Madison, NJ - Tom and Christine Wilkins, owners of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Wilkins & Associates, were invited guests to the 1st Realogy FWD Innovation Summit at their new headquarters on Park Avenue in Madison, New Jersey. The Innovation Summit, the first ever hosted by Realogy, a global leader in real estate franchising, was attended by 150 invited guests who included Brokers, real estate bloggers, nationally recognized real estate consultants and members of the Realogy Franchise Group. including Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, Coldwell Banker, Century 21, ERA, and Sotheby’s International Realty.
The FWD Innovation Summit featured 15 of the top software companies, most of them start-ups that had an interest in displaying their products to such an audience. It was an impressive field of 15 emerging companies that presented their innovative, new technology products and services at Realogy’s headquarters in Madison, New Jersey. Said Sherry Chris, CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, LLC, “We received over 900 applications when we reached out. The 15 companies you are seeing today are the result of our sifting through each of those applications. Today you will truly see the best of the best.” Chris chaired the committee that selected the final contestants. The winner of the Summit received a $25,000 check from Realogy.
The Innovation Summit was opened with remarks from Alex E. Perriello III, President and CEO of Realogy Franchise Group. In attendance also was Richard Smith, Chairman of Realogy Holding Corp. Perriello told the audience that what they were going to see was truly where the real estate market was nationally and for that fact, globally and that the products being offered were truly one of a kind. Each presenter had a set period of time to present their product to the audience. Then, a committee of 6 judges asked questions of the applicants as to how their product would interface with Agents and Brokers, where was the company in bringing their product to market, what was the cost to use the product and how did they feel their product would enhance the experience of buyers and sellers who obviously are the ones that make the market place.
Said Christine Wilkins, General Manager, “I was on the edge of my seat the entire day! My favorite was an interactive 3-D model that allows you to see a building, house or apartment in 3-D. It was absolutely amazing.” Wilkins also said, “I’m happy to say that my favorite won 1st Place.” Floored, who you can visit at www.floored.com was one of the most visited booths during the lunch break and after the summit concluded. Said Perriello, “Floored and its 3-D modeling capability truly stood out among today’s field of talented entrepreneurs.”
Founded by Dave Isenberg in 2012, Isenberg entered the corporate world and soon joined Bonobos’s as their first hire. Years later, he flew westward to build the next great retail data platform at TellApart. Isenberg has a BA from Harvard.
Runners-up were HomeZada, a company whose software helps homeowners organize and manage their home, and the other finalist was BuyerMLS, a real-time buyer marketplace for Agents.
All the other companies were well received by the audience and included MyCityWay, a local search and discovery platform that provides a live view into more than 100 cities; Updater, a product that simplifies moving by handling change of address and utility hook-up from a single website; HomeLight, who match consumers with Agents based on skill, location and experience to mention a few.
Said Thomas R. Wilkins, CEO, “I get it. Or rather let me say I want to get it. To stay atop of new programs as they are coming on board is simply mind boggling. I am so glad that 8 years ago when presented with the choice of either learning how to market online or retire, I took the challenge of embracing that real estate was moving its platform online and today proves that.”
The Wilkins organization prides itself on being one of the most adept real estate companies in the Pocono Mountains that utilizes the web for 95% of their buyers and sellers. Wilkins also said, “Surrounding myself with young people like my son Tommy Wilkins, and Samantha Bonnett, who works with us handling our online contact management systems is really how you get the knowledge and understanding of marketing online. Our sales are up 50% year-to-date for 2013, so I’m going to say that the online process is not only here to stay, but that it works.”
The FWD Innovation Summit was so well received by the audience, Realogy, at the end of the day, promised to have more of these type summits in the future. To learn more about Realogy Holdings Corp (NYSE:RLGY)—The business of Real Estate, they can be found online at www.realogy.com.
Left to Right: Thomas R. Wilkins CEO Better Homes and Gardens Wilkins & Assoc; Christine A. Wilkins Gen Mgr. Better Homes and Gardens Wilkins & Assocs and Alex Perriello, Pres & CEO Realogy Franchise Group