The one who builds THE portal!
As someone who has spent the past five years focused on the commercial real estate tech sector (www.thenewsfunnel.com), I have had a front row seat on the extraordinary explosion of activity in the industry. What initially felt like a ghost town with a few of us thinking, hoping and planning our dreams, now feels like Times Square at night :) So much activity, so many new sites, so many smart, sophisticated entrepreneurs! It can almost be overwhelming to keep up to date on it all. That's why I also started a site (www.realestatetechnews.com) that will help discover and track new sites in the tech sector.
And that's the exact inflection point of where we have arrived in this new, dynamic and young sector. What I am now hearing over and over again from those that matter most, the actual end users (namely... real estate professionals), is that there is actually too much going on. So much that they can't keep up with the overabundance of new sites and tools. The result, which is really a reflection of the psyche of most real estate professionals, is to tune out what they perceive as all of the "noise and clutter" in the tech market.
Of course, this is a shame and contrarian to what you would expect. However, in my thirty years in the real estate business as a PR professional, I have learned that this is what actually happens. Many people talk about how technology will revolutionize the real estate industry or call the industry "archaic" from a tech perspective. They say that it is slow to adapt to change. But what they do not understand is that there is a really good reason as to why all of these statements are, in some cases, true.
They are true because the industry ACTUALLY WORKS and the status quo is actually more than ok. I recently read that the real estate industry is the largest business sector in the world. This makes total sense. Think about it, it spans to so many different economic touch points that cover virtually every aspect of the economy. And therefore, billions upon billions of dollars are being invested, spent and transacted routinely. All with minimal tech innovation and infrastructure. So what exactly needs fixing, again?!?
Which brings me back to my original premise about how professionals will actually opt to tune out if there is too much confusion, competition or choices in the tech sector. And I feel that we are at that point now. For sure, there are already some clear winners that are outpacing the competition in the tech business sector. They have real scaling revenue and will only get stronger in the years ahead.
But what about the constant stream of new sites that are appearing virtually every day? How will they survive if it's increasingly difficult to break out and stand apart in the marketplace? I believe that many won't be able to, unfortunately. It's too costly and too challenging for so many to gain meaningful market share and become viable, stand-alone solutions. It's simply too much to expect that a real estate professional today will use half a dozen apps. Maybe one, two or even three at best. Any additional apps just won't enter their business processes. They will become a distraction at this stage of market evolution.
Therefore, the winner in the near term, in my humble opinion, will be the one site that understands this dynamic and aggregates several tools into one main portal. So when you wake up in the morning, you can go to that one portal for everything covering your business. Throughout the day when you are dealing with customers or colleagues, you would also tap into that same portal for one of the many applications it features. And finally, at the end of the day when you are looking to get a glimpse of where you are and what the next day holds in store, you log back in to your centralized portal.
I am not smart enough to say what will be inside this portal, but I really feel strongly that IT will be the winner. And so will the one tech company that gets that and begins to aggregate the best tools under one umbrella.
If you doubt this premise, there is one small company who has understood this before anyone and become a bit successful as a result...
Have you heard of them?