NuHabitat Targets Real Estate Agents With New Client Portal Powered By MLS Data

NuHabitat LogoNuHabitat, a residential real estate application (and Capital Factory Incubator company) designed with ease of use in mind, has just released its personalized Agent Contact Widget. The new website offers a suite of enhanced solutions for real estate agents and brokerages, with features like client access to timely and accurate sales data that have made property search sites like Redfin popular with consumers.

NuHabitat and its new widget will appeal to real estate professionals by serving as not only a lead generation tool, allowing agents to market their own listings, but also as a client gateway or portal for agents and their clients, providing access to the complete MLS. Additionally, for the first time on a real estate website, both sellers’ agents and buyers’ agents will be able to list their contact information and get recognition for their half of a transaction on sold properties.

The new website and personalized marketing widget includes:

  • Real-time, accurate MLS data only (no syndication)
  • Doesn’t allow competing ads from other agents on a member agent’s listing page
  • Routes all leads directly to the Listing Agent.
  • Offers display of the Buyer’s Agent on sold properties in addition to the Listing Agent
  • No FSBO

The Agent Contact Widget has already caught fire in the Lone Star State, with 260 Central Texas-based agents signing up, and over 1,600 consumers as registered users.

NuHabitat’s goal as a SaaS application is to be a trusted third party provider of services to agents, giving them a choice if they want to provide an improved experience to their prospects and clients. In the future, NuHabitat will provide a private branded broker solution, allowing brokerages to share the MLS in its entirety with prospects and clients, which is ultimately what the consumer wants.

“We want to improve the value proposition that agents provide their clients,” said Jeff Burke, NuHabitat CEO. “To accomplish this, we will work to provide agents with an alternative to the MLS backend system, known as Client Gateway or Client Portal. These are the systems provided by many associations to their subscribing members as part of their MLS software system, but frequently look and function like they are completely outdated”

The new widget is available for free and with no referral fee, unlike competitor sites Zillow and Trulia, which charge agents large advertising fees to be exclusively represented on their own listings and typically provide syndicated data.

“Redfin is considered by many to have the best technology platform in the industry but is only available to Redfin agents. It’s our goal to provide agents, brokers and consumers with a competing system. Think of us as the ‘Redfin for everyone else. Zillow and Trulia might be fine for browsing properties but if you’re working with a serious buyer, you need a platform like NuHabitat” explains Jeff Burke, NuHabitat CEO.

With its launch this past summer, NuHabitat has already created a new home search experience that maximizes access to MLS listings and leverages mobile services to offer the most up-to-date and comprehensive MLS information available to registered users, including “Historical Listing Prices”, “Sold Data” and “Cumulative Days on Market,” representing the real number of days a home has been for sale, not just the current MLS listing. Perhaps best of all, the site offers greater levels of transparency for home buyers and sellers and creates a collaborative environment that not only benefits consumers, but also benefits agents and brokers.

NuHabitat Targets Real Estate Agents With New Client Portal Powered By MLS Data

Pristine.io Raises $5.4M From S3 and Capital Factory

Pristine LogoPristine, developers of the only HIPAA-compliant video streaming and checklist solutions for Google Glass, announced today that it has raised $5.4 million in Series A financing. Austin-based S3 Ventures led the oversubscribed round, which also included Capital Factory, HealthFundr, and a syndicate of strategic clients. This new financing enables the company to expand its R&D, sales, marketing, and operations teams, supporting the company’s rapid growth.

“The team at S3 has pioneered cutting-edge developments in medical devices, enterprise health IT solutions, and more,” said Kyle Samani, cofounder and CEO of Pristine. “With our rapid growth, we are thrilled to have partners with a strong track record of guiding early stage companies to success.”

Pristine was born from a common refrain in healthcare: “Hey, can you come over here and look at this?” In response, the company developed EyeSight, the first commercially available, HIPAA-compliant telepresence platform for Google Glass. Pristine is also finding success with EyeSight outside of healthcare, working with pharmaceutical, medical device, and manufacturing companies on remote support and training applications.

“Wearable technologies like Google Glass are revolutionizing how healthcare is delivered, and the Pristine platform is the market leader,” said Brian R. Smith, Managing Director at S3 Ventures. “Current customers are raving about the product, and we are excited to partner with Pristine to continue innovating in healthcare, as well as remote support applications in other industries.”

“We have deployed EyeSight in ERs, ORs, ICUs, ambulances, and even patients’ homes,” added Samani. “We understand that security is paramount. There is a lot of misinformation about Glass and privacy out in the wild; we have gone the extra mile to guarantee security and control for our clients. Our utmost focus on security will fuel our growth as we scale our wearable communication technology throughout healthcare and across other industries.”

Pristine.io Raises $5.4M From S3 and Capital Factory

Introducing NuHabitat: Comprehensive Online Real Estate Search Where Others Fall Short

NuHabitat LogoSearching for a new home or investment property in Austin and Central Texas just got a whole lot easier, with today’s launch of NuHabitat, a residential real estate application (and Capital Factory Accelerator company) designed with ease of use, speed and 100% data accuracy in mind. The Austin start-up gives consumers the tools to make the most informed purchasing decisions possible by granting them access to real-time, local MLS data that – up until now – was only available to agents.

NuHabitat has created a new home search experience that maximizes access to MLS listings and leverages mobile services to offer the most up-to-date and comprehensive MLS information available to registered users, including “Historical Listing Prices”, “Sold Data” and “Cumulative Days on Market,” representing the real number of days a home has been for sale, not just the current MLS listing. Perhaps best of all, the site offers greater levels of transparency for home buyers and sellers and creates a collaborative environment that not only benefits consumers, but also benefits agents and brokers.

“The real estate industry is very traditional and has been slow to adopt modern technologies. Clients, agents and brokers have been hamstrung by legacy systems and arcane, out-of-touch policies that have created systemic inefficiencies to transactions,” explained Jeff Burke, NuHabitat CEO. “As a result of this, existing search tools on the market do not address the current needs of users, especially agents and their buyers. With the launch of NuHabitat, we’re going to change that.”

Indeed, NuHabitat is poised to give competitors a run for their money, with its timely and accurate sales data. Popular real estate websites often provide home listings that are no longer for sale, taking days to update their information and providing inaccurate estimates of value, misleading home buyers and sellers in the process.

NuHabitat will appeal to real estate professionals by serving as not only a client referral brokerage, allowing agents to market their own listings and view existing clients’ online behaviors, but also as a client gateway or portal for agents and their clients, providing access to the complete MLS. Additionally, for the first time on a real estate website, both sellers’ agents and buyers’ agents will be able to list their contact information and get recognition for their half of a transaction. The site further expects to retain agents and brokers with its suite of online tools, which it will monetize in the months to come.

“We embrace innovation across our industry and advise our clientele to leverage the NuHabitat home search process because it’s 100% accurate and sourced directly from our MLS, unlike other national search sites. Their ethical approach to serving the listing agent above all else, not to mention their business acumen, dedication to transparency and the consumer experience are a huge value to our homebuyers” said William M Steakley, Co-founder DEN Property Group, Austin’s Elite 25.

NuHabitat is currently approaching 200 real estate agents and over 1,600 consumers as registered users.

Introducing NuHabitat: Comprehensive Online Real Estate Search Where Others Fall Short

SpareFoot Raises $10M More

SparefootSpareFoot, which operates the country’s largest online marketplace for self-storage, has raised $10 million in venture capital from Insight Venture Partners. Austin-based SpareFoot has raised a total of $26 million in venture capital since it was founded in 2008. Of that amount, $22 million came from New York-based Insight Venture Partners — $10 million this year and $12 million last year. SpareFoot’s other major investors are Capital Factory, FLOODGATE and Silverton Partners.

“SpareFoot will use this latest investment to double down on engineering and product development,” said Chuck Gordon, co-founder and CEO of SpareFoot. “We believe there is a big opportunity to expand our offerings in the market, and that’s what we’re going to do. Our goal is to make renting a storage unit easier than booking a hotel room, and this new investment will help us make that happen.”

SpareFoot employs nearly 120 people at its headquarters in downtown Austin. By the end of the year, the startup aims to employ nearly 160 people, Gordon said. Most of the new hires will be in customer service, engineering and product development.

Richard Wells, managing director of Insight Venture Partners and a member of SpareFoot’s board, said: “We’re thrilled about our latest investment in SpareFoot. SpareFoot has done a great job of bringing together a highly fragmented market of small self-storage storage operators and is doing an even better job helping them compete with the large players.”

Disclosure: I am an investor in SpareFoot.

SpareFoot Raises $10M More

Guitarist Slash Hosts Hackathon at Capital Factory

slashathonThe Grammy-winning, iconic guitarist and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame artist SLASH is heading to music week in Austin during SXSW 2014 to launch SLASHATHON, the first-ever artist-focused hackathon. Powered by Geeklist,  SLASHATHON is a hackathon where developers create applications and technology within a 12-hour period. The music-oriented SLASHATHON will offer developers a unique challenge to create solutions for artists to engage their communities for an album release. SLASHATHON will take place Wednesday, March 12 at Capital Factory.

The SLASHATHON GRAND PRIZE includes a Gibson guitar autographed by SLASH, $1,000 dollars, AND the opportunity to have SLASH use the winning hack with the release of his new album, coming out in late 2014. The judges for SLASHATHON will be SLASH himself, Bram Cohen, Chief Scientist & Founder of BitTorrent, and Ben Parr, Co-founder & Managing Partner, DominateFund.

REGISTER FOR THE SLASHATHON AT: WWW.SLASHATHON.COM. *SXSW badges are not required to participate. APIs available to developers to build with include Aviary, Dolby, Leap Motion, Gimbal, Raspberry Pi, Codio.io, Elasticsearch, Mad Mimi, Yellow API and Lob. Furthr.la, and Geeklist will provide mentorship for all participants.

8:30 AM: Registration

9:00 AM: API presentations

10:00 AM: Hacking begins

1:30 PM: Lunch

7:00 PM: Presentations

8:30: Awards

A pioneer in blending tech and music, SLASH launched his first two music apps “Slash360” and “Slash AmpliTube” to promote the Apocalyptic Love album (2012) featuring his band Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators. The critically acclaimed album Apocalyptic Love earned SLASH his two first-ever #1 rock radio hits– “You’re A Lie” and “Standing In The Sun–and stormed onto the Billboard Top 200 Albums Chart at #4, marking the top rock debut for that week. Last year, SLASH also partnered with the Swedish company Rovio–creator of the popular mobile game Angry Birds–to create a theme song for the “Angry Birds Space.”  SLASH and his band Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators are currently in the studio working on a new album to be released in the fall of 2014.

 

Guitarist Slash Hosts Hackathon at Capital Factory

Compare Metrics Partners with Leap Motion and Capital Factory to Host First Annual Hackathon for Experiential Applications

Compare Metrics New LogoCompare Metrics, the leading provider of Adaptive Commerce navigation and discovery tools, and Leap Motion, the creator of innovative technology that enables users to interact with computers in more natural and dynamic ways, today announced the First Annual Compare Metrics + Leap Motion Hackathon, February 21-23, 2014 at Capital Factory. The event is a platform for software engineers in the early stages of their careers to showcase their skills and abilities, as well as promote their personal brand to a collection of renowned companies in the Austin startup community.

During the Hackathon, developer and hacker teams will create shippable applications using the Leap Motion Controller. The controller is a small device that creates an interactive 3D space allowing users to precisely track the movement of hands and fingers in the air. Hackathon participants are encouraged to produce a commercially viable web, software or experiential application following one of the three tracks offered (discovery, gaming, design) that can be submitted for approval to Airspace, the Leap Motion Discovery Store. In addition to various prizes, Leap Motion will donate a device to every hacker who turns in a completed project so that they may continue to explore and develop new apps.

“Leap Motion has opened up entirely new ways to interact with the digital world,” said Garrett Eastham, CEO of Compare Metrics. “Exploring the potential of human and machine interaction has been at the core of my education and career, and it is at the heart of Compare Metrics’ vision. We’re incredibly excited to partner with a company like Leap Motion to see how innovative developers can push the technology. And, where better to host the competition than at Capital Factory, the entrepreneurial center of gravity in Austin.”

Michael Buckwald, CEO at Leap Motion, added, “We’re on the verge of transforming how we interact with the Internet and everything in it – and the ability to quickly and intuitively explore vast amounts of online content is an important part of that change. By partnering with Compare Metrics, we can continue to support the development of new 3D web experiences, and we’re thrilled to partner with the team here in Austin.”

Participants can sign up individually or with a team via the event page until February 20. Judges will include Eastham; Joshua Baer, the founder of Capital Factory; and a representative from Leap Motion. Finalists will show off their projects and the winner will be announced during the South by Southwest Interactive trade show and conference in Austin at the Think Tank Drink Tank Hackathon Awards Ceremony on March 8, 2014 at Capital Factory.

Click here for more information on the Leap Motion SDK. Visit the Hackathon event page for details and registration.

Compare Metrics Partners with Leap Motion and Capital Factory to Host First Annual Hackathon for Experiential Applications

Silverton and Floodgate Now Match Capital Factory Investments

The benefits of putting your tech startup into the Capital Factory incubator continue to grow. Today it was announced that some top Venture Capital firms will provide matching investments. To get accepted into the incubator, you must get two lead mentors to each invest $25K in your company. The Capital Factory Fund will match that $50K with another $50K. Then Silverton and FLOODGATE will each kick in $25K bringing your total funding to $150K when you get into the incubator.

Capital Factory now has two separate 22,000 square foot floors dedicated to growing entrepreneurs and startup companies, and has become the epicenter of tech startups in Austin. I heard a statistic the other day that there were over 200 companies that were part of Capital Factory.

Silverton Partners invests solely in Austin-based technology companies, and recently announced a new $75M fund hot off the back of a stellar year of exits in their portfolio companies. Investments include SpareFoot, Tivoli, Silicon Labs, Convio, Famigo, uShip, and WP Engine.

FLOODGATE is headed by Mike Maples, Jr. who has become one of the best performing venture investors in the silicon valley. I first met Mike back at Motive, so know that he came from an entrepreneurial background. In addition, he seems to have a knack for picking and grooming tremendously successful companies that you might have heard of, including Twitter, Rally, Chegg, TaskRabbit, Bazaarvoice, SpareFoot, Lyft, Solar Winds, and Digg just to name a few.

Silverton and Floodgate Now Match Capital Factory Investments

Pingboard Raises $1.25 Million Seed Round, Launches Modern Company Directory

Pingboard LogoPingboard, the modern social company directory, today announced that the company has closed a $1.25M seed round of venture funding led by Silverton Partners. Alongside the announcement, Pingboard today launched into private beta. Founded in 2013 by Bill Boebel and Rob Eanes at Austin’s Capital Factory incubator, Pingboard helps office managers simplify their operations processes. The company will use the funds to onboard new pilot customers, continue to build out and expand their platform, and further business development goals.

Pingboard is one of the first modern services built to serve office management specifically, helping companies automate their office and better support high-performing teams. Scattered spreadsheets and clunky manual processes are replaced with a slick directory that houses employee information and an API for developers to automate processes around that information — everything from phone numbers, emergency contacts and badge numbers to dietary restrictions, tshirt sizes and favorite sports teams.

“We built Pingboard for ourselves upon noticing all the inefficiencies in our own office management at Capital Factory. We realized no software exists just for office management. While there is great software for enterprise IT and HR, there was no platform or API to automate people processes,” said Bill Boebel, founder. “Office managers are the life of their office — they ensure everyone can do their job well, connect entire teams, and keep the lights on. They need a software tool of their own, and that’s Pingboard. We’ve been piloting with some of the best companies in Austin and Silicon Valley, and we’re thrilled with the ways they are using the platform. We’re very fortunate to have Silverton Partners as our venture capital partner, as well as the support of some of the most respected angel investors in technology.”

With Pingboard, information can be easily uploaded and updated, even by the employees themselves, and seamlessly shared. Messaging functionality allows employees to easily ping each other or be pinged, for example when an office visitor arrives. Companies can fully customize Pingboard in a number of ways to solve their specific issues. Finally, the platform, built on your own specific employee data, easily extends and integrates into popular operations tools.

“Pingboard has built an elegant, modern solution for scaling and automating office operations and is already showing customers how they can quickly organize and automate existing, inefficient internal processes,” said Kip McClanahan, partner, Silverton Partners. “We have backed Pingboard because of the fantastic founding team and their vision for transforming traditional office operations from an inefficient cost center into a profit center.”

In addition to Silverton Partners, several notable angels contributed to Pingboard’s seed funding round including, Pat Matthews, founder of Webmail.us; Pat Condon, founder of Rackspace; Joshua Baer, founder of OtherInbox and Capital Factory; Jason Cohen, founder of WP Engine; Jonathan Siegel, founder of RightScale; Rony Kahan, founder of Indeed.com; and Auren Hoffman, founder of RapLeaf. Pingboard’s investors bring valuable connections and experience that will benefit the company. Silverton’s Kip McClanahan will also be joining Pingboard’s board.

Pingboard is currently piloting its service with a number of businesses. Companies interested in signing up for the private beta, can find out more at http://www.pingboard.com.

Pingboard Raises $1.25 Million Seed Round, Launches Modern Company Directory

Q&A Wednesday :: Meritful

Meritful LogoQ: Your company made its way to Austin in a unique way. Please tell us about that.
Moving to Austin for Meritful was almost an accident. We used to work out of a co-working space called Ann Arbor TechHub, and one morning late in February, we started talking about SXSW. None of us had ever been to it and we wanted to come, but we were saying how expensive it is to attend. And then somehow, we came across a post by Josh Baer about the Capital Factory competition called ‘Move your startup to Austin for Free‘ which was taking place on the first day of SXSW. The premise of the competition was simple: if you win, we will give you a $100,000 worth of prizes to move your startup to Austin. AND, if you are one of the five companies selected to pitch live at SXSW, your team will get a free pass to SXSW Interactive. We thought the gods were smiling, and applied promptly. We figured, at the very least we will get to go to SXSW for free.

The next two weeks were nothing short of amazing. Just a couple days later, I got an email from Josh saying, are you guys really willing to come over here if we select you to pitch? That took a bit of time to think about. We love Ann Arbor, and the University of Michigan is our alma mater for most of our team. But we also understood the opportunities that are awaiting for us here in Austin. We build a platform to help companies hire talented students from great universities, and the make-up of Austin was a lot like Ann Arbor, only bigger. So at a high level, it made sense. And we said yes. What followed was several sessions of pitch practices, a 20 hours drive to Austin, a live pitch on the SXSW Interactive stage…and lo and behold, we won the competition after over a 100 companies that applied and 5 that pitched on the stage. We were offered a great set of prizes from CTAN, Capital Factory and great Austin companies like HomeAway, SpareFoot, uShip, OutBox, Greenling, CDW and Rackspace. It took a couple months to finally make the move, but here we are! As we were planning our move here, we were also selected to launch Meritful on the stage at TechCrunch Disrupt 2013 in New York. We are grateful to follow in the tracks of some amazing companies that launched at Disrupt in prior years. You can check out our launch on TechCrunch.

Q: Explain what you do in a way that my mom can understand?
Hiring talented people is probably the most important concern for growing companies. One of the best sources for talented employees is university recruiting: top students can often do amazing work, and they cost a fraction of what talented professionals cost. Meritful is a platform that helps companies hire top graduating students by starting recruiting early, and building a relationship with students.

University recruiting is unique in a few ways. First, students are not well connected professionally, and companies do not have access to them through referrals. Second, the hiring process takes a number of years, starting from sophomore year or so where students are looking for internships all the way to graduation. Third, big brands and companies have an advantage on campus because they can command more mindshare from students. Meritful is a platform that helps medium sized companies compete effectively for top talent by doing the work earlier instead of waiting for senior year. At its core, Meritful is a candidate relationship management platform specifically built for college recruiting. It allows companies to engage students through activities like projects and challenges, and connect promising students with professionals and alumni at the company around these activities. So, what you have with Meritful is a platform to engage your student pipeline in efficient and one to many ways, allowing you to build a relationship with talented students, and generate data points about their skills, helping you make great hires. The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) does a lot of research on college recruiting, and their number one suggestion for employers in hiring top talent is building a long term relationship with students. Meritful is a platform built to help companies with exactly that, and it is already being used by a number of companies.

Q: Who are the hard working geniuses behind the company?
Well, that is flattering. Let me tell you about our founding team. I am the founder of Meritful. I earned a PhD in computer science from the university of Michigan and Meritful is my second startup. I also spent some time working at LinkedIn in Mountain View, CA. Observing how college recruiting is different from traditional recruiting, and how it is not often addressed by existing recruiting solutions was the main reason for building Meritful. Lander is our head of business development, and also comes with a mix of startup and corporate experience. He has an undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan, and an MBA from Wharton. He spent a few years working at Accenture in technology implementation, and Meritful is also his second startup.

We are growing our team in Austin, and looking for talented developers and business people who are interested in helping amazing students get great jobs, and amazing companies hire top talent. If this space interests you, and would like to be part of a growing startup, contact us!

Q: We’ll know we made it when:
When companies don’t have to think twice about what to use to manage their college recruiting process OR when we have a million followers on twitter, whichever comes first. (@bemeritful)

Q: The best advice we’ve received so far has been:
It always seems impossible until it is done. [this one actually comes from Nelson Mandela]

Q&A Wednesday :: Meritful

Postmaster Raises $600K Seed Round

Postmaster, the only smart and simple way to ship, track and save on small parcel shipping, today announced it has raised a seed investment round of $600,000. The round was led by Capital Factory, Cloud Power and Zelkova Ventures, as well as a consortium of angels. Postmaster will use the seed investment round to expand its development team, build additional carrier integrations, and expand its core features and functionality.

Postmaster is addressing a very real problem eCommerce businesses face every day with shipping and order fulfillment. Traditionally, merchants have been required to integrate with each shipping carrier individually, which is time consuming and costly. Because the carriers are siloed, it’s difficult to know which shipping carrier and route is best for each package. Postmaster eliminates these challenges by offering merchants a simple REST API, already integrated with UPS, USPS, FedEx, Canada Post and Lonestar Overnight. It keeps merchants compliant with the carriers’ label requirements, optimizes the route and cost for every package, and offers powerful tracking, reporting and auditing tools.

“It’s been an exciting few months for Postmaster. Since our initial public launch in March, we graduated from TechStars Cloud, have been busy building out our product and onboarding beta customers, and forged an exciting partnership with Lonestar Overnight,” said Jesse Lovelace, CEO and Co-Founder of Postmaster. “With this seed round, we can more quickly develop our product, grow our staff, and bring Postmaster to more ecommerce developers and merchants.”

“APIs are eating the Internet and shipping logistics is next,” said Joshua Baer of Capital Factory. “No programmer wants to integrate with multiple shipping vendors. Postmaster’s solution saves time in the short term and saves money in the long term. It’s a win-win proposition for any eCommerce site.”

Postmaster Raises $600K Seed Round