Announced in 2012, the National Association of Realtors’ REach tech incubator is now accepting applications for the 2015 class. Before much was known of the accelerator, the program drew criticism from outside investors and incubators that considered the program a marketing revenue stream for NAR.
Fast forward three years, and we have to ask: was that critique accurate? Yes and no.
What has changed?
The REach program has not changed much. It still operates exclusively on returns, never on NAR member dues, and the goal remains to accelerate brands that stand to break into the real estate industry and beyond. What has changed, is that the model has been clarified and proven – much of the early criticism was against charging very early stage startups for involvement, but REach is clearly not designed for kids in hoodies with an idea of how they’ll be bigger than Facebook.
Constance Freedman is the Founder and Managing Director at REach(TM) as well as the Managing Director at Second Century Ventures and is the Vice President of Strategic Investments at NAR. In other words, she’s in charge. She tells us that the program has evolved, and been “enhanced,” not only because of a positive reception from the industry, but a surge in the number of mentors in the program, with over 250 “truly engaged” mentors now involved, more than five times the number of mentors they began with.
Additionally, the insight panel of beta users that these startups have access to has grown from roughly 600 during the first class to 2,500 now. While the model hasn’t changed, it has been made clear that, as Freedman said, “this is not a typical accelerator – we pick up where others leave off,” accelerating a company into the extremely complex real estate industry and focusing on demo days with customers instead of exclusively focused on raising capital, as other accelerators are.
TIP: Realtors that want access to free tools for their business can sign up to be beta testers on the Insight Panel.
Who should apply for the 2015 class?
REach has begun taking applications for the nine-month accelerator program, and will do so through January 30th, 2015.
Tech companies should apply if they want “intense exposure” to the $1 trillion real estate market of over 100,000 small- and medium-sized businesses that generate $12.5 billion in advertising spends annually.
REach explains that they offer “education, mentorship, and exposure for technology companies to enter into the trillion-dollar real estate market, advance their businesses, and expand into adjacent markets such as insurance, mortgage and financial services. The program has attracted technology startups of all types, ranging from big data and marketing automation to business productivity and lead generation companies. The program accepts companies in a wide variety of growth stages, not just early-stage companies.”
Previous classes of REach include a company that raised more than $20 million before entering the program, another with a revenue run rate greater than $10 million, and graduates from other accelerator programs, including Y Combinator.
With previous classes, they’ve proven their value, and graduates have given us endlessly positive feedback. Freedman tells us that all of their 2013 class grew between 100 and 1,000 percent, and the 2014 graduating class seeing an average of 90 percent growth. That is acceleration.
Progress has been made, the model proven, and criticism quelled. It will be interesting to watch the program for growth and innovation in coming years.
What NAR’s senior management hires reveals about their strategy
(REAL ESTATE) The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has hired two powerhouses, and their choices speak volumes of what to expect from the trade group going forward.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) confirms two top hires – Victoria Gillespie as the new Chief Marketing & Communications Officer, and Shannon McGhan, the new Sr. VP of Governmental Affairs.
These two hires reveal two major signals from NAR.
First, and most unavoidable, these are two rising stars that happen to be women, putting more females in the boardroom which the industry has struggled to do, even in recent decades. In fact, McGhan is the first female in her role in NAR’s 110-year history.
Secondly, these two executives are extremely qualified and come from within their respective segments to serve their roles, and clearly prove CEO Bob Goldberg’s continuing to boldly restructure the corporate organization of the association since his taking the reigns last year.
McGahn will fill the very big shoes of Jerry Giovaniello who retires this year after nearly four decades at NAR and a stellar record of successes. McGhan is sharp and modern – she cut her teeth on the Hill as communications director for the House Republican Conference, and spent over six years serving in various policy communications roles for the House Republican Conference, the Office of the House Majority Leader, and Congresswoman Jennifer Dunn (R-WA). She served as counselor to the secretary of the U.S. Treasury, spearheading relationships with members of banking and tax writing committees alongside House and Senate leadership, managing legislative agendas and priorities.
“I’m excited to join NAR and bring my experience in the legislative and executive branches to support policies that not only benefit members, but promote property ownership for everyday Americans,” said McGahn. “On behalf of NAR’s 1.3 million members, I look forward to promoting the American dream of homeownership, bolstering private property rights and emphasizing the financial security and other associated benefits of owning real property.”
NAR has hired an up-and-comer that knows the intricacies of inside baseball to handle the policy nuances.
Equally impressive is the fact that they’ve also brought on a power player, Gillespie, who has owned her own real estate agency for over 12 years, and served as Sr. VP of Enterprise and Marketing Communications for Northwest Federal Credit Union. She’s extremely well versed in real estate and finance, a powerful combination for the next communications leader at NAR, as the trade group seeks to tackle the daunting and endless task of strengthening their relationship with consumers and activating the Realtor brand.
“I’m thrilled to take on this new role at NAR and put my knowledge of the real estate industry to use for our members,” said Gillespie. “Having spent much of my career in the industry, there are tremendous opportunities to increase the awareness of the value and services that NAR offers so that our members understand that NAR is a radically member-centric organization. I look forward to working with our talented team to do so.”
“The addition of Victoria and Shannon’s strategic leadership to our already powerful team will help us once again make real estate a topline issue,” said Goldberg. “Together, they will lead our strategic direction in Washington and around the country to better serve our members’ interests.”
The combination of these two hires strongly indicates powerful, modern communications and policy strategies in coming years. In short, these hires indicate that they’re not messing around.
NAR sends strongly worded letter to House and Senate on tax reform
(ASSOCIATION NEWS) NAR President, William E. Brown has written a letter detailing the NAR’s concerns over the Blueprint tax reform plan. Here’s what you need to know about it and what NAR foresees for the future if it passes.
Regarding the American Dream
President of the National Association of Realtors®, William E. Brown, wrote a letter to the Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, as well as the Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, Kevin Brady, expressing the NAR’s feelings about the challenges and opportunities Brown believes will be upcoming in the Trump administration. The letter was sent to all members of the House and Senate, but Brown primarily focuses on the House Republican Tax Reform Blueprint.
More specifically, he writes, “the interaction of two specific features of the plan, which are designed to simplify the tax system” as they would have “the unintended consequences of nullifying the long-standing tax incentives of owning a home for the great majority of Americans who now are, or who aspire to become, homeowners.”
Brown goes on in the letter to detail the specifics of the Blueprint that could become problematic for homeowners. He states, “the Blueprint calls for the standard deduction to be almost doubled from its current levels. The plan also includes the repeal of the deduction for state and local taxes paid, as well as, the elimination of most other itemized deductions.”
He explains the gravity of this potential reform by stating, “Either of [the aforementioned] monumental changes alone would marginalize the value of the current-law tax incentives for owning a home. Unfortunately, the combination of these two revisions would cripple the incentive effect of the federal tax law for all but the most affluent of taxpayers.”
Protecting first-time homebuyers
Brown continues by explaining, “two potentially devastating problems in the aftermath of these modification (are anticipated). First, the impact on the first-time homebuyer could be enormous.”
In many cases, the tax incentives enable first-time homebuyers to be able to afford their very first home. Brown states, “at a time when the rate of first-time home-buying is well below the average of the past few decades, this could be particularly debilitating for the housing industry and the entire economy.”
Home and property value
If that weren’t enough of a reason to take notice of the impending possible reform, Brown goes on to detail the second reason.
He states, “the decimation of the mortgage interest and real property tax deductions would very likely cause a significant plunge in the value of all houses[…]the housing sector has not fully recovered from the thrashing it took during the Great Recession, this drop, even if temporary, could be calamitous.”
This would mean that millions of Americans might quickly find, “the value of their largest financial asset has dived below the amount of debt that is owed.”
NAR protecting homeowners
Brown realizes the Blueprint is aimed at modifying the tax system and attempting to “supercharge growth in our Nation.” He believes there has to be another, better way.
In a statement to The Real Daily, Brown said, “the NAR continues to believe that any tax reform proposal should respect and uphold our system’s longtime support for homeownership. That means avoiding changes that would negate the important incentive effects of the mortgage interest deduction and the state and local property tax deduction.”
He continues, “We’ll be making that case in the months ahead and look forward to working with policymakers in Washington to promote an overhaul of the tax system that engenders positive change for all Americans.”
Read it for yourself
This letter aims to bring this belief to the attention of lawmakers before any changes are made to the existing tax laws.
Read the full letter here (PDF).
If you are interested in learning a little more about the Blueprint, you can read an overview of it here (PDF).
Modern Family, NAR team up to humorously express what it means to be a REALTOR®
To further contemporize the REALTOR® brand, NAR teamed up with Modern Family and actor Ty Burrell to create ads and an integrated storyline.
If you watched ABC’s comedy, Modern Family last night, you witnessed Phil Dunphy (played by Ty Burrell) wear his REALTOR® pin, express what it means to be a REALTOR®, and ultimately save the day with his REALTOR® skills. And that was no accident – the show teamed up with the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and their new creative and media agencies Arnold and Havas, for what may be the most organic, natural ad integration to date.
We’ve all seen hit shows like New Girl struggle to integrate awkward ads about Ford that painfully go against the grain of the show. But this storyline brand integration was natural to the existing brand of the oafish character who is actually quite good (and serious about) his real estate career.
The episode coincides with a series of :15 and :30 ad spots for television and online, as part of NAR’s gutsy “Get REALTOR®” campaign seeking to help consumers understand the value of a REALTOR®, and how that differs from a real estate agent.
The two spots already airing
The two spots, “Silence” (below) and “Ball” (which we call “Cat-Like Reflexes,” seen here) are already airing nationwide.
NAR’s involvement in the creative process
NAR Senior Vice President of Communications Stephanie Singer notes that Dunphy “always does the right thing,” making it a natural fit. At the shoot, she observed Burrell do a lot of improvisation with show creators Christopher Lloyd and Steven Levitan who directed the ads. She reports a lot of laughter on set.
The truth is that this was a collaboration between three brands – NAR (and their Consumer Communications Committee), Modern Family, and Ty Burrell – which means that unlike traditional advertising, no single entity had complete control (although NAR did have input into the scripts). In our assessment, the risk paid off.
Reactions have been positive, with members tweeting frequently about the idea that finally the public has been offered a definition of “REALTOR®” versus “agent.”
Singer notes that this is part of the “Get REALTOR®” effort to redefine the REALTOR® brand and contemporize it. Although they “protect the brand voraciously,” this integration is, indeed indicative of the trade group’s adaptation to modern culture.
One episode only, but Phil’s-osophies live on
Dunphy will only wear the REALTOR® pin for this one episode, as the ad integration was for one episode only, but in addition to the two aforementioned ads, there are nine more that have been produced (0:15 seconds each), which will be reviewed at the upcoming 2016 REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo (“Midyear”) by the committee.
On top of all of that, NAR will be using the social and digital assets through May of 2017, so look for TGIP posts (“thank goodness it’s Phil”) and humorous posts of that nature.
Singer opines that it’s important for readers “to understand the strategic vision this campaign executes,” that they’re redefining the REALTOR® brand, updating it for today’s hyper-connected consumers who think they can DIY. They’re seeking to appeal to digital natives nervous about reaching out to a human (REALTOR®). This all “aims to overcome that reluctance, and demonstrate a friendly, approachable way that REALTORS® can help [consumers] succeed in real estate.”
Our favorite Phil scenes from the episode
Aside from the ending of the ad where Dunphy gets hit by a ball repeatedly (we’re all quoting “sexel fear kyle tac” around the office), there were two great scenes you should be aware of.
First, if you haven’t seen the full episode (go watch it, that would make things easier), Sophia Vergara’s character has a salsa line that is taking off, and they find a competitor has stolen her recipe. Here’s how Phil wins that fight (watch for the ninja REALTOR® skills):
Realtors are just your everyday superheroes, NBD. https://t.co/r22zalj5Rc
— Modern Family (@ModernFam) May 5, 2016
Earlier in the episode, he’s upset that he was bumped at his niece’s career day for a periodontist. Gloria mentions his being an agent, and he responds, “first of all, I’m not just a real estate agent, I’m a Realtor. I’m a member of a national association, a brotherhood, sworn to the Realtor Code of Ethics. That’s what this R stands for,” he says, pulling out his jacket with the REALTOR® pin on the lapel.
“A brotherhood!” Perfect timing for the countless professionals about to hop a plane for NAR’s Midyear conference to celebrate that “brotherhood.”
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