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Dec 8 17

Alex Lange is committed to Upstream

by Greg Robertson

Upstream CEO Alex Lange is freezing himself to be prepared until Upstream launch, slated for 2099. 😜

* Sorry Alex, I saw this on Facebook and couldn’t wait till April 1st or CMLS Weekend Update for this one. 😂😂😂😂😂


Dec 7 17

Where’s the pony?

by Greg Robertson

Walk with me…

July 2006

Fortress, a Private Equity (PE) firm, buys Nationstar Mortgage, LLC.

2008 – 2010ish

The Great Recession

July 2011

Zillow goes Public

May 2014

Nationstar acquires Real Estate Digital (red) in 2014, under its sub division Solutionstar. See what happen there?

July 2014

Zillow announces it will acquire Trulia.

May 2015

Solutionstar re-launches as the unpronounceable name “XOME” in May 2015. With Nationstar CEO saying “We expect to revolutionize real estate.”

July 2017

Softbank acquires Fortress (owners of Nationstar and XOME)

Redfin “Amazon of real estate” announces IPO, eventually raising $138M

December 2017

Softbank invests $450M in Compass, a “a technology-driven real estate platform.” Sound familiar?

Okay, so it seems the whole “Amazon of” “tech-driven” “reimagine real estate” brokerage of the future is hot right now, white hot.

So I see a few scenarios here playing out. Seems Compass has the branding figured out but, sofar unproven tech. XOME does a lot of the backend “services” bundling. Maybe Softbank, owners/investors of both Compass and XOME, reach the same conclusion that the dual investors of Zillow and Trulia reached back in 2014, “why are they two separate companies?”.

And don’t forget Opendoor, co-founded by former Trulian Eric Wu, or as I like to call him Head of Product Development of Zillow and Redfin (see Instant Offers and Redfin Now). They raised $210M back in December of 2016. What’s their next move?

My “Black Swan” Prediction (nod to the Notorious R.O.B.)

As part of Zillow’s “multi-brand strategy”, they buy fellow Seattle company, Redfin. Boom, now they are a brokerage, which a everyone knows is the sixth sign of the real estate apocalypse.

But, even after all this, I still don’t see the $450 million dollar pony.

Dec 7 17

Heading in the right direction?

by Greg Robertson

Compass gets $450M from SoftBank; real estate portal now valued at $2.2B

“Less than a month after raising $100 million led by Fidelity, real-estate startup Compass is striking while the iron is hot. The company has now picked up an even bigger investment of $450 million, this time from the SoftBank Vision Fund, plus another $50M in secondary deals, to fill out a vision of its own: taking its real estate rental and sales platform global.

New York-based Compass is now valued at $2.2 billion post-money, up from $1.8 billion just four weeks ago, with $775 million raised to date.”

I’d love to see their pitch deck. To put this amount of fuding in perspective, I believe Zillow raised only $100M before they went public.

Dec 6 17

Speaking MLS

by Greg Robertson

This is about as “inside baseball” and “wonky” as I get. Hop on, lets go for a ride.

I write about the real estate industry, and a lot about the MLS industry. I also run a software company that creates software for the real estate industry. But it can get confusing. Usually due to the catch-all word of “MLS”. Here’s what I mean.

“I work for the MLS.”
“Log on to the MLS.”
“It’s on the MLS.”
“The MLS said Yes”

And to make things more confusing, MLS is also an acronym. I’m sure every industry has new acronyms to learn, but in real estate “MLS” is just weird. And it’s funny when we hire a new person and they get confused about the phrases and acronyms, I tell them not to worry they will be “speaking MLS” in no time.

So, over the years I’ve borrowed and standardized a few words and phrases to make sure readers and workmates understand everything in context. I’ve written about this before but have added a few to my list.

MLS Vendor FBS, CoreLogic, Black Knight, Rapattoni
MLS System flexMLS, Matrix, Paragon
3rd Party SoftwareCloud CMA, Cloud Streams, RPR, HomeSpotter, etc.

Some would classify “3rd Party Software” as just another “MLS Vendor”, I believe Inman News does it this way. I have discussions with their editors and the logic is if its software that works with the “MLS System” then the company is just another “MLS Vendor”. I classify “3rd party” meaning a company other than the primary MLS Vendor, although I not sure in the future if there will be such a thing as a “primary” MLS Vendor any longer.

To make things a little more nuanced I use another classification altogether for IDX. Which is “IDX Vendor”, to me the “3rd Party Software” is more a category for tools, not data.

Still with me? ; )

Now, we are starting to see this reemergence of MLS providers giving their members alternative ways of searching MLS data. Back in the day these would be apps like WyldFyre and to some extent, Lightning. During the early 2000s when many MLS providers were switching to web-based MLS platforms (True North Technology being the first web-based MLS vendor) they would have these new MLS systems run in “parallel” with their existing “legacy” MLS systems. “Legacy” meaning, they were on their way out.

Today the landscape is a bit different. MLS providers are doing deals with multiple MLS vendors to offer whole MLS systems as a choice (including listing input). But these offerings are driven primarily by consolidation and expansion goals of those MLS providers and to some extent broker concerns. Basically it takes the objection of “learning a whole new MLS system” off the table when they go in to a new market.

I would categorize these services as “System of Choice”, not really a “Front End of Choice”. I might be splitting hairs, but a true “Front End of Choice” should be much easier to get up and running than installing a new MLS system.

And to finish up, here’s a grab bag of other terms I use, and what I mean.

MLS Data Share – When MLS Providers share data on their MLS Systems
MLS System Share – When MLS Provider allow their member access to each others MLS Systems
3rd Party Data Share – When MLS Providers allow a 3rd Party Software solution to create a software application that access more than 1 MLS system.

And if you don’t know, now you know….

Dec 4 17

FBS acquires Solid Earth

by Greg Robertson

FBS acquires Solid Earth’s Spring software platform to achieve powerful industry vision

“Michael Wurzer, CEO of FBS, says he looks forward to building on the foundation established when FBS and Solid Earth announced a partnership earlier this year to build the Spring Portal on the Spark API. “Spring is the best MLS consumer portal in the market and powering it with the Spark API reduces duplicate entry and data lock-in for brokers and agents,” Wurzer said. “Today, MLSs, brokers, and agents need to clearly and beautifully communicate the full-breadth of the powerful value proposition they deliver together, and Spring is laser-focused on creating the best portal to deliver on that value proposition.”

Smart (an both sides). It basically gives FBS more design focused products to sell in to its market, and the integration work is already done. Matt Fowler, Solid Earth co-founder will stay on and serve as Vice President and lead the Spring team.

and this…

“Spring and Spark together create a platform that does not exist today and achieves a long standing goal of MLS industry leadership,” Wurzer said. He noted that an initial focus is to enhance the current Spring offering to include products that help MLSs showcase all of the valuable products and services they provide to members. “Together with Flexmls, this will be the most complete MLS portal available, serving all customers of the MLS beautifully and efficiently,” Wurzer said. “

This is basically a counter to the Clareity Dashboard, which was acquired by CoreLogic earlier this year.

Unsaid in this release is any future involvement Solid Earth might have in AMP, NAR’s backend effort into the MLS business. I’ve seen Matt at many of the AMP presentations. Not sure if that is going to happen any longer.

2017 was certainly a year for consolidation, both on the MLS side and the vendor side. And I don’t think its going to slow down. Congrats to Michael and Matt and both of their teams.

Nov 30 17

CRMLS Expands MLS Front-End Choice With Cloud MLX

by Greg Robertson

CRMLS Expands MLS Front-End Choice With Cloud MLX

“We’re excited to offer our users another choice, another platform, and more decision-making power,” said CRMLS CEO Art Carter. “Now, every CRMLS user has another quality option to choose from when searching for and sharing MLS listings.”

Differentiating features of Cloud MLX include a smart search bar that auto-completes results as the user types, the ability to create uniquely-shaped map areas, and an agent-to-agent instant messaging service. The platform is also notable for its clean, easy-to-use user interface.

“Imagine searching the MLS the same way you search Google,” stated Greg Robertson, co-founder of W+R Studios. “Now it’s possible with alternative front-ends like Cloud MLX, and we’re proud CRMLS has selected our tool as an offering to their users.”

It’s been a couple years since we launched Cloud MLX. Dan and I felt at the time if there was going to be a new category (MLS front end of choice) that W+R Studios should go all in. But I felt we might have been a bit early.

Then, last year, we won the most innovative technology award from Inman News. Katie and I started building momentum 2017, launching 7 MLS Providers, representing 93,000 agent under site license with Cloud MLX . These MLS providers saw the potential early on, so a big shout out to them as well.

Realcomp, FMLS, Trident, NNRMLS, BAREIS, SFAR and NTREIS.

And now today, CRMLS, representing over 80,000 members, have signed on to give their members more choices in MLS software.

We are beyond thrilled and want to thank Art, Adrese, Sarah, Rob, and the rest of the CRMLS team for all their support and confidence. We will have more to share later as the MLS landscape continues to evolve.

Inman News also has a few other details regarding the launch, you check out that here: Cloud MLX interface now free for agents of nation’s largest MLS

Things are starting to get interesting.

Nov 29 17

Save Net Neutrality

by Greg Robertson

This has been circulating around the web and I thought it would be a good idea to pass on.

Please do this. I just did and it took me less than a minute.
1. On a computer, (not your phone!), go to:
2. Enter (under “Proceeding”) the numbers 17-108.
3. In comments, say you support Title 2 oversight of ISPs. Also say that you support net neutrality. (I used the exact statement, “I support Title 2 oversight of ISPs and net neutrality.”)

*Fill in the form carefully; they’ve made it less friendly and impossible to fill in by phone, on purpose.
*Don’t be silenced. Do it now.
*Copy & Paste and Pass it on. (Don’t just share! Copy and paste this status!)

Nov 20 17

FBS to match donations to help rebuild Florida Keys.

by Greg Robertson

Via FBS:

“Our friends in the Florida Keys continue to rebuild from the devastation of Hurricane Irma. With so much work still left to do, we can help.

This giving season, we hope that you will consider joining us in donating to the Florida Keys Emergency Relief Fund, where 100% of all donations go directly to help residents.

We’re hoping to raise $20,000 and will contribute up to $10,000 towards that goal by matching your *donation dollar-for-dollar (up to $10,000). Click below to gift any amount and write FBSMATCH in the Order Notes.

Collaboration and the American dream of homeownership are at the core of the real estate industry; let’s make a difference together.”

Please join me in making a contribution by clicking here.

Nov 17 17

Looking for a new gig?

by Greg Robertson

Business Development Director – Onboard Informatics

“We are looking for someone who talks tech and knows real estate to advance our company’s growth. Someone who will go beyond cold calling to understand the objectives of RE Tech company leaders and work with them to ensure those objectives are met. If you are highly motivated, understand the industry, and want to build not only sales, but relationships on behalf of an established technology company – this might be the perfect position for you.

Find out more about this gig and others at the Vendor Alley Job Board!

Nov 14 17

Looking for a new gig?

by Greg Robertson

MLS System Manager – Central Virginia Multiple Listing Service

“The MLS Systems Manager organizes and maintains product lines from conceptual stages through product life cycles to optimize CVR MLS’s strategic goals. Primary responsibility includes but is not limited to effective administration and maintenance of MLS products and systems as well as oversight and development of MLS Systems Specialists. This individual will conduct research, troubleshoot software issues, manage vendor relations and serve as MLS advisor to RAR and MLS staff.”

MLS System Specialist – Central Virginia Multiple Listing Service

“The MLS System Specialist works with the MLS System Manager to support multiple product lines to optimize CVR MLS’s strategic goals. Primary responsibility includes but is not limited to acting as liaison with various MLS system vendors, perform analysis to maintain data integrity, and deliver product support services to users and internal staff.”

Find out more about these gigs and others at the Vendor Alley Job Board!