Chicago has the largest concentration of real estate technology ventures anywhere. A huge portion of this sector, everything from consumer sites to infrastructure providers, is run out of this region.
1. Homescape powers the online real estate section for 170+ newspapers. Their acquisition of California-based Homegain puts them in them in the top 3 real estate lead generation sites vs. IAC / RealEstate.com (Charlotte, NC) and Housevalues (Seattle, WA). As a consumer site, they compete with Move.com (Westlake Village, CA).
2. Apartments.com plays a similar 170+ newspaper role in apartment rental listings. It competes with eBay's Rent.com (Santa Monica, CA) and Craigslist.
3. iNest is the #1 site for New Construction and New Homes lead generation and consumer rebates. It is now part of IAC and competes with Move.com (Westlake Village, CA)
4. BuySide Realty offers similar cash back rebates to buyers of existing homes. Less than a year old, it has garnered tons of good press and momentum. It competes with Redfin (Seattle, WA) and ZipRealty (Emeryville, CA)
5. Katabat Corporation and Forefront Media power web sites for many of the largeest real estate brokers in the country and also provides #1 broker lead management product. It is now part of Trader Publishing/Dominion.
6. Birdview (profile coming soon) provides a similar suite of services as Katabat to medium-size brokers and is the #1 provider to Century 21 franchisees.
7. VHT is the #1 home photo and video tour provider with an image management platform that distributes pictures to most of the consumer sites as well as emerging cable home channels. They compete with smaller regional providers.
8. Home Preview Channel (profile coming soon) creates 24/7 cable channels with real estate listings programming and competes indirectly with Video Home Tours.
9. ShowingTime is the #1 provider of real estate appointment scheduling software. Competes with CSS Corporation (Kansas City, KS).
10. Socrates Media (profile coming soon) is the #1 provider of online/offline legal forms and advice for landlords and tenants. Competitors include NOLO (Berkley, CA) and Wiley Publishing (Hoboken, NJ)
11. Moving Station (profile coming soon) provides outsourced corporate relocation infrastructure. They purchased and sold (via Orion Mobility) the Hessel Group, the #1 corporate relocation software.
12. Guaranteed Rate (profile coming soon) is one of the leading online mortgage brokers. They compete with IAC / LendingTree (Charlotte, NC) and eLoan (Pleasanton, CA)
13. DataBasedAds is one of the leading providers real estate ad management systems for newspaper advertising.
OTHER NOTABLE FACTS: LeadingRE is a relocation network based here that provides relocation management software (RELO X) to over 800 non-franchise real estate companies, representing 923,000 home transaction valued at over $261 billion. Chicago Title and Trust (as part of parent FNF and FNIS) is the largest provider of title and closing technology products. Local real estate firm Baird & Warner has consistently been highlighted as the most innovative U.S. real estate firms, pioneering technology solutions ahead of the rest of the industry. They were also early customers and champions of Katabat, VHT and ShowingTime. NAVTEQ provides data for just about every map (Google, Yahoo, etc) you'll ever see on a real estate site. Google's Chicago office is home to the team directly responsible for building their real estate and local classified business.
Many of the listed companies were primarily funded and advised by local VCs and angels: Bob Geras (VHT, ShowingTime, Katabat), OCA Ventures (Home Preview Channel), Origin Ventures (iNest, VHT), Dodi Ventures (iNest, ShowingTime), Tribune Ventures (Homescape, Apartments.com), Open Prarie Ventures (iNest), Socrates Media (Minotaur Capital), MovingStation (Walton Street Capital)