An Australian real estate start-up, Next Place, has won a place in the US-based Liquid Web Start-up Incubator program, putting it on a path to expansion.
“We’re new and small but we’ve got big plans and some smart tech,” Next Place director Dan Tarasenko told StartupSmart.
The incubator program provides mentoring, hosting and infrastructure for early-stage online start-ups and Next Place will receive up to $US25,000 in services for free.
“Liquid Web is one of the largest web hosts in the US. They’re constantly growing and have great infrastructure. We’ll be able to tap into their knowledge and experience so they can help us with our strategies and expansion plans,” Tarasenko says.
Liquid Web says in a statement they chose Next Place after reviewing the start-up’s business plan and being impressed by how scalable the technology was.
“Next Place’s vision fits perfectly with the goals of our incubator program and we are certain we can provide a strong and reliable technical foundation for them to fill a need in their market,” a spokesperson says.
Next Place is a search engine that lets users search specific terms often missed by existing real estate search engines and an advanced map-based search that allows reader to select exactly what areas they’re interested in.
“A lot of portals you have to start with the suburb and price range, rather than a specific area or key term that people really look for, like pet friendly. You have the flexibility to eliminate options you know won’t work, rather than fine-tune at the end of the search,” Tarasenko says.
“This means you don’t have to search a whole suburb if you know you don’t want to live in half of it.”
Next Place have battled a range of technical issues to get the site up and running. After developing their own crawling software to find and list the properties listed on real estate sites, they struggled to get Google to review their site, which impacted their traffic.
“We were a new site Google had never seen, with a three-month old domain name and 180,000 listings, almost half a million content pages when you count suburb profiles and the rest of the site,” Tarasenko says.
The traffic is now growing, with traffic increasing 20% to 30% each week. The Next Place team are focused on building their listings and expanding into other regional markets.
“We’ve got New Zealand around the corner, almost ready to go. And then we’ll see if we can handle another market then, we may have bitten off more than we can chew by then.” Tarasenko says.