Above from L to R: Grier Allen, Chief Strategy Officer, Inside Real Estate; Founder, BoomTown; Nick Macey, President, Inside Real Estate; Joe Skousen, CEO, Inside Real Estate. Photo by AJ Canaria
Joe Skousen is committed to keeping his focus through the windshield instead of in the rearview mirror. As a practical habit, looking ahead instead of behind makes plenty of sense. But from Skousen’s perspective atop the ever-evolving landscape of real estate tech, this commitment has a much more powerful meaning as he accelerates into new territory for the industry.
Inside Real Estate—the company Skousen founded and led for the past 16 years—has a wildly impressive five-year growth trajectory, but it hasn’t been from luck. The leadership at the company is top-notch, combining a true understanding of the industry’s pain points with the technology chops to solve them. They’ve grown to over 400,000 users (and multiplying fast) within an industry where agents are leaving brokerages to seek those that offer their flagship platform, kvCORE.
“We’ve seen a lot of growth,” says Skousen, CEO. “Inside Real Estate has been able to demonstrate that we’re very committed to strong technology innovation, and we’ve been doing that now for a number of years,” he says. “We’re not slowing down. If you can’t tell, we’re going to keep moving, and we’re going to keep moving fast.”
Inside Real Estate’s core—what Skousen calls the company’s DNA—is very simple, he says: helping top teams and agents win, every single day. And that requires more than just tech alone. It means tech that is married to service in a way that transcends the value of a simple tool and creates solutions that are hyper-focused on ROI and painstakingly designed to be seamless and differentiated for every type of real estate practitioner.
It was these values, the same organic foundation, that Inside Real Estate saw in BoomTown, another major player in real estate tech. This recognition culminated with Inside Real Estate acquiring BoomTown earlier this year, bringing together the tremendous power of both companies.
“When it came to BoomTown, our companies shared a common DNA that was focused on driving real results for every client, every day,” Skousen explains. “It made perfect sense. This was more or less an alignment of vision and strategy that led to this.”
Grier Allen, founder of BoomTown, whose dedication and understanding of the real estate tech world has also been proven time and again during his 17-year tenure in proptech, is joining Inside Real Estate as chief strategy officer. He affirms that the values and vision his company shares with Inside Real Estate are what makes the merger such a natural partnership—and a huge win for the industry at large.
“Our philosophy has always been to make real estate agents successful. It’s refreshing to see that Inside Real Estate already shares that same DNA,” Allen says. “Joining forces with Inside Real Estate enables us to continue on our combined mission to serve the real estate industry with world-class technology and services. With a clear vision for the future, we look forward to accelerating the pace of innovation to fuel our clients’ growth and success. People will love what they get with the best of both.”
This gargantuan move, with Inside Real Estate and BoomTown serving nearly half a million customers combined, required a shared focus and commitment at the most fundamental levels. Another principle Allen and Skousen both espouse—one that manifests at the most basic level of what technology is supposed to mean to a real estate business—is the idea of partnership. Your problems are our problems, they both say, and your wins are our wins.
“The alignment behind that vision—of making the real estate agent successful—is going to drive the future for us, and ultimately, that all goes back to serving our customers,” Allen says.
Part of that vision of success is the belief that the broker/team/top agent relationship needs to be stronger in the future than it has been in the past. Brokers cannot be successful without providing the most modern and robust value for their top teams and agents, and top teams and agents cannot be successful without streamlined technology solutions that allow their brokerages to grow and thrive.
And again, on the most practical level, top teams and agents require high-touch service and support that allow them to get the highest ROI from their solutions, according to Skousen.
“One of the things that stood out to us all along learning about BoomTown is the fact that we are both committed to this very high ROI set of solutions—both innovative technology as well as service,” Skousen says.
Both Inside Real Estate and BoomTown have committed to empowering differentiation. More than ever before, both companies are investing in technology, services and solutions that allow brokerages, teams and agents to build highly differentiated and highly productive businesses on top of the very best tech stack.
Nick Macey, president of Inside Real Estate, knows more than just about anyone how diverse and complex the tech needs of real estate practitioners can be. Last year, he helped lead the creation of 300 enhancements to the company’s flagship kvCORE product and spearheaded the creation of CORE Home, a comprehensive homeownership platform that promises to see major growth through the partnership with BoomTown.
In fact, the marriage of Inside Real Estate and BoomTown creates an industry-leading provider of residential real estate software and services, across product and customer segments.
“We have more resources than ever to bring new innovation to market,” Macey says. “As we think about what those offerings look like, we are confident that we will be the best technology partner in the industry—from end-to-end, and top-to-bottom.”
The 4 pillars
Macey understands that today, anyone practicing real estate requires increasingly more powerful tools and stronger support from their tech partner to stay competitive.
“Brokerages and teams are feeling more pressure than ever to be efficient and profitable, do that consistently, and deliver that value to their agents,” Macey points out. “This combination of technologies will help top-performing franchises, brokerages, teams and agents manage their business more effectively by providing an unparalleled technology, services and partner ecosystem.”
Macey describes four key principles that are guiding the creation of what he, Allen and Skousen see as delivering the utmost customer value and market differentiation, and what he calls a “huge win for all of our combined company user base.”
Firstly, the partnership promises the No. 1 front-office experience for every user. The combined technology will deliver an enhanced and elevated front-office experience that supports every type of user, from single agents, to top-performing teams and mega teams, to top brokerages and enterprise brands in growing their business.
“All of our users are going to see new improvements, new solutions, new interfaces that are going to come to light, and I think that’s going to be really exciting for folks,” Skousen says. “We’re bringing more resources than ever before not only to innovation, but to simplicity within the innovation—simple, streamlined, intuitive user experiences.”
The second pillar is the first complete and modern back-office suite. Together, the company’s combined portfolio of back-office solutions, including CORE Back Office, Brokermint and Inside Real Estate’s recently acquired AmpStats, will provide the foundation for the industry’s most innovative, modern and complete back-office solution.
Allen is particularly excited about the opportunities around this often-overlooked aspect of real estate technology, emphasizing the push to further enhance powerful tools for accounting, commission management, transaction management, recruitment and retention or intranet communication—and at the same time, to create a painless (or even pleasant) experience for users.
“We want this to, number one, be able to play well within the real estate ecosystem with other tools and technologies that help teams and brokers streamline their operations in the back-office,” Allen says. “But also, it will provide an interface where people are not scared to use the software—where it is actually inviting.”
The third pillar is a marketplace and tech partner ecosystem. Inside Real Estate’s Marketplace of leading add-on services and solutions, including the Property Boost listing promotion and lead generation tool, will continue to expand, and be paired with a new Preferred Partner program, unlocking additional value and differentiation for customers through a vetted network of premium, tightly integrated partner solutions.
“If I’m honest about real estate, one of the things about the industry is that you have a lot of different vendors and tech companies kind of loosely integrating,” notes Skousen. “There’s a few more seamless ones, but we feel like it’s time to see a real ecosystem of integrated—tightly integrated—marketplace partners. We’re excited to present a more streamlined program on that front.”
The fourth and final pillar is made up of industry-leading homeownership solutions. Inside Real Estate will continue to invest heavily in the first integrated lifetime homeownership platform, CORE Home. The technology, paired with smart affiliated services solutions, and uniquely branded for Inside Real Estate’s brokerage customers, will place brokers and agents at the heart of the consumer relationship.
Macey calls this platform nothing less than the future of real estate, with a foundation that can differentiate it from similar efforts by big companies like Zillow.
“If my agent is reaching out through the homeownership lifecycle with value, they’re going to be top of mind for me as a consumer,” he says. “The context of the current house has a ton of influence on what a consumer can do—what can they sell it for, what does that mean in terms of payments, what’s the mortgage and how does that apply thinking about the next home. All those dynamics that exist in the homeownership experience are so much better if there is a relationship with the agent. Our homeownership platform helps agents do that at scale, and over a lifetime.”
Supported by these four pillars, the new partnership is promising to accelerate the pace of innovation and solidify the foundation of real estate’s most vital tech solutions, with Allen saying he is personally excited to see just how much the two companies will complement each other.
“Each of these businesses bring something to the table that accelerates the path toward realizing the vision of these four pillars,” he continues. “It puts us into a category of one. And again, that alignment behind the vision of making the real estate agent successful is going to drive the future for us as a combined business.”
A clear future
“Only good things from here,” Skousen promises, with an eye on both the immediate next steps and opportunities years down the line. “Current and new users can expect continued innovation, more options, more powerful tools. There will be no disruption in your business, and our commitment to making real estate agents successful is stronger than ever.”
Because of how aligned BoomTown and Inside Real Estate already are, Skousen, Macey and Allen emphasize just how easily the companies fit together, from the more technical aspects of their products to the culture of their employees.
“This really is a seamless fit,” Skousen continues. “The areas where we both excel really complement one another. The innovation and industry experience that both Inside Real Estate and BoomTown bring to the table skyrockets our ability as a whole to empower a broad spectrum—from single agents to enterprise-level or expansion teams.”
So far, the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive, with Allen describing customers who are reaching out with “overwhelming excitement” to learn about specific new opportunities they will have through the partnership.
“The more we share with them, the more people are getting excited,” he laughs.
Skousen adds that most everyone immediately understood what he, Allen and Macey saw from the very start: that the partnership made all the sense in the world.
“Everyone just gets it,” he explains. “I think the industry has been wanting this for a long time. They’re excited to see us come together, and they know this ultimately benefits them. They will be big winners in our combined technology. It will create more efficiency, more economies of scale, more adoption, stronger retention and more profit channels for brokerages and teams of all sizes.”
While the news surprised some and elicited a lot of speculation as the industry digested the meaning, impact and effects of a merger between these two powerhouse companies, the most frequent question asked by customers has a very easy answer, according to Skousen.
“Their biggest question was, ‘Are you going to slow down at all?’ And we said, ‘Absolutely not.’ We’re not going to slow down, and we’re not going to stop fighting for their wins every single day,” concludes Skousen.