Venture capital is pouring into real estate, looking for the next big disruption:
Many real-estate-tech companies that got into the business early hoped to knock out brokers in both residential and commercial real estate, an ill-fated strategy. The brokerage business has been surprisingly resilient, panelists said.
That is partly because tech firms haven’t been able to replicate the hand-holding that buyers and renters need when deciding where to live or work. “The people who are thinking this is another one of those transactions with a middleman that needs to go away are foolish,” Mr. Svrluga said. “Love your agent.”
But that doesn’t mean the brokerage business isn’t going to change. Panelists predicted that technology and data tools will radically alter the way brokers deal with customers.
“The reason there’s a graveyard of technology companies in real estate is they try to disrupt just to disrupt,” said Robert Reffkin, chief executive of Compass, a technology-driven real-estate brokerage. “Just make it better.”