RISMedia's Real Estate Magazine

JAN 2018

Real Estate magazine is the industry's leading source for real estate news and information since 1980. Published monthly by RISMedia, Real Estate magazine offers timely and relevant real estate news to the industry's top brokers and agents.

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I n 2017, BackAgent provided more than 180,000 agents and brokers a cloud-based technology platform complete with a comprehensive intranet and one of the most robust transaction- management systems in the industry. But when the Houston, Texas-based company first had the idea for the solution back in 2005, the initial goal was to solve the inefficiencies at one specific brokerage. According to Eric Reed, the company's CEO, while the early stages of the system used today were developed nearly a decade ago, additional clients began signing up for the service in 2009. By 2010, 30 brands were on board. That number rose to 140 in 2012 and 320 in 2014. Today, BackAgent is deployed at more than 480 brands, increasing as much as 80 percent year-to-year. IN THE BEGINNING In 2005, while in between jobs, Reed found himself work- ing at his parents' brokerage. Willing to lend a helping hand, he didn't want to get involved in the real estate industry because he'd been around it his entire life. "I realized they were doing really well when it came to hiring agents, but they had no real process in terms of explaining what paperwork was needed for certain deals," says Reed. "In fact, they had a sheet of paper upon which people would come by and check off what- ever contract they were handing in." Reed began grilling his father about the process, and realized there had to be a better way. "I've always loved technology, and my family has al- ways been in real estate, an industry that's convention- ally slow to adopt new technologies—so the two never really fit together," says Reed. "Once I came in and found out why (negative perceptions about operational com- plexities, ease of use and price), I realized I could do what I love and develop a program from scratch, while making it priced appropriately for a mom-and-pop shop." His first step involved reaching out to Ryan Missman, an old friend. Having come up in the field with a software company tasked with doing the impossible—aka creating things others couldn't —Missman had previously worked with Reed when the two were employed at a telecommunica- tions company. The two reconnected in 2005 when Reed approached him about his idea. "He came to me and asked me to build this product to make things great for his parents' brokerage," says Missman, who not only had a good job, but also believed there was probably something already out there that could accomplish what Reed wanted. While Reed began working on his idea with another friend, Missman's interest was eventually piqued. "We couldn't find anything that could do what was needed—something cost-effective, efficient and sure- fire—and about a year later, Eric convinced me to come aboard," says Missman, who now serves as BackAgent's chief technology officer. Focusing on building a tool that could make all the little annoyances of a brokerage go away, Miss- man's goal wasn't just to create a product that could help Reed's parents, but rather, one that could be scaled for growth and resold to others. "It was the combination of Eric's strong understanding of real estate and my com- plete lack of real estate knowledge that The Genesis of BackAgent by Keith Loria 26 January 2018 RISMedia's REAL ESTATE

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