Valuation and appraisal, a branch of real estate that has remain relatively unchanged over the past several decades, is getting the millennial startup treatment.
Bowery Valuation, an upstart appraisal tech firm, announced its partnership with real estate giant Cushman & Wakefield last Fall. Now, C&W announced it has taken part in a $5 million funding round.
John Meadows and Noah Isaac launched Bowery Valuation in 2015.
“For us, seeing how hard appraisers worked and how intelligent they are in their craft and the gap between that and the way the reports are received on the lendings side,” said Meadows. “When you talk to banks and ask about their biggest headaches, it’s always appraising. The tools we have are just so antiquated and it leads to delays.”
Originally from the Bay Area, the duo grew up in the middle of a tech bubble, but came into the a space that hadn’t seen any real innovation in decades. They met working at one of the largest commercial real estate appraisal firms, Butler Burgher Group.
“We saw an opportunity to build dream software for ourselves and appraisers,” said Meadows.
They spent around two years building the software before they felt ready for any potential clients to look at it. The software is the first of its kind that eliminated the use of Microsoft Excel and exists solely in cloud software.
Meadows and Isaac first unveiled the software to the public at MetaProp’s Demo Day, where they gave a presentation to Cushman & Wakefield.
“The global COO immediately understood the potential that a partnership would bring,” said Isaac.
Jim Moran, chief strategy officer in valuation and advisory at Cushman & Wakefield, met the team behind Bowery Valuation a little over a year ago. After spending a little time with them and having a couple C&W appraisers sample the software, he saw the potential for a partnership.
“We met with them and really, really fell over their platform,” said Moran.
Bowery Valuation’s software has gone “beyond” what the advent of the internet and databases has done for the appraisal industry. It automates several of the processes that are part of appraising and valuation, and brings it to a user’s fingertips.
It can populate a report while a user is still on site, asks questions about the property as a user is doing a walkthrough, and seamlessly integrates zoning and other public information—like if a property has a tax abatement in place— into the program.
“No reformatting, nothing,” said Moran. “It’s a very, very aggressive time saver in terms of process.”
The software’s finishing touch is taking form-based entries and converting into a full narrative for the user. Moran said the “cutting edge” software will dramatically change the delivery process to clients.
“Valuation is all about fee and timing for clients,” he said. “One week as opposed to two to three weeks, it’s a real game-changer for Cushman & Wakefield.”
Bowery Valuation is itself a tech and appraisal firm, and its partnership with C&W marks its first partnership in the industry. They plan to grow their head count from 14 to 20 in the next several months, with a goal of entering into one new geographic market.
“We are both appraisers to the market,” said Meadows. “We can simply compete with each other or work together in partnership.”