DC Real Estate Putting Stamp On DC Tech

Last night Tech Cocktail held one of their now nationallytech_cocktail_logo_large known Mixer & Startup Showcase events at the recently opened space of hot new DC incubator 1776, and with an intriguing lineup of startup showcases at that. With a great turnout of attendees ranging from entrepreneurs, to developers, to venture capitalists and angel investors, all the way down to those who are just tech enthusiasts (like me). With such a crowd as this, just as intriguing as the showcase companies are the endeavors that many of the attendees are undertaking.

As with any DC Tech related event, last night served as a great reminder of how much potential and talent the DC area is bringing to the table in the technology sector. To my mind, the leading factor in that potential is the pragmatism. The ability of former industry insiders to see holes within government, health care, education, etc, and to come out and develop solutions to plug those gaps and fix those problems. Check in’s and Klout scores can be fun distractions, but at the end of the day, creating solutions for people and industries is where the real impact lies. Utility rather than entertainment.

So, who were these companies on display last night? Well, real estate based start ups aside for now, here are a couple of my top picks…

  • BestBequest.com: Remotely storing your digital legacy and giving you control over delivery of your precious photos and videos to your loved ones. Sure you can store them on DropBox, but BestBequest gives you more specific control and coordination for those extra special memories.
  • Zigron HealthcareA great example of a company that is not reaching out to consumers, but to an industry, which in this case is Healthcare. Admittedly  I don’t know if the industry finds their data visualizations valuable or not, but that is sort of the point. I am not an insider, so I wouldn’t know, but assuming this plugs a significant enough gap somewhere, watch out!
  • ZoobeanAs a parent of young children I love where Zoobean is going with their model of curating children’s products. Specifically books for now, I believe Zoobean plans to move on to other product categories as well. Though one could argue that curating, and tagging children’s books by content and subject, etc may be enough. Have you seen the children’s section of the library these days?

There were several more great companies on showcase, but what of the DC Real Estate industry mentioned in the title? One company was on showcase, the other I met among the attendees:

  • FiveStreetA contact management tool for real estate agents that enables them to grab their online “leads” and filter them into their existing CRM, pulling those online leads into their field of vision in a way. At first I was prepared to overlook FiveStreet because, as a real estate agent who receives cold call “lead offers” daily, I know that real estate leads is a crowded space. However, that is not FiveStreet’s domain. FiveStreet is trying to help agents get a handle on the leads the can come from dozens of different websites that publish their listings. This is good for agents, and is ultimately good for consumers as well.
  • FundriseThough I had heard of Fundrise several months ago, I had the chance to meet a couple of the guys behind the company last night. Basically Fundrise is providing a platform to crowdsource comercial real estate investment. For as little as $100 anyone who is interested and have a financial stake property in their neighborhood. This is not a drop it it, take it out a few months later sort of investment, but I love that a neighborhood can embrace its own development in a new way.

As an observer in the DC Tech community for a while now I have felt that real estate, with all our potential to do things better, was underserved in this community. I delighted to see that we are now making a showing, and not only that, but one that is viable and one that is progressive and potentially game changing industry wide.



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