In 2015 we met John and Noah. They were working hard to generate commercial real estate comps in New York. The process was painfully slow as the data needed was disparate and messy. The final comp often contained a lot of information, and often took days or weeks to generate. In a competitive market like real estate, the businesses that learn to automate often rise quickly above their competition. John and Noah realized this and partnered with Unicorn to solve the problem.
We began by automating the process of gathering data from various sources. In some cases, we could pull through an API, and others we had to scrape dirty data. We designed the software to collect this data and import into our own database. Afterwords we would scrub the data to ensure consistency and formatting. The user was then able to manage this data from a tailored Content Management System and generate the final comp.
Real estate is one many industries that still carries the adage: "If it isn't broke, don't fix it." This way of thinking marginalizes the smaller commercial properties. In a city like New York, where there are many high dollar deals in commercial real-estate, properties such as apartment complexes are often shorted the same treatment and competitive advantages.
Compounding this problem are the lack of standards for subscribing to or publishing property information. The industry as a whole is broken up into multiple IDX solutions, each serving only a fraction of geographical region. Very few of these data providers employ modern technology to access this data. As if that wasn't already a challenge, consider the fact that many buildings in New York have a robust and history, age and complexity to them that are major factors for buyers and sellers.
This is why our software is so important: it curates data from a myriad of sources to cross check for accuracy and then stores that data with more conventional methods.
When we were introduced to Bowery, we already understood the problem. We have built dozens of real estate solutions and each one has the same barrier to entry: archaic technology. We were able to quickly and accurately scope the project and guide Bowery on a prosperous path. We can't take all the credit, though. The Bowery team was incredibly smart and determined. They adhered to the plan that we collaborated on and executed with laser precision and focus.
The concept is simple: servicing many smaller leads can be just as rewarding as processing a few larger ones. The execution is just as simple too. We're not the first, nor the last, to build a product around the idea of collecting and cleaning data to have a higher churn rate. The keystone to success was proper planning and execution of a simple strategy.
We love making technology, but the reward for us is the success of a business, not a tool. We worked with Bowery for months to better understand their specific problems and talk about our own experiences in real estate. Swapping stories helped us better establish what a proper solution would look like and put that idea to paper before ever writing a line of code. This discovery phase is one of the ways Unicorn is unique in our industry. Our commitment to building a solution involved not just developing software, but developing a plan for a sustainable business and even committing one of our own co-founders to help it grow.
There may be a future where AI is able to handle all of the work involved with generating real estate comps, but for now it's still a job for humans.
While machine learning and true artificial intelligence is incredibly expensive to develop, Content Management Systems are not. Since we already had the ability to gather and scrub data, it made sense to create a custom tool that allowed users to manage and manipulate this data. Our dashboard allows users to tweak all of this data and generate reports, which in turn helps us further identify inefficiencies that we can build additional solutions for.
We are very proud of what we helped build and are very excited to see what Bowery achieves over the next few years. Fundraising is a very difficult task, as the due diligence process analyzes every angle of a business. Bowery has the key ingredients for a sustainable and profitable company: