By Nancy Dahlberg
Beycome, a Miami proptech startup, is the newest member of LAB Miami Ventures’ Startup Studio. It’s also the first startup member that LAB Ventures did not build from the ground up.
Part of The LAB Miami in Wynwood, LAB Miami Ventures is a venture builder and funder that created five other tech startups, three of them in the real estate space: Lumi, RentCaddy and Expetitle. About a year ago, Lab Ventures pivoted to focus entirely on disruptive technologies in real estate and construction and the team had been looking for outside companies to work with as well as creating their own. Tigre Wenrich, LAB’s CEO, said until Beycome came along, they hadn’t found the combination of a visionary entrepreneur with a great idea who wanted help in areas where LAB Ventures can add value.
Beycome, founded by Nicolas Jodin and Herve Barbera, is a flat-fee (currently $99) MLS listing service that is disrupting residential real estate by helping people buy or sell homes without needing a real estate agent. It basically empowers sellers to be their own DIY agent, saving tens of thousands in commissions.
This is nothing like the troubled old-school For Sale by Owner process. Owners still handle the showings themselves but “we give you the tools — flyers, yard signs, postcards and videos — to promote your property,” said Jodin, CEO of Beycome who is a native of France. “On top of that, we developed a solution to receive an offer directly online. The website will generate a contract, skipping the middle man… We created a solution that is very, very simple.”
It’s working. Jodin said Beycome has closed 4,000 properties and has helped sellers save close to $50 million in commissions.
“From step 1 to closing, we follow you online to close your deal,” said Jodin, adding that services are available for those leasing properties, too.
Last fall, Beycome, a licensed brokerage, added services for the buyer side of the transaction, and buyers can get thousands in cash back. “Anyone can come onto the website and make an offer and the commission we normally make as the buyer’s agent (3% in Florida – $10,500 on a $350K property) will be returned to the seller minus a flat fee,’’ Jodin explained. After closing 42 properties in beta, Jodin decided to push ahead with the buyers’ side services as well, with LAB Ventures help.
Wenrich said the Startup Studio, led by Matti Marshak, is going to help Beycome’s team with rethinking their digital marketing strategy, scaling up and fund-raising, a lot of the same things that the Startup Studio does in creating new businesses but just at a later stage. LAB Ventures is also helping Beycome and another Startup Studio startup, Expetitle, a virtual title company, launch a joint venture together.
Wenrich said he and his partners still plan to move forward with Lab Ventures’ Proptech Fund, although the first close was delayed by the pandemic. “We still feel good about it. We think we can get it done later this year, but we thought we needed to take a pause while the market settles down,” said Wenrich, former CFO/COO of Open English and an active startup investor.
And in the meantime, Wenrich said, the partners have been making investments with their own capital – including into four proptech companies: SmartBarrel, a Miami startup, Bricksave, Node and Knowify.
“We are focused on getting the fund off the ground to both start investing in other people’s companies as well as fund more startups in the Studio. We think now is a great time to begin a startup. There is a lot of opportunity and a scarcity of capital,” said Wenrich. “To be an investor, it is a buyer’s market.”
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