Capital Factory’s Saturday Startup Spotlight series continues this week with the founders of ListingSpark: Brett Appolito and Travis Carona. Full disclosure, we actually met Brett and Travis on separate occasions, but we think their answers ended up flowing well together nonetheless— which goes to show the cohesiveness of Listing Spark.
We stepped into the world of home selling and discussed their experiences as founders of a company that’s re-shaping the real estate market.
ListingSpark is different. We don’t ask for crazy commissions and big upfront flat fees. With ListingSpark, you pay per day to sell your home.
— ListingSpark (@ListingSpark) January 22, 2019
Can you introduce yourself and give us your elevator pitch?
Brett: My co-founder Aaron and I started brainstorming ListingSpark about 9 years ago after being in the real estate industry and witnessing first hand how costly and difficult the home selling process is. The idea behind ListingSpark is to remove a very high friction pain point for home sellers across the United States, which is: it’s very difficult to get your home sold. You’re effectively forced into hiring an agent to get the best possible price and results. We’re building a software platform that allows home sellers to take the process of getting a home sold all the way from point A to point B (which is closing on a house) all on one platform. Today’s consumers are more educated, there’s a stronger desire for them to want to control a lot of the process— not just because they enjoy transparency but they want to be able to do things on their own accord.
Travis: We empower home sellers to sell their home on their own, giving the tools that traditionally would’ve been held by a real estate agent through licensing. It saves our clients thousands of dollars and eliminates the middleman when selling your home. In Texas, we’ve saved our clients millions so far, and we’re at about half a billion in real estate transactions.
What are the current goals you have in mind for ListingSpark to achieve?
Brett: Our short term goal is to go from selling about a thousand homes to ten thousand homes a year in the next two years— now that we’ve integrated titling, we’ve set up the infrastructure to expand to other states. We’ve been operating mainly here in Texas for the last four years.
Travis: To simplify the real estate process. Anybody should be able to do it. The way we like to think of it is: what Turbotax did for taxes is what we’re doing for real estate; tying in every aspect of the real estate process into one hub.
As startup founders, what problems or pain points are y’all currently struggling with?
Brett: I think the main pain points we’re currently facing are scalability issues and typical resource allocations. It’s sort of a Catch-22 there, those seem to go hand in hand. We understand what needs to be done and the platform that needs to be built. We’re well on our way, so now we’re at a point where we’re making sure we have the business in an appropriate position to continue that growth and make sure we have the resources to continue a fast growth.
Travis: Operations and marketing are a struggle. I would say those are two of the things we’re always working on and fine-tuning.
Now that y’all are in the VIP Accelerator, what kind of connections and people are you looking to find here at Capital Factory? Travis, maybe someone with experience in marketing for example?
Travis: Oh 100%, definitely. We’ve got some good people surrounding us so far advisor-wise. Meeting people like Mike Williams from uShip, a company that has all of these little intricacies, that have taken and locked down those tidbits and small moving parts are really interesting to hear from and they help us.
Brett: Our goal going into Capital Factory’s Accelerator program is to get connected to people that we would want to meet during the fundraising process, and then also networking for people who have gone through scaling companies from early stage to mid-stage and understand the dynamics that go into both.
You’ll definitely find that here, I think we have plenty of that Mentor guidance. Last question: if our audience can take away one key point about ListingSpark, what would that be?
Brett: I’d say the one key takeaway is that we’re very excited with the progress we’ve made over the last four years with ListingSpark. We feel that we’re in a very advantageous position to take the next leap and really take hold of a very big market across the United States.
Travis: People are automatically throwing away 3% in commission when they resort to a realtor. Our whole goal is to save everyone money— that’s the whole point of the business.
Thank you to both Brett and Travis for taking the time to talk to us!
Does their story sound familiar? Do you need the right fundraising advice to scale your business? Attend our Intro to Fundraising AMA in Austin or Alternatives to VC Funding AMA in Dallas! Learn more about our VIP Accelerator program and how to apply.
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