On June 18, ERA Real Estate’s parent company, Realogy, hosted the FWD Innovation Summit in our new Madison, N.J., headquarters.  The goal of the event was to identify emerging technology companies with the potential to positively impact the real estate industry. The winner would go home with $25,000 to further develop their product. 

As the director of interactive marketing for ERA and self-proclaimed “tech-geek,” I was excited to serve on the organizing and vetting committees. Even better, I was one of five judges tasked with selecting the winner.

After a call for submissions, 97 companies applied to participate, and a panel of Realogy employees whittled the list down to 15 finalists.

The format of the event was simple but extremely effective and efficient:

–          Each company had five minutes to present a live demo (no PowerPoint allowed!)

–          Presentations were followed by five minutes of questions (well, more like grilling!) from the judges.

–          During the lunch break, each company had a table set up so they could interact with the audience.

–          After the presentations, the judges deliberated and chose three finalists.

–          The audience then chose the winner from the three finalists.

And the winners are . . .

Floored.com (Winner), HomeZada.com (Runner-Up) and BuyerMLS.com (2nd Runner-Up).

Here are some of my favorite new technologies from the event.

Floored, which provides interactive 3D representations of houses, apartments, and buildings, was by far the most exciting and compelling product at the event. Besides the super-cool factor of being able to see a home stripped down to the studs, the opportunities go beyond really cool 3D listing imagery.  The ability to stage a property, imagine new layouts and designs for rooms is limitless.  Real estate professionals are always guiding buyers to use their imagination when walking through a property. Floored does the work for them!

Homezada was a close second. This tool corralles home maintenance checklists, home inventory, and remodeling projects into a white-labeled program that keeps agents connected to their clients over the long-term. HomeZada offers agents a powerful way to maintain a relationship with their clients by positioning themselves as a trusted expert committed to ensuring their client’s single largest investment is nourished. 

Buyer MLS is a real time buyer marketplace for agents that is the Match.com for housing. If innovation is applying old ideas in a new way, this fits the bill!

Updater simplifies the moving process by handling change of address and utilities hook- up from a single website.  Why didn’t we think of this before?

MyCityWay is a local search and discovery platform that provides a live view into more than 100 cities by mashing up listing inventory with social functionality and neighborhood information.

Relocality is a neighborhood discovery tool that matches people to places by mining social media data.

RealogyFWD was truly a great day. With the fast pace and high energy, we set a new standard for technology events.  I got my geek on and learned about some cutting edge, out of the box solutions.  Even better, I got to rub shoulders with highly creative, innovative and driven people who will undoubtedly change the future through their pioneering efforts.  How?  Stay tuned!

Please feel free to share these newly found geniuses with your friends and family – there’s a tech geek in every group!