In our latest real estate tech interview, I’m talking to Michael Wurzer, President of FBS. Without further ado, here’s a bit more from his own mouth…
What do you do?
I’m President and CEO of FBS, which creates the Flexmls line of real estate software. I’m privileged to work with 70 other employee-owners (FBS is 100% employee owned) all dedicated to the future of MLS and real estate software. FBS has been serving MLSs for over 30 years and the last few years have been the most exciting as our vision for the future of the MLS industry is taking hold as we’ve won 23 new MLS customers representing over 65,000 members, while also retaining all our current customers. We now have over 130 MLS customers representing over 140,000 members.
Why do You Do What you Do?
First, I love working with my other co-owners to build innovative products that help our customers in their mission. Second, I believe multiple listing services provide their members and consumers incredible value by fostering cooperation among competitors, and we’re thankful to be a part of that effort. Achieving and maintaining market-wide cooperation is hard but critical work to ensure an accurate and comprehensive aggregation of listing data, which is the foundation for en efficient and vibrant real estate market. FBS is very focused and passionate about providing agents with the platform they need to share data with their customers so they can collaborate on the best possible real estate investment.
What are you most excited about right now?
Specifically, Flexmls for iPhone and our Spark API. More broadly, I’m excited about those products because they represent FBS’s significant investment in native MLS apps as well as standards for the MLS industry. Agents need and deserve MLS software that’s mobile, and native applications like Flexmls for iPhone are without a doubt the pinnacle mobile experience. Web applications will remain core to the Flexmls product line but native apps take us and our customers to the next level — a level where consumers expect and want them to be. We just won a competition for a new MLS customer specifically because of our investment in and commitment to building native apps like Flexmls for iPhone. This type of feedback coupled with our tremendous growth tells me we’re on the right track investing heavily in native app development. I’m equally excited about the Spark API because it allows us and other developers to build innovative applications like Flexmls for iPhone that leverage industry standards like the RESO data dictionary, which ultimately will foster broad-scale innovation in our industry and reduce costs and create a better experience for brokers and agents interacting with MLS and customer data. Brokers and agents should be able to create a search or customer record in one application and access that same data in any other software without having to think about how that happened. Consumers should be able to save listing collections on the broker web site and see those same listings on their agent portal or app. These efficiencies are all starting to happen with the Spark API.
What’s next for you?
Flexmls for iPhone currently is focused on the agent experience and next (this fall) we’re excited to open the app to an agent’s buyer and seller customers so they can login to the agent’s portal to search listings, manage listing collections, and receive push notifications about new and changed listings. We’ll also be releasing Flexmls for Android before the end of the year. Lastly, we’re always working with our customers to improve the Spark API by mapping more and more of the MLS data to the RESO data dictionary. This is an on-going process that is energized dramatically by the power and needs of new mobile applications.
What’s a cause you’re passionate about and why?
Learning has been central to my life and so I’m really excited about Feeding America’s Backpack Program, which helps kids in need have nutritious food over the weekend. Education is fundamental to the freedom we enjoy and nutrition is necessary to enjoy that freedom. Along the same lines, I also support Charity:Water, which does a great job of making clean water available in developing countries.
Thanks to Michael for sharing his motivations and current projects. If you’re interested in connecting with him further, you can find him on LinkedIn.
We’ll be featuring other real estate tech entrepreneurs in the coming weeks. If you are an entrepreneur in the real estate vertical (past or present), and want to be profiled, please follow the steps outlined here. Remember, you can always discover other people in the Geek Estate community here (note we are migrating to this FB group soon).