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An Alternative to BPP: A Fund for Consumer Startups

As you probably know by know, I question whether the National Broker Public Portal stands a chance to compete against the established portals (see articles here). I’ve yet to hear a good argument as to how it plans to become a top 3-5 portal — and it doesn’t seem like a good use of time and money if it doesn’t get there. Unless, like I said before, the only goal is to give the brokerage community more leverage in talks with the portals. If that’s the sole goal, then it may succeed.

Here’s an alternative to the money being spent on BPP: a consumer real estate startup fund.

Raise $500,000 (or more). Fund 10 startups with $50,000 each, or 5 with $100,000. I would guess making a few bets on start-ups would be a better bet in the long term — though there’s also the issue of convincing early startups to take money from a fund whose goal is to create something beneficial to agents/brokers. Successful consumer startups succeed precisely because they build consumer friendly products first, not industry friendly offerings. So, those two goals don’t seem to align to make a startup fund by brokers an interesting proposition.

Perhaps, fund TechStars to run an industry accelerator with deep ties to the brokerage community (see here)?

While I doubt a collaborative funding effort among brokerages would ever happen for this sort of consumer startup fund scenario, one of the extremely large franchises may consider something to this effect. Or not.

But, hey, crazier things have happened…

Happy Monday.

About Drew Meyers

Founder of Geek Estate Blog / Geek Estate Labs. Zillow Alum. Travel addict & co-founder of Horizon. Social entrepreneurship & microfinance advocate. Fan of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Kiva.

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  • rolandestrada

    Well let’s see here. Previously Drew said it would take a lot of money to get another portal off the ground.

    Now there is money but it isn’t being wisely spent. Seemingly the only reason the money is not being being spent correctly is because it’s what agents want.

    I’ve said before and quite correctly that consumer benefit and agent benefit are not mutually exclusive. An agent centric portal is not a zero sum proposition.

    Agents and brokers should be quite willing to give consumers a flood if data. In exchange agents get leads. Pretty simple.

    I’ll bring up the HAR model again because it’s the most successful regional model of what BPP expects to be. I’ve spoken to someone in the know and HAR does not lose money on the deal.

    Finally, what makes these “consumer friendly” sites any more likely to “gain traction” than BPP? Drew must have some secret plan. By the way, we are still waiting to see the strategy. Tic toc.

    • “I’ll bring up the HAR model again because it’s the most successful regional model of what BPP expects to be.”

      HAR is very different than a national portal because it only covers one region and is branded as such. Yes, that strategy can clearly work over the long term. But you can’t take that strategy with BPP if it’s going to cover every metro in the country.

      “what makes these “consumer friendly” sites any more likely to “gain traction” than BPP?”

      Because they are run by tech entrepreneurs, more motivated/driven with a larger financial incentive to succeed – and (some of them) understand how to build & launch for b2c.

      • rolandestrada

        “HAR is very different than a national portal because it only covers one region and is branded as such. Yes, that strategy can clearly work over the long term. But you can’t take that strategy with BPP if it’s going to cover every metro in the country.”

        HAR has been doing it for roughly six years as I’m told. The whole point of any endeavor IS the long term. Otherwise, why would you be in business to begin with. Agents and brokers understand the long play of giving information to get leads and nurture those into future business. The BPP doesn’t need to be an overnight success. As any agent can tell you, farming is a long term investment not a get rich quick scheme.

        Furthermore, to date you have never offered a logical reason that a BPP model can’t succeed other than the fact you don’t like it, If’s not Zillow and it’s “impossible”. It’s just your opinion. And as Mr Spock would say “That Captain, IS illogical”.

        “Because they are run by tech entrepreneurs, more motivated/driven with a larger financial incentive to succeed – and (some of them) understand how to build & launch for b2c.”

        You can throw out all the techno-babble you want. It’s still just YOUR opinion. Opinions are like sphincters. Everybody has one. Just having an opinion doesn’t make you correct. The road is littered with dead tech entrepreneurs and established businesses that “understand” how to deliver a great consumer experience.

        • Roland
          Yes..this is just my opinion. I am not a professional reporter, and have zero desire to ever be one.

          • rolandestrada

            Perfect. Then you’ve succeeded!!

        • BPP will not succeed with HAR’s strategy, if it’s a nationwide portal. Building for one metro versus every metro in the country require two fundamental different strategies.

          I think HAR’s approach/strategy is a better one than BPP.

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