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REBNY rallies the when, not if people for tech challenge

Seeking the cutting edge in real estate technology, the Real Estate Board of New York gathered startups, industry leaders, and investors to its Tech and Innovation Expo last week.

Dozens of startups and their ideas to improve the industry filled the 14th floor of 655 Madison Avenue.

Companies were split into small rooms where they were able to pitch their products and offer short demos to the crowd.

The expo’s tech ranged from virtual 3-D apartment tours with VirtualAPT to TLCengine, a tool that offers a more transparent cost of living by calculating utility and commute expenses on top of the standard mortgage or rent payments.

“The most powerful aspect of the expo was the energy that filled the room,” REBNYTech Committee co-chair John Gilbert said. “The sharing of thoughts, ideas, and solutions between the real estate and the tech communities was palpable, constructive and exciting.”

Seven startups were the center of attention as the finalists of REBNY’s inaugural Hackathon Gauntlet Challenge that started in October.

As part of the hackathon, 17 teams were given three days to create a solution to a problem they identified within the real estate industry.

The 17 were whittled down to seven, who were given $2,500 each and four months of free office space to refine their idea for the grand finale during REBNY’s tech expo.

The seven finalists competed by pitching their ideas to a panel of judges in the property tech world. Avvir kicked off the presentations with their technology that scans a construction site to automatically compare and contrast to design drawings.

The other startup finalists included: Cherre, a platform that offers the most accurate residential real estate data through public and private records, Enertiv, an app that aims to digitize all buildings submeters, Get3DTours, which aggregates all the virtual tour offerings into one network, Magic Security, a preemptive cybersecurity platform that detects suspicious activity before most antiviruses can, and Prescriptive Data’s re•scue, an app that allows users to add photos, exact location, and identification when making 911 calls.

The winner, Prescriptive Data’s Augmented Estate, took home $15,000 as REBNY’s first hackathon challenge victor. The team included Evan Torkos, the team captain for Augmented Estate, Ricardo Cid, Adam Reid, Katie Peters, and Chris DeMoll.

“We were looking into how to create new value within the world of real estate,” Torkos said. “There was a lot of disconnected information, databases, servers, and such. It all exists there…but they’re not interconnected and it doesn’t give you the next level of information.”

Augmented Estate addresses that problem by creating a digital layer, similar to WiFi, that combines all the relevant building information into a “heads up display” that can be seen through augmented reality technology.

The layout can help building operators see all the necessary infrastructural information or it can offer a virtual tour complete with established data points for brokers showing off a new property.

“It’ll be as ubiquitous as Wifi…it’s something that’s going to happen,” Torkos said of the tech. “There’s a whole level of data that exists around you but the question is how do you make that as accessible as possible?”

With the winnings, Torkos said they’d be looking at how to incorporate Augmented Estate into different ecosystems and looking to push it as the main product offering of Prescriptive Data, the company that spawned Augmented Estate and re•scue.

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