A global real estate video-sharing platform is revolutionising the way people search for a housemate.
How many times have you attended a sharehouse inspection and either been bitterly disappointed by the space on offer or equally as disgruntled by the home’s occupants?
Perhaps the advertised room resembled palatial digs but all you found was something about as big as a broom closet.
Entrepreneur Steve Makris has founded a peer-to-peer video sharing app – Real Estate Tube – that makes it simple for those seeking a flatmate or sharehouse to connect and scope out their surroundings and their potential housemates in a genuine way.
The idea for Real Estate Tube was spawned in 2013 when Makris was working with Chinese overseas investors looking to buy property in Australia.
“Language barriers were challenging, so instead of trying to find translators to describe the property, I used my phone to take photos and send videos,” he told PPW.
It was the convenience and immediacy of this action that lead Makris to his “Eureka” moment and ultimately, the establishment of his business.
Makris describes Real Estate Tube as the “eBay of real estate”. Although the intention is to build up the business as a global real estate vertical, the predominant focus initially is on video-sharing within the flatmate search economy.
“The reason we’ve begun with this market is to target young millennials – the early adopters of technology. If we can get them to use it, they can socially proof our platform and get our name out there,” he says. “Then we’ll start adding other categories like ‘houses for sale’,’ businesses for sale’, et cetera.”
The app has similarities comparable to Tinder. If both a renter and a leaseholder match with one another they can start a dialogue, which may lead to a house inspection.
But this is where the similarities stop.
Makris says the video component of Real Estate Tube enables searchers to look beyond the mere aesthetics of a house toward something much deeper.
“One of the other things that our platform does is it puts the look of the property aside,” Makris notes.
“What we’re trying to do is not only show the property, but also bring people together and say: ‘I was looking in Fitzroy and wouldn’t have thought about living in Northcote, but these people are so lovely that I don’t care if it means I have to catch a train instead of a tram or whatever.'”
Real Estate Tube currently has 16,000 video listings and registrations for the app are growing.
The company has already closed a seed funding round of $1 million and is now preparing to raise a further $2.5 million of Series A funding.
Recently both Makris and Real Estate Tube’s media and marketing director, Camille Bianchi, were in Miami attending the Global Online Classifieds Summit – an event which brings together the property, automotive, jobs and online dating industries. Spontaneously, Bianchi found herself on stage pitching Real Estate Tube to an audience of 300 people alongside a panel of investors.
Businesses involved in the Pitch Club had 5 minutes to explain their business idea, how much money they were looking to raise and the problem they were attempting to solve.
Bianchi says the process was valuable in teaching her to think about the business from an outsider’s perspective.
“It was very helpful for me personally, just to remind myself of what the really big questions are for investors and for the business community,” she says. “As a journo and someone who is working inside the app, I know what I think is cool, but the value proposition is a different story.”
But Makris says the longevity of Real Estate Tube hinges on something more important than money. It’s about finding the right investors to drive it forward.
“It’s not just about the dollars for us – the money is important but it’s about finding a strategic partner; ideally someone who has been down a similar path before, has exited, and is looking for something, to sink their teeth into.”