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DC’s RCKRBX is building a SaaS platform for real estate data

With staffers boasting backgrounds in political data, this startup aims to give insight into what renters and buyers want.

Michael Broder (left) and James Moore. (Courtesy photo)

For real-estate nerds, a new local startup seeks to offer more insight into the region’s buyers and renters — and what, exactly, they seek.

DC’s RCKRBX just launched its new SaaS platform for real estate data intelligence. Founded by Michael Broder and James Moore, the platform aims to bring more of the end-user voice to the acquisition and development stages of projects.

Broder and Moore previously ran a consulting business called Brightline, which eventually became “cannibalized” into RCKRBX. Many of the clients they worked with, Broder said, understood the value of data, particularly in real estate. In 2017, the pair decided to focus solely on real estate clients, noticing the growing demand for predictive analysis that they felt didn’t exist elsewhere. This pivot preceded the company’s official launch last year.

“At the end of the day, real estate assets are to be built for people. Might we not want to know what’s important to them and how that affects their decision-making?” Broder told Technical.ly. “It’s kind of an obvious concept, but something that the industry historically has never really adopted as a full-scale analysis.”

For many working in the industry, Broder and Moore said the only options to assess the market right now are satisfaction surveys and looking at the other buildings already out there. But since those projects were started years prior, Broder said it’s kind of like driving to a new destination in the rearview mirror.

What he finds fruitful is to better identify the preferences of those buying or renting the spaces being built. That way, builders and developers can understand preferences about unit sizes or setups, finished features, location attributes and cost — and how those play into buyers’ and renters’ decision-making. One example Broder noted is the change around remote work that has shifted what interested parties are looking for in both residential and office spaces, as more people work from home.

“You better understand who your end users are and what drives their decision-making, and what they’re looking for going forward,” Broder said.  “Otherwise the old adage of surprise endings are good for movies, not real estate development could become very true.”

RCKRBX’s modeling actually comes from the political world, where much of the team has a background. The platform, which is mainly built in Appian, pulls from forward-looking studies, Bureau of Labor Statistics information and spatial AI data. On the RCKRBX platform, users — say, someone building an apartment complex — can see information like how many bedrooms residents are looking for, what amenities they prioritize and how that impacts how much they’re willing to pay.

So far, the company is on its second round of fundraising and will look to open either a seed or a Series A later this year. Broder said it will also be expanding the team in customer success and building out in-house development, and it’s looking to expand its tech into states like Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. Plus, it’ll build an accelerator and micro-targeting tools in the platform.

“Once you understand the residential side and the office side, you’re able almost to create a three-dimensional chess board to understand: What does a mixed-use environment really need to be to capture the demand of those that will work there and the demand of those that want to live there?” Broder said.

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