.
“After a careful selection process, we are honored to announce the six companies that have agreed to become charter members of NAR REach,” said Dale Stinton, NAR chief executive officer and president of the REach accelerator, in a statement. “Each of these startups brings unique potential to serve the real estate market and beyond, underscoring our commitment to supporting the very best companies and technology that can benefit our industry and our membership.”
REach won’t be organized like a traditional startup accelerator, according to a news report in Bloomberg Businessweek. The program will last nine months instead of the typical three, companies don’t get cash in return for the small equity gains they gave to Second Century Ventures to participate, and none of the companies chose to accept office space offered by NAR at its Chicago headquarters.
While the typical accelerator is meant to help startups attract funding, that isn’t the ultimate goal of the REach program, according to Constance Freedman, managing director at Second Century.
“We want to help companies get an investment at the end,” Freedman says in Bloomberg Businessweek. “But the way we want to do it is by increasing the value of the companies by helping them to penetrate the market.”
What the startup accelerator will offer is education, mentorship, and market exposure to the participating companies. The companies will interact with highly regarded executives, entrepreneurs, and practitioners who run, manage, or have sold real estate companies with a combined multibillion dollars of revenues and marketing spend. The companies recently selected will also receive a full overview on the industry, insights into how buyers and sellers make decisions, and coaching on best practices for reaching and engaging real estate technology buyers.
What effect do you think startup accelerators and business incubators have on the economy? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.