Reesio CEO Mark Thomas Is Reinventing Real Estate Transactions & Tech Deals

Reesio_CEO_Mark_ThomasThe real estate industry kills more trees than perhaps any other, and not just to build homes either. It’s the endless paper piles required for residential transactions. Each deal can generate thousands of pages as buyers, sellers, lenders, and title officers pass contracts and disclosures back and forth.

The good news—for the trees and for a computer-challenged industry—is that technologist Mark Thomas is changing all that.

Thomas is the CEO and co-founder of Reesio, a company that enables realtors to manage entire transactions on screen so their buyers, sellers, escrow/title officers, inspectors, and lenders can all work through a deal online and still meet everyone’s compliance needs.

Reesio started early 2012 as a For-Sale-By-Owner document management service, but relaunched their product for realtors last November.

Real estate is a high-touch industry, but the truth is: there are critical beginning, middle and end stages of each transaction where heavier client advice and handholding are required by realtors, lenders and title officers. The rest is a paper chase.

Enter Reesio: it’s used by realtors to control all the paper when working with sellers or buyers.

Anytime a realtor/client relationship goes from talking to reviewing or signing documents, the Reesio process begins. The realtor invites the client and other parties to review and digitally sign docs. Everyone can see who’s signed what docs and when, and the realtor can manage workflow and assign tasks for all parties.

“Reesio is like Dropbox (file storage) plus Docusign (digital signatures) plus Base Camp (project management/task assignments),” said Thomas.

For example, when a realtor takes a new listing, they invite the seller to sign the listing agreement in Reesio. Then they open escrow and invite the escrow officer to post all relevant docs in the system.

Next the listing agent posts all property disclosures for buyers’ agents to review and download.

Once the property is in contract, listing and buyers agents use the system to manage docs and processes for inspectors, appraisers, and lenders.

I asked if listing agents can accept, review and organize multiple offers from buyers. His answer:

“We’re almost done building that capability. The seller would instruct buyers agents to submit offer docs plus use a simple form to include key info like offer price, cash or no cash offer, down payment, escrow and contingency periods, seller credits, and pre-approved lender name. Then Reesio will allow listing agent to analyze and prioritize offers (e.g., sort by those key metrics), then make and manage counter offers.”

Pretty exciting—and quite technical—from a technology standpoint. And there’s more.

Thomas said this offer management capability launches after another big upgrade in May: a broker platform that allows managers of real estate firms to manage all of their company’s transactions, set up workflows to audit and review files with agents, and put everyone on one system.

The technical development is led by two senior engineers, one of which is Thomas’ co-founder Jonathan Mui, and the company has been privately funded until this month.

Reesio is closing a seed funding round this summer, and earlier this month they were accepted by the 500 Startups accelerator, a startup incubation program run by big-name investors including Trulia co-founder Sami Inkinen.

Reesio was selected for this honor (and funding) from a pool of 500 other applicants.

RealTechThomas chalks this big win up to the quality of the product, saying: “We have a couple competitors like Dotloop and Cartavi, but nothing with Reesio’s ease of use and simplicity.”

But it also has a lot to do with the fact that Thomas himself is a growing tech luminary.

His company created and sponsors RealTech, a real estate technology conference that brings together about 400 real estate and technology pros in San Francisco.

“RealTech is different from the major conferences like Inman Connect because the intent is to be much more intimate,” said Thomas. “Real estate pros can get face-to-face, hands-on exposure to the techies currently building tools that solve their biggest problems. And investors can get a look under the hood of the hottest new real estate technology firms.”

In this way, RealTech reminds me a lot of Lindzonpalooza, an influential-but-under-radar conference hosted by Stocktwits and SocialLeverage founder Howard Lindzon. Interestingly, my favorite startup at Lindzonpalooza (the latest of which was last weekend) was Videolicious, a video service tailor made for realtors. I got extended face time with founder Matt Singer about Videolicious as a product and as an investment, plus I’ve since been able to connect him with my real estate partners who need his services.

That’s the gist of RealTech in San Francisco on April 30: intimacy and dealmaking.

The speaker and software demo lineup this year includes about 25 companies—from biggies like Zillow, Trulia, and to startups like these three trying to make real estate technology more local:

Homelight: Extremely localized realtor search that allows homebuyers to find a realtor based on that realtor’s specific selling track record in a certain neighborhood.

Zumper: Extremely localized, map-based apartment rental searching using verified databases of listings.

RentMethod: Automating what property managers do with a stunning web interface and analytics, and also offer software to property managers.

The industry is lucky to have a guy like Thomas rising up. He’s disrupting the old ways in a manner that still respects the required ways. And he just might save a few trees along the way.
Reesio website and Twitter: @reesiorocks

Reesio CEO Mark Thomas Twitter: @entrepreneursf

Register for RealTech 2013 Conference on 4/30 at Fairmont, SF