Posts by Author Alexis Ohanian

Why Initialized Capital Invested in Open Listings

Buying a home has gotten easier, faster & more attainable with software

Homebuyers don’t want an agent. They want a home. Here I am in my home, thanks to Open Listings.

In 2015, I needed help buying a home in San Francisco and turned to the founders of Open Listings. It was quick and painless. I knew what I wanted, and they were able to get me that home on my terms.

A few months ago, we caught up with them again in LA to talk about their business, and it became quickly obvious that they had made a lot of progress. What these founders have done since graduating Y Combinator in the Winter of 2015 is remarkable. They’ve built a product that delights customers — they closed over 64 homes last month alone — and saved buyers millions. (Open Listings splits 50% of the commission with homebuyer, which is $8,000 on average).

It’s a win-win situation for their buying agents as well. The key? Efficiency.

Traditional agents normally spend 80% of their time looking for new clients or driving potential buyers around. Since buyers come to Open Listings directly and browse homes on their own time, agents only have to focus on getting offers accepted. This allows them to pass the savings along.

With housing prices steadily increasing, this commission refund is real money for the young families, first-time homeowners & immigrants that turn to Open Listings. As house hunting becomes more digital, software efficiency should save buyers time and help make home buying more affordable. We continue to be excited by founders who show relentless discipline and commitment to making something people love. They’ve done the hardest part, and now it’s time to focus on growth. The Initialized team is thrilled to roll up our sleeves and dive in.

It certainly doesn’t hurt when one of us is already a very happy customer.

Go ahead, start househunting!

Why Initialized Capital Invested in AdQuick

We love the idea that file-cabinet industries are doomed. People are used to world-class software for taking photos of their kale salads at lunch, but come back to the office to do their jobs using terrible or no software. That’s an opportunity. You can see the theme in our seed investments investments like FlexportOpenDoor, and Bellhops. Today we’re announcing that we led the seed round in AdQuick.

Buying out-of-home advertising is no exception: information asymmetry, multiple phone calls, and dozens upon dozens of emails and attachments. And it’s a $40 billion global business that’s not going away if you believe we will keep leaving our homes. It’s also the only growing traditional ad medium.

Wasted time, human error, and unnecessary costs can be curbed with software and Adquick was the first of these companies promising that future who actually delivered a quality software product in the present. I’m no stranger to buying billboards, so the concept resonated with me immediately, but it wasn’t until Garry and I sat down with the founders (former Instacart [Fund I] employees) that we saw how diligent they’d been with little to no funding.

We’ve seen pitches for this business for almost a decade, but this was easily the most impressive technical execution and at a remarkably early stage.

Starting a company in the internet age means you don’t need to open a factory, you only need to open a laptop, but far too few founders have as much to show for it as Matt, Fahim, and Connor did. A modern, searchable map interface combined with unique tracking data to help marketers show elusive ROI on out-of-home ads made this a really formidable pitch despite only being a 5 month old business.

It helped that I’ve ordered some outdoor advertisements, but the reference checks ranged from incumbents like H&R Block to upstarts like OVO all came back effusive. If a range of customers, who learned about you organically, love your b2b product that much and you’ve only just begun — we’re interested.