D.C.-based Sawbuck Realty has raised $3.5 million in a Series A funding round led by Revolution Ventures and The JBG Cos. Managing Partner Robert Stewart, money that will support Sawbuck’s house-hunting app HomeSnap.
HomeSnap, which launched in March at South By Southwest in Austin, allows its users to snap a picture of a house, even one that isn’t on the market, and pull up a wealth of data on value, sale history, school districts, lot size, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, etc. – all information that prospective homebuyers (or the idly curious) would want.
The technology behind the app makes use of just about every instrument within the iPhone: the magnetometer, the accelerometer, the GPS, the Gyroscope, each of which help determine where the user is standing and where his phone is pointing. The information then feeds into Sawbuck’s servers and runs through “a pretty sophisticated set of algorithms to figure out which house you’re actually taking a picture of,” said Sawbuck CEO Guy Wolcott.
This isn’t exactly “Minority Report” for houses, at least not yet. For now, Sawbuck is relying on the strength of its algorithms to correctly identify the property. But each time a user takes a picture of a home, HomeSnap stores the image as a reference photo to make a match the next time.
Development is the top priority for the new cash, Wolcott said, with plans to “make the product better, faster, stronger, take it to other platforms.” Android and iPad version are on the way. The funding will also give Sawbuck, which has until now relied on media coverage and word of mouth to promote the app, an actual marketing budget. Wolcott said he plans to add five or six new employees to the company, which now has a staff of about a dozen.
Sawbuck, an online real estate broker, is still mulling how to best monetize HomeSnap. It already supports Sawbuck’s core business model of connecting homebuyers with local agents, but “we have a lot of ideas” for other ways to generate revenue through the app, said Wolcott.