Property technology platform NurtureCloud has drawn a $3 million equity investment out of real estate agency Ray White in a deal set to propel the startup to a market-wide launch by years end.
Unveiled Thursday, the investment is another notch in the belt for founder Adam Rigby, who has been incubating his vision for a shake-up in the agency model for three years, developing the startup out of his own real estate firm Upside Realty in Melbourne.
NurtureCloud has been designed as an “end-to-end” sales, client management and intelligence platform for real estate agents, promising to pull their day-to-day work life out of the email and calendar stone age.
Incorporating customer relationship management (CRM), market intelligence services and workflow tools in one product, Rigby tells SmartCompany there’s money to be made helping agents in Australia and overseas get with the times.
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“The real estate industry, in general, is very far behind technically,” Rigby says.
“A lot of agents out there haven’t really wanted to move with the times; they’ve been protecting the status quo.”
Ray White has taken a 50% stake in NurtureCloud under the deal, while managing director Dan White will be installed as the startup’s chairman.
Rigby will spend the better part of the next 12 months working with Ray White franchisees to roll out NurtureCloud’s agent portal and its vendor dashboard, which provides real-time updates on sale progress.
But after that, he hopes to expand the business further, opening up to new clients, both at home and overseas.
“The [Ray White] partnership is almost like a pilot program,” Rigby says.
“We want to be able to show great gains.”
There are two prevailing philosophies behind the development of NurtureCloud: using technology to target administration pain-points for agents, and putting better information about market trends and sales data at their fingertips.
The idea being if agents are spending less time doing things such as call logging, diary and workflow management, they’ll have more time to actually sell houses. That’s where the money is made, after all.
Oh, and NurtureCloud works on smartphones, which is handy if a good deal of your job is off-site.
In that respect, Ray White is an ideal partner, because its extensive network of over 1,200 agents will provide Rigby with a useful proving ground to test his product at scale.
Over the last three years, he’s developed the startup in collaboration with Upside Realty agents, enabling a track-change on the typical prop-tech pitch, which typically entails out-of-industry product design that’s more about guessing what agents need than actually asking them.
“Too many companies are far too removed from the process,” Rigby says.
“We’re relentless with not being satisfied when we release a feature.
“Does it actually work? Does it actually do what we want it to?”
That approach convinced White, who said he’s expecting an across-the-board improvement in agent productivity and conversion rates.
“[NurtureCloud] are a hugely capable team and have found unique solutions for agents to be more productive whilst simultaneously being able to deliver a much more transparent experience for vendors and buyers,” White said in a statement.