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Revestor and Defensibility

I came across an article titled This Real Estate Startup Is Exploiting Zillow And Airbnb’s Blind Spot on Forbes yesterday.

It’s about Revestor.

First, let’s get the obvious out of the way.

The headline is misleading; they are not exploiting a blindspot.

Revestor is a B2B play, targeted at real estate investors.

Zillow and AirBnB are consumer brands.

B2B and B2C are two very different beasts.

The reality is Zillow could literally wipe Revestor’s business out in one day (they have all the data & better algorithms), though I’m not sure why they’d want to. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see Zillow Group make a play in the investing space down the line, serving real estate investors with a specialized offering will always be a small opportunity compared to the consumer opportunity they are chasing — serving as the defacto marketplace of services when buying, selling, or remodeling.

When evaluating businesses — I’m always curious about a businesses moat. What is defensible about this model? What couldn’t be cloned in a few weeks/months by someone with more money?

What do you see as the keys to establishing a competitive advantage in the changing real estate market?

Bill Lyons: The riches are in the niches. Everyone has their niche, and Revestor’s niche is that 25% of the business is investors. We make money by connecting realtors with investors. I have my eye on all the trends right now. I own three companies inside the real estate space, and I’m on the advisory board of a startup. Griffin Funding, a mortgage lender that operates in multiple states; Lyons Realty, a San Diego based boutique real estate firm; and Revestor, a digital platform that provides data to help find and evaluate investment properties. As an advisor, I’m working with a startup called Approved, which is a digital mortgage platform. I just acquired a new technology that we will use for all the companies in the portfolio. It is a total game-changer when it comes to providing hot leads to Realtors. It is the same technology that politicians used recently to win in their districts. We will soon be offering it up to all our realtor partners. They will be able to simply upload their list of physical addresses inside their ‘farm area ‘ and we will match it to the IP addresses in their farm. We then help them run ads on all the computers in their farm. The new product is called ‘Sniper Farming’ and we are super excited to begin offering it to our customers.

Investors buy and sell properties constantly. I’m not convinced there is much money to be made connecting investors with real estate agents — since most investors probably know no fewer than 10 agents.

As for the “sniper farming”, where are they eyeballs coming from? Targeting IP addresses can be done, sure, but is useless if you can’t attract the individual people who have those IP addresses. Doesn’t the concept seem a little creepy? Couldn’t Google do this more efficiently, given their massive massive reach?

Maybe I’m missing something here? What do you think of Revestor?

About Drew Meyers

Founder of Geek Estate Blog. Zillow Alum. Travel addict & co-founder of Horizon. Product & Marketing for 360modern. Social entrepreneurship & microfinance advocate. Fan of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Kiva.

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