Two former high Zillow Group leaders are getting again in the true property trade with new startup that goals to vary the way in which Individuals purchase properties.
Based just some months in the past, Tomo’s first product is a tech-fueled mortgage and transaction platform focused at each actual property brokers and shoppers. The corporate describes itself as a fintech startup. It’s staying quiet in regards to the precise enterprise mannequin, however it has large ambitions.
“Mortgage is a massive, distributed, important market,” mentioned Schwartz, the CEO. “And we’re going to lead it.”
The seed funding and pedigree of the investor group — Trulia co-founder Pete Flint; ex-Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff; and others are among the many backers — is a vote of confidence in each the thought and likewise the founding staff.
Schwartz spent 13 years at Zillow, holding titles together with vice chairman of gross sales, chief income officer, chief enterprise officer, and most lately president of Media & Market when he left in January.
Armstrong joined Zillow in 2013 and likewise held a number of management roles, together with director of product administration, head of company improvement, and vice chairman of the corporate’s practically $1 billion Premier Agent enterprise.
Schwartz left Zillow on good terms and deliberate to take a yr off from work, spending time with household and rediscovering the ski slopes. However then the pandemic hit.
He began eager about his subsequent transfer. Schwartz was happy with what he and his colleagues achieved at Zillow, however “there was unfinished business for me and my friends in making the real estate transaction fundamentally more comfortable,” he mentioned in an interview with GeekWire.
Schwartz’s household had additionally simply gone by the home-buying course of.
“Finding a house was awesome,” he mentioned. “But making an offer, buying it, moving into it, and then renovating it was pretty painful and demoralizing. I had a wonderful real estate agent. It was the core systems and the technology that left me feeling like I had no power and no transparency. I had no ability to actually impact the outcome.”
Tomo’s mission is to take the complexity in an actual property transaction and make it invisible to the homebuyer. The corporate is beginning with a digital mortgage product that focuses on knowledge, automation, and third get together API integrations. In some methods, Tomo needs to be the PayPal for the mortgage trade.
“We’re going to move from a document management approach to data management approach,” Schwartz mentioned.
He added: “People shouldn’t dread the transaction. They should dream about the home, and it’s our job to make them feel that way.”
Requested why he didn’t simply construct out actual property concepts below the Zillow umbrella, Schwartz mentioned he and his colleagues are pushed by a “different insight.”
“We think that there’s going to be an incredible set of value created by marrying automation with people-driven advocacy,” he mentioned. “And we think there’s some real innovation to drive by providing an e-commerce-like platform with real estate agents and loan officers and consumers directly, in a tightly-coupled solution.”
Zillow is investing closely in its home-buying platform Zillow Offers, which competes with others together with Opendoor. They differ in that Zillow Provides and Opendoor are extra targeted on the home-seller, whereas Tomo is making an attempt to assist the home-buyer.
Schwartz, a former director at Yahoo and vice chairman at CNN, mentioned he additionally simply dreamed of being a founder.
“I wanted to have that that iconic experience in my career,” he mentioned.
When Schwartz introduced his departure at Zillow, co-founder and CEO Wealthy Barton credited Schwartz with constructing Zillow’s authentic gross sales and income organizations.
“We had all this traffic, but we hadn’t figured out how to monetize it,” Barton mentioned on the time. “Greg led the creation of every iteration of our business model.”
The identify “Tomo” comes from the Japanese philosophy of “omotenashi,” which is all about offering final hospitality and anticipating the wants of a visitor.
“We’re going to anticipate customer needs in the real estate process,” Schwartz mentioned.
Tomo is co-headquartered in Seattle and Stamford, Conn., the place Schwartz is now primarily based. The corporate, which employs about 20 individuals, additionally has an workplace in Austin, Tex.
The seed spherical was led by Ribbit Capital, Zigg Capital, and NFX, a agency co-founded by Flint, who offered Trulia to Zillow for $2.5 billion in 2015. SVB Capital, Alex Sacerdote, Kurt Mobley & Eli Weinberg, and Ted Ackerley additionally invested.
“I have known this team for more than a decade and they will deliver on the movement my team and I drove when we founded Trulia, to delight customers with transformational digital experiences related to the real estate transaction,” Flint mentioned in a press release.
Rascoff, an investor in Tomo, recently helped launch a brand new actual property startup referred to as Pacaso. His co-founder is Austin Allison, one other former Zillow govt.