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GoldenKey raises close to $2M in funding – could they really disrupt real estate?

(TECH NEWS) Our service economy is zeroing in on the on-demand mindset. Could GoldenKey help the real estate industry figure out how move fast enough to keep up?

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The modern economy

Living in a service economy means options. Options everywhere, overwhelming options. Where do you want to eat? What app do you want to use to call a driver to drive you there? Or do you want to stay home, and use a different app to have your food delivered? Or do you want someone to pick up your groceries so you can cook your own meal? The service economy is solving problems you didn’t even know you had: who knew we’d ever want to travel across the country or the world and pay to spend the night in a stranger’s home? Who knew we’d ever want to read articles like this one on our phones?

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What GoldenKey does

GoldenKey is an up-and-coming real estate service aiming to solve a few problems at once. The premise is simple: match home buyers and sellers with expert agents, and charge a flat, set fee, payed at closing, instead of an uncertain commission.

It’s a real estate Uber, and it’s taken off in 47 states so far.Click To Tweet

The service also includes a 3 percent rebate when a client buys or sells a home with the help of a GoldenKey agent, though some states like Oregon have laws that explicitly forbid this on the books. The company offers three tiers of bundled services, and an on-demand agent pay-per-service option (though you have to dig deeper into the website to go that route, so the tiers are obviously favored).

Following a $1.1 million funding round last year and an investment from Lowe’s, the company recently raised another $1.75 million, again from Lowe’s Ventures, and from NFX Guild and others. The company says its total investment is now $3.4 million.

Will you get in on it?

At this time, only about 1,900 agents across the country have partnered with GoldenKey – you can bet most agents aren’t going to give up on high commissions without a fight. But the benefits of GoldenKey’s service are also high: when an agent connects themselves to the GoldenKey client network, as the company website says, “With GoldenKey, they will come to you.”

This frees up tons of time previously spent attracting clients that can now be devoted to actually providing services that you’ll be compensated for. And by unbundling services, each agent can focus on their strengths, their favorite parts of the business. The service also claims to carry less risk, thanks to the transparency of the payment system – clients are less likely to back out, so agents are less likely to miss out entirely on a payment.

Our service economy is zeroing in on the on-demand mindset, previously home mostly to movies and car rides. The real estate industry is no exception, but will GoldenKey disrupt or is it just another lead generation company in a sea of brands that want to “disrupt” by selling leads to agents? Honestly, the game here is less about disruption and more about who can be the biggest lead generation company, as brand dominance is the only way to truly make an impact with this model. And with a few million dollar head start, GoldenKey  has a shot at that form of disruption.

#GoldenKey

Staff Writer, Natalie Bradford earned her B.A. in English from Cornell University and spends a lot of time convincing herself not to bake MORE brownies. She enjoys cats, cocktails, and good films - preferably together. She is currently working on a collection of short stories.

Real Estate Technology

The 3 biggest names in real estate blockchain

(TECHNOLOGY NEWS) Blockchain backed technologies are taking over and disrupting all facets of society. These are the three biggest names doing so in real estate.

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It’s almost 2020 and everyday it’s feels more and more like the Jetson’s may’ve been right. Sure, we don’t have any flying cars (yet) but the other technology (ahemm, blockchain) that smartypants all of the world have created proves it.

One of the more recent (to me) and fascinating pieces of tech I’ve been learning about is blockchain and cryptocurrency. More than than, though, is the different applications of cryptocurrency.

I have two words for you — Mind. Blown.

In my recent enlightenment I learned that you can use cryptocurrencies to buy real estate which if you ask me is pretty dope.

Even more so, is that cryptocurrency is starting to be used to disrupt a very large and very old institution — viva la revolution!

The current (and tbh, NEW) big kids in the real estate blockchain space have tokenized fundraising.

Tokenized fundraising is similar to how you buy a subway pass for 15 rides, here you buy “tokens” as part of an Initial Coin Offering (ICO), and they use those funds to build out their product, and the tokens can be exchanged privately between users as their value increases and decreases just like stocks.

These are the three biggest tokenizers right now.

1. Atlant
Symbolized as ATL, Atlant is a real estate blockchain that is hoping to build a “next generation” global real-estate platform using blockchain technology. Atlant currently us using cryptofinancing (ICO) for growth instead of traditional venture capital and shareholders which is much more commonplace. Atlant sees the potential behind the blockchain technology and believe that it can help to accelerate the adoption of the Sharing Economy. That acceleration of the Sharing Economy will hypothetically disrupt the industry and open significant amounts of untouched private capacity and tokenization of property. They hope that the disruption will alter real estate transactions and ownership transfer entirely. Atlant allows users to trade parcels of property on their platform while bypassing intermediaries in rental deals and transact peer to peer so that users feel more secure as well as make it easier to use.

2. REAL
Also trying to disrupt real estate is Real Estate Asset Ledger aka REAL. REAL’s aim is to initiate a real estate investment revolution that will increase market liquidity and remove the barriers that prevented ordinary investors from reaping real estate profits in the past. REAL plans to do so by taking real estate investing and moving it onto the Ethereum blockchain and enabling the average investor to build a real estate portfolio. A cool feature about REAL is that property owners and developers must apply to have their assets tokenized and listed on the REAL crowdfunding website. Then the REAL team – which is composed of successful entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and developers who have already invested $350,000 of their own funds in the project – carefully analyze the properties to select the ones that will provide investors with the greatest long-term value. So the people making decisions have skin in the game too which means you don’t have some Joe Shmo investing all willy nilly.

3. Propy
Propy is an option we’ve already covered but is worth including in this story too. Propy also sees the problems facing international real estate transactions and wants to fight them by creating a unified property store and asset transfer platform for the global real estate industry. They, too, offer peer-to-peer value exchange, with service limited to facilitation and an absolute minimum of middleman involvement. Initially the Propy Registry will look and feel like official land registry records in which transfers of real estate are recorded. However, Propy’s big dream is that jurisdictions will adopt the Propy Registry as their own official ledger of record so that the transfer of a property on the Propy Registry constitutes the legal transfer of the property and the legal registration of that transfer.

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Real Estate Technology

KRACK is the wifi vulnerability Y2K wishes it was

(TECHNOLOGY NEWS) It was recently discovered that there is a vulnerability in all wifi networks, know how to keep your information from slipping through the KRACK!

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A security researcher has discovered a new vulnerability that affects literally all WiFi networks – and now that they know about it, it won’t be long before hackers know about it too.

The vulnerability, discovered by security researcher Mathy Vanhoef, lies within the WPA2 encryption used by all WiFi devices and routers. It’s called KRACK, which stands for Key Reinstallation Attacks.

By taking advantage of KRACKs, a hacker can snatch up data that we previously thought was encrypted and totally safe, including credit card numbers, passwords, messages in chat and email, and photographs. A hacker could even hack into your devices with cameras and get a live stream into your home.

They can also inject ransomware or malware into your device.

Security experts are urging all device makers and internet service providers (ISPs) to release updates to patch over KRACKs as soon as possible. In the meantime, there are a few suggestions for how you can protect yourself.

First of all, make sure all of your devices and routers are updated, and turn on auto-updates so that if any new KRACK patches come in, you’ll be sure to get them right away. If you got a router from your ISP, you should call them and bother them until they release a security patch for KRACKs.

In the meantime, use your router’s user guide to find the administrative options and make sure everything is up to date and that you have the strongest privacy settings selected.

If your ISP is slow to respond, you might consider using an Ethernet cable to connect to the Internet, since KRACKs are only a problem with WiFi networks.

You can also disable WiFi on your smartphone and use your cellular data instead – although this could get expensive if you pay extra for cellular. You should also pull you Internet of Things devices, especially ones with cameras and assistants like Alexa, off of WiFi until your ISP has a KRACK patch.

It also helps to access the web through encrypted websites whenever possible.

Many sites offer either unencrypted access (HTTP) or encrypted access (HTTPS). You can download an extension called HTTPS Everywhere that tells your browser to automatically use encrypted access whenever available.

It’s available for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera.

Lastly, be aware that Android devices 6.0 or later are more vulnerable to KRACKs attacks than other devices. Good luck, and keep your information from slipping through the KRACKs!

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Real Estate Technology

Dot coms are on their way out when it comes to Realtors’ sites

(TECHNOLOGY NEWS) NAR is making moves to secure their Realtors sites with .Realtor and .realestate authentications.

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The National Association of Realtors (NAR), the governing body of American realtors, has offered the .REALTOR domain to those who are members and has extended its initial kick off program until 2018.

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Currently, members of NAR can acquire a .REALTOR for one free year, as well as branded domain email and website creation. After the first year, REALTORS will pay $39.95 for their domain. NAR is also working on acquiring the domain .realestate for those in its membership as well.

Pile on the pros

This change can affect the online presence of a realtor in many number of ways. Because the .realtor domain is strictly policed by NAR and top level domain (TLD) registration group Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), this allows for a certain amount of trust and credibility to be made with a future customer. Due to the NAR’s deal with ICANN, those who use .REALTOR has that his or her domain registration tied to their National Realtors Database System (NRDS) ID number.

NAR states that this process is similar to the verification process for a .gov or .edu address.

Another reason for the decision to layers of around the strict TLD verification is the protection of the NAR brand, as well as the word realtor. Laypeople frequently confuse the terms “realtor” and “real estate agent,” unaware of the fact that only a member of the NAR is officially a realtor, and licensed non members who sell property are actually real estate agents.

In 2015, .REALTOR was the fastest growing TLD that had authentic websites, i.e. not domains bought for the purpose of scalping.

The NAR is also the largest trade association in the United States, with 1.2 million members. The TLD process for the NAR made history by being the first brand using this type of verification that was previously only afforded to governmental bodies and educational institutions.

Added security

The internet is a vast superhighway of changing parts, and the modification of TLD is a selling point for enhancing a brand.

NAR is offering a service by allowing the TLD to be another source of credibility for its members, a perk few other trade organizations can match.

#DOTrealtor

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