005 – Fraser Patterson of Bolster – Constructing a Full Stack Experience


Transforming home remodeling into a safe and hassle-free process…

BolsterFraser Patterson, Founder/CEO of Bolster (a soup to nuts renovation platform built atop a powerful new process. offering the best architect and general contractor for your home renovation project and together use a suite of budget & project management tools) joins hosts Thomas Kutzman and Scott Pollack in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser. Presented by Prevu.

Traditional vs. marketplace, from online selection to a detailed call, and catering to flexible needs

BolsterPatterson reviews marketplace vs. traditional approaches. Traditional involved finding a contractor – a marketplace model can do a disservice to homeowner, not trying to solve the problem downstream but instead solving a matchmaking need; with the model aggregating demand and selling leads to professionals, creating a competitive environment bad for service people and with the homeowner getting less info. How Bolster is different, overcoming the usual Illusion of choice in marketplace. Consumers get direct matches, better than just a marketplace. How Bolster knows what a homeowner wants from an architect or contractor, allowing the homeowner to identify online and auto select in a qualification process, discovering things they need to know about their project, then jumping on a detailed call with specialist. How Bolster offers a wide range of opportunities and types of jobs and contractors. The opportunity to cater to several types of needs: flexibility of scope of work and budget, with others on a fixed budget but flexible on scope, and then those with strict scope of work but a more flexible budget. And, how it all comes down to educating the consumer.

Cost overruns, reality shows, and saving real money

Examining the average cost overrun of 60% in NYC, which is usually not planned for. How one can probe in advance, slowing down before construction begins, getting the right info. How, if done properly, constructions can be very plug and play, and how with Bolster across projects they boast a mere 0.1 % cost overrun, which Bolster absorbs. How most consumers can’t enjoy results emulating construction-themed TV reality shows, and how Bolster can save the average homeowner $59k/project as well as time.

Yorkie Bars, a price guarantee, and scaling nationally

A special snack offering of Yorkie Bars, how Patterson started as a carpenter, and has a mathematics degree. Direct/indirect costs of builds, and a detailed review of all of the elements of the construction process and budget. The importance and desire for transparency and Bolster’s cost guarantee, thanks to their insurance partners. How Bolster offers what can be seen as a full-stack experience, and the offer of a best price guarantee. The plan for scaling nationwide, news of recent major acquisition, and following a calling to solve this problem by building this business.

004 – Harley Courts of Nooklyn – Beyond Brooklyn

Taking the friction out of rentals and roommates with tech…

Harley Courts, CEO at Nooklyn ( Brooklyn-based tech start-up fixing the experience of finding apartments and roommates) joins hosts Thomas Kutzman and Scott Pollack in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser. Presented by Prevu.

From skateboarding to real estate, data as a core asset, and why brokers are here to stay

Courts discusses the impact that the company’s atypical management and structure has contributed to its success, what he took from running a skateboard company, leadership, building a collaborative, mission driven team, how his skateboard company failing led to becoming the super of a building, then meeting numerous real estate brokers and realizing he can do that, starting Nooklyn as a blog, and having so much success that he had to hire agents. How when giving listing data away you have nothing, as it’s a core asset. How Nooklyn is giving renters control over process, plucking away at removing friction for renters, the majority of the country is still on Craigslist for rentals, and why the highly regulated nature of the real estate industry, and the fact that this is the largest purchase most people will make, means brokers will remain.

Taking on Manhattan, fixing the experience, and growing quickly

A spectrum of vegan offerings make for a dynamic snack. Court reveals how Nooklyn is growing beyond Brooklyn, and being on a mission to fix the experience for renters, and to take on a new market, Brooklyn and Manhattan. Why 200 listing number is a magic number to make progress, how Nooklyn offers an advantage for landlords, getting into shared housing on the platform, and the ability to facilitate transactions. Why with currently 250 agents Nooklyn is trying to hire 375 more agents in the next year. And how more than half the deals are split between at least two agents, who often contribute different skills sets and resources.

The skateboarding business, a police offer and a party animal, and eating vegan

Personal questions cover missing skateboarding, a broken elbow, a daughter (also) named Harley, learning the skateboarding industry in detail, seven layers of wood, difficulty in competing in the skateboarding business, a bad experience moving in with a police officer and a party animal who both stopped paying rent immediately, and how Court has personally gone through many challenges of rentals and roommates and what’s driven him to make the process better. Plus, a roommate platform built into the site, and favorite Vegan restaurants in Brooklyn.

003 – Brendan Wallace of Fifth Wall – Tech, Funding, and Mars

Fifth Wall

Connecting technology innovation and real estate industry leaders…

Fifth WallBrendan Wallace, Co-Founder of Fifth Wall Ventures (fostering collaboration between innovative technologies for the Built World and industry-leading incumbents from all sectors of the real estate industry including: retail, industrial, hospitality, multi-family, homebuilding, office, and brokerage), joins hosts Thomas Kutzman and Scott Pollack in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser. Presented by Prevu.

Two halves of a career, the historical absence of funds in the largest economic sector, and playing translator

Fifth WallWallace shares the mission is to accelerate innovation in the Built World to improve how we live, work, sleep, consume, move, create, connect, and play. He comments how the company envisions a future where technology is seamlessly integrated into the physical spaces around us, creating a shared environment that is more accessible, efficient, and delightful than ever before. He covers his successes as entrepreneur and an exit, arriving at real estate tech, the marriage of the first half of his career (real estate banking and private equity, witnessing the boom and bust) and the second half of his career (going to business school, starting a data analytics business for recruiting and targeting the right kind of workers, raising $35 million as students, then creating the largest ride sharing platform in Latin America, and finally angel investing). How real estate tech offers low-tech risk because innovation is usually technically simple. Real estate is the largest asset class and lending category and store of consumer wealth—so why have there been no funds? What if one could raise capital from the largest buyers of real estate technology themselves, then collaborate and understand or influence what they are going to do, allowing them to make better investments, while supporting portfolio companies. This approach offers the best of traditionalist and generalist VC and corporate VC. How Fifth Wall is like an outsourced recruiter for companies to invest, and on the side of the companies, playing translator between major real estate incumbents and innovators, and partnering with generalist funds. And, how Fifth Wall has relationships deep into every subsector.

A demand for tech, big drivers, and learning from Amazon’s business model

Fifth WallIs Fifth Wall inciting change or making change themselves, and how the demand for real estate tech is growing. Playing a role in translating needs to specific solutions, a focus that is more on commercial real estate, less on residential brokerage, and concentrating on what partners are looking for. Big drivers are energy efficiency and building data assets, why more companies haven’t had a huge impact on the real estate industry with data, and the challenge with collecting meaningful data. Looking at brick and mortar retail and learning. Does Amazon know its business model? The meaning of retail is changing, and the line between online and offline. Plus how there must be more consideration of the physical store in online purchases, and how this relates to Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods.

A technology divide, rushing for the exit, and real estate on Mars

East Coast vs. West Coast divide in technology, how technology is becoming all industries, New York as the nerve center of the real estate industry, and why Fifth Wall is likely to open office in NYC sooner vs. later. How rushing for the exit might have been the biggest mistake of Wallace’s career, both tech and real estate boom cycles won’t last, and why the real test is how you perform during imminent retractions. How Fifth Wall is effectively an advisory business and a venture fund, so Wallace’s time belongs to other people. And a look at rare free time, running and physical training, and the search for balance when one is being paid for good judgment. Plus, maintaining reality as a great partner while creating space to identify the next great opportunity, playing pool, early real estate memories, favorite rooms, and spending a lot of time on the roof. Plus, buying property on Mars.

002 – David Walker of Triplemint – Empowering Value and Engineering a Positive Customer Experience

Creating the best possible client experience when buying, selling, or renting a home…

David Walker, Co-Founder and CEO of Triplemint (a high tech real estate brokerage) joins hosts Thomas Kutzman and Scott Pollack in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser. Presented by Prevu.

Pushing the envelope, a shift in the industry, and a major pre-market value proposition

Walker discusses why there’s room for so many new players, how despite the Internet and technology in other industries, the real estate industry lags 10 years behind, and in the last few years a transformation has begun. How the modern buyer and seller are smarter and looking for tech forward brands in all they do, how Triplemint is pushing the envelope, consumers are leading the charge, how more can be offered than just the agent, and the right equation of offering fantastic humans plus tools. There is a similar shift in real estate as in financial services, what’s changed is a demand for tech, an ease of actual transaction, speed to close, managing properties seen, and transparency of data. And, how to show more properties to buyers than they can see anywhere else, using predictive analytics. One major value prop is understanding trends and patterns and the data to determine someone is likely to list their home, adding a new value prop pre-market that’s fair for the consumer to have, earlier in the value chain. It’s not about convincing people to sell. Adding more data to the pricing picture. Plus, diligence to fiduciary responsibility,

A high NPS score, acquisition sources, and the impact of great agents

Customer service satisfaction survey measuring chance of referring business in the form of a Net Promoter Score (NPS), evaluating agents, and competing against established firms for that talent. How it used to be about highest splits and nicest offices, and now about the value a company can provide to the agent to do business and to the buyers and sellers. Two-thirds of transactions are acquired digitally by Triplemint, acquisition via agents and platform, and how it is one thing to get customers and another thing to offer more value and close transactions and get referrals. Triplemint’s off-the-charts NPS score of 91, with an average survey of 9.7/10 and a testament to the team. Triplemint boasts success due to fantastic agents, great and powerful technology, and empowering value.

Expansion, the future of agents, and working with a friend

Looking ahead at expansion beyond NY, how the consumer is getting smarter, and wanting to empower them to do so. Will the need for agents dissipate or is the consumer seeking agents who provide real value? And personal questions cover a surprising mobile app, The New Classics, Fantasy Football, working with a college friend and rowing teammate, an Iron Man, overcoming disagreements, working real estate, and teaching English.

001 – Vishal Garg of Better Mortgage – Bypassing Industry Inertia in Three Minutes

De-rigging the mortgage game with thoughtful technology…

Vishal Garg, CEO of Better Mortgage (a direct lender dedicated to providing a fast, transparent, and online mortgage experience backed by superior customer support) joins hosts Thomas Kutzman and Scott Pollack in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser. Presented by Prevu.

An industry behind the times, the need, and why pre-approval in 3 minutes is possible

Garg discusses how the mortgage industry is dominated by the top 5 banks with a third of the market, why the mortgage industry hasn’t modernized as fast as other industries, how it is one of the last oligopolies, and how because of complexity and size is one of last ones standing requiring modernization and innovation. He covers how startups need at least $20M of capital to make mortgages and finance them with Wall Street or bigger banks, and those amounts are usually not available to most tech startups. He shares the goals of helping consumers know how much they can afford, the challenges that followed a number of financial crises, and why Better Mortgage was created. Garg touches on how the company takes the info provided by applicants, uses an API to create pre approval within typically 3 minutes, whereas usually takes much longer as well as many as dozens of people.

Eliminating commissions, creating certainty, and making obtaining a mortage a non-event

When the numbers have been proven and credit has been checked, there is a high degree of confidence a consumer can obtain that financing. The impact of having no incentives to drive consumer experience or product choices, with loan consultants not paid on commissions at Better Mortgage, and how the company built a marketplace of 21 financing partners, making up the majority of mortgage lending market. How human elements are doing things that empower the consumer instead of just order taking, integrating automation to create certainty, why banks won’t do something like this kind of solution and the industry doesn’t care that the mortgage process is painful for the consumer, as an industry that helps the industry. The objective of making getting a mortgage a non event, helping consumers win with lower down payments, and a look at the source nearly half of default.

Overcoming industry inertia, the only way brokers can prosper, and maintaining focus

The importance of the fact that Millennials don’t want to be sold, creating a platform so 6 of 7 biggest banks in industry are financing off the platform, overcoming the inertia of the industry which cannot innovate, how mortgage brokers and real estate brokers who are really helping people with value today are the only ones who can prosper, and how the rest will have to find something else to do. Plus falafel chips and running a startup with young kids, focusing on the most important thing you need to do, and helping Americans to buy homes.

Hello World – Real Estate Is Your Business

How Technology Is Modernizing Real Estate …

Real Estate Is Your Business is a series of conversations with the innovators, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders at the forefront of the modernization of the real estate industry. The podcast, presented by Prevu, is hosted by real estate technology entrepreneur Thomas Kutzman and business development expert Scott Pollack. You will hear the about the exciting technological and business innovations that are improving the way we live, work, and pretty much do everything.

Thomas Kutzman is the co-founder of Prevu, a tech startup on a mission to save people money when they buy or sell a home. Thomas has broad experience investing in public technology companies at asset management firms and top-tier investment banks, and has also been an active real estate investor for over a decade. Scott Pollack is a business development expert with experience helping both startups and Fortune 500 companies focus on growth. Scott is a member of the Forbes Business Development Council, author of “What, Exactly, Is Business Development”, and a regular speaker on the topic.