NYC is the major leagues of the real estate world and filled with major competition. In order to stay competitive in this fast-moving industry where deals are done in seconds and gone tomorrow, it is imperative that everything is done in a timely fashion to ensure a smooth transaction. On average, the length of time for a real estate transaction is 45 days but FlareAgent is an AI-powered platform that reduces transaction time to 48 hours! The company has built an end-to-end solution that uses blockchain to verify and consolidate legal documents all in one place. This software was built directly based on a real estate broker’s pain points to deliver a lasting and effective solution.
AlleyWatch spoke with cofounder and CPO Abhiroop CVK about the launch of his company and the immense opportunity for innovation in the real estate industry.
Tell us about FlareAgent.
FlareAgent is a real estate management software where property buyers/sellers, brokers/agents, banks, and attorneys/escrows can access and submit information. As many factors play into the property transaction process, such as regulations, size of brokerage, needs of buyers/sellers, we provide brokers with a template for the software. By studying their usage for repetitive tasks, we use machine learning to suggest improvements to the efficiency of the transaction. Doing so, we are able to bring down the transaction time from the current average of 45 days to 48 hours.
How is FlareAgent different than other real estate tech companies?
Currently, real Estate brokerages either don’t use any software or employ numerous expensive platforms for different aspects of the transaction. FlareAgent is an end-to-end solution, allowing all parties involved to stay involved and communicate with one another throughout the transaction. Since many legal documents are involved, blockchain is employed to securely store all the required legalities, while maintaining transparency.
$5 trillion was transacted in the US in 2017. 90% of all these transactions were made through a broker/agent. 250K brokerages across the country made a total revenue of $250B. In 2012, brokers spent more than $4B on software. Brokers are at the center of every transaction, and the more deals they can close in shorter time, the better
What is the business model?
The 250K brokerages across the US house about 2M agents and brokers. Assuming a 10% market, charging $100/agent/mo will yield an ARR of $240M.
What inspired the business?
Rashid’s (my cofounder) dad works as a real estate agent. His boss, Mr. Brown, approached Rashid two years ago with the problems of expensive and rigid software, lack of communication, and long transaction times. Rashid developed the first version of FlareAgent, and Mr. Brown loved it so much that he quit his agency and founded his own; he grew it from 50 agents to over 200 agents. We realized the potential in the software, did our research (both online to understand the market, and user research with brokers and agents in NYC), and worked on the demo version together. All our findings point to the same pain points and the dire need for evolution in the orthodox industry of real estate.
When do you expect to launch and will you shut down your development shop when this product comes to market?
We hope to begin shipping out the beta version of the product within the next 6 months and a full version within the next 12 months. Developing a software product is always an ongoing process. The more users you get, the more you learn about them, and the closer you get to solving their problems.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
As of now, we have about 200 active users. We want to bring this up to 1000 users, which is an ideal sample size for beta testing. We also want a revenue of $15K in order to support ourselves and continue working on the product if we aren’t yet able to find funding.
What is the one piece of startup advice that you never got?
NYC’s startup ecosystem is always buzzing. It seems like the more time you invest into it, the more you get out of it. Attending meetups, pitch nights, cold-emailing/calling companies and people, has allowed us to learn so much more about the process, as well as continue to be motivated by like-minded folks. I managed to get hold of AlleyWatch just by applying on the site, something I wouldn’t have thought possible! So never stop.
If you could be put in touch with anyone in the New York community, who would it be and why?
Barbara Corcoran. As a startup finding its way around NYC’s real estate space, no one else would serve as a mentor than the then-founder/entrepreneur now-real-estate-tycoon than Barbara. If you’re reading this Barbara, we’d love to take you out for coffee! You may pick the place and time of course 🙂
Why did you launch in New York?
Rashid and I attend NYU, and that’s how we got our first taste of the city. Since freshman year 3 years ago, we have not found any other city that suits our needs and wants like NYC does. Furthermore, NYC is home to over 35K brokerages and 55K brokers. Also, New York State has transacted over $70B in property. Along with the rich startup ecosystem and resources, NYC is the prime location to kick off FlareAgent.
What is your favorite restaurant in the city?
On Montague Street in Brooklyn, you should head to Caffe Buon Gusto. Great service, lovely people, amazing food, affordable prices, and best of all, unlimited Italian bread to go with your dishes. The bread is to die for.