- Localize just raised a $25 million Series C, led by Israel’s largest venture fund, Pitango Growth.
- The company has built a database of details about homes for a futuristic real-estate listing site.
- COO Omer Granot walked Insider through its pitch deck for agents and buyers.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Fifty-five percent of people who bought homes during the pandemic regretted it. Enter Localize, an Israeli startup that wants you to actually make informed real estate decisions.
Localize, which serves as a listing aggregator, data company, and broker-tech platform, announced a $25 million Series C fundraise earlier this month, led by Israeli venture giant Pitango Ventures with additional funding from Israeli bank Mizrahi-Tefahot. This round brings the total capital raised by the firm to over $70 million.
Localize’s home-search interface should look familiar – especially to those confined to cramped apartments who have turned to scrolling listing websites like Zillow as a form of entertainment.
House hunters – only in New York City, for now – can sort their property searches by all of the usual categories, such as price, location and size. But prospective buyers can also look for homes based on a raft of specialized data that Localize has compiled from disparate public sources, from the total amount of direct sunlight to the likelihood that a new skyscraper will get built next door to the condition of the building’s elevator.
Another big differentiator is how the company connects home seekers to agents. Instead of other listing sites, which funnel interested buyers directly to brokers, Localize’s software handles early-stage communications with prospective buyers to make sure that they’re looking at homes that they’d legitimately want to purchase. Only then does it feed them to an agent.
COO Omer Granot walked Insider through the pitch deck that the company used to lead its latest round.
The window on this slide is labeled as giving 10 hours of sunlight, just one piece of data that the company can provide prospective buyers.
Localize’s core pitch is that it can automate much of the home search process for buyers and agents by bringing new layers of data to listing websites.
The new data attracts buyers, and then the company is able to handle the early-stage leads and interest that can take up a large amount of a broker’s workload.
The company’s three chief executives are highlighted on this slide.
The buzzy company is at the center of a lawsuit filed by another founder, Amir Winstok, against CEO Asaf Rubin, claiming that Winstok was forced out.
“At this time we don’t have any comment about the case and prefer to respond to the claims in court,” the company wrote in a statement to Insider about the suit. “We are focused on our mission of revolutionizing homebuying and bringing more value to the real estate industry.”
Websites like Zillow aggregate listings, but it’s still time-consuming to weed through them.
Home-buying is an exceedingly manual process. Anyone who has sifted through dozens of real-estate listings can relate.
The company’s thesis is that real-estate data is not organized and hard to use.
Sure, a prospective buyer could search New York City’s 311 database for any neighbor complaints about an apartment they’re looking to buy, or could look up zoning rules to see what might end up being built nearby. But that requires a huge amount of work — and to truly understand how that could affect a property requires expertise.
Localize’s pitch to buyers is that it has already done the work for them.
Buyer’s remorse is all too common in real estate. The feeling has become even more ubiquitous during the pandemic run on the housing market.
Home-buying mistakes can’t be easily reversed. The information that might help buyers make the right decision about which home to purchase may already be out there, but they don’t know how to collect it.
Meanwhile, brokers who make money through commissions need to make calculated bets on which buyers will actually buy and the ones that are just wasting their time.
COO Omer Granot told Insider that the company’s early-stage filtering is especially important to Localize’s other main users: brokers. Real-estate agents make money off of successful sales. “They have to place their chips somewhere,” Granot said.
Traditionally, brokers need to make their own decisions about which leads are serious, as the vast majority of inquiries they receive are from people who won’t actually buy a home.
Localize found that brokers spend the majority of their time sorting through leads instead of on finding homes for those that are ready and able to buy.
If agents are able to outsource the work they spend fielding initial inquiries, they can focus on negotiating deals and pushing their late-stage buyers across the finish line.
The company’s solution has been to create a smarter listings platform with thousands of data points per home that also promises to give brokers much higher-quality leads.
The company’s revenue structure is based on selling homes, not just providing leads. Buyers can use the search service for free. Agents pay a small subscription fee to access the company’s tech, then a larger referral fee once they sell a home. Brokers only pay out when leads have actually turned into income.
The company’s mission statement has two parts, one for each of the company’s major constituencies.
Localize promises to inform buyers and serve agents.
The company’s most recent product creates a personalized early search funnel for home buyers.
Hunter matches buyers to agents once they’ve found suitable homes to buy.
Localize’s vast array of data on listings allows agents and buyers to sort properties with hyper-specific information, like hours of direct sunlight. It also lets them prioritize must-haves over things they would like to have, but don’t need.
The pandemic has rendered certain amenities essential that were previously just perks, Granot told Insider.
“People’s preferences changed to some extent,” Granot said. “People want space in their home to work from, and care about different features than they cared about before, like closeness to a park.”
The company’s data engine can also recommend homes based off of buyers’ specific wants and needs
It uses dozens of different inputs.
This slide shows a broker’s perspective of the app.
Agents can switch between letting Localize’s AI handle communications with the client and messaging the client themselves.
The final slide highlights the company’s achievements since being launched in Tel Aviv in 2012.
The list of high-profile brokerages that use Localize, from Compass to Brown Harris Stevens, is especially important in the competitive residential real estate tech world.
The company plans to roll out its search tool for other US cities beyond New York soon.
The final slide heralds Localize as the “future of real estate.”
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