(Ambrosio’s note: I’ve always admired the creativity and boldness of young entrepreneurs, so when I had the opportunity to interview the 26-year old founder and CEO of DotLoop, Austin Allison, I couldn’t resist asking him a few a questions about his journey in entrepreneurship. I’m very impressed with what Austin has achieved so far. Through DotLoop, he is changing the way more people buy and sell homes.
Headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, DotLoop is transforming the real estate industry with its innovative, collaborative, wholly web-based negotiation platform that lets users add, adjust, approve, and sign documents digitally — addressing the challenges of security, efficiency, and overhead costs in today’s real estate industry.
By partnering with top real estate franchises like Keller Williams Realty and RE/MAX, DotLoop is quickly becoming the premier technology solution for brokers and agents across the country — boasting more than 100,000 paying subscribers less than two years after its national launch.)
Franchise Chatter (FC): Can you share with us the story of how DotLoop got its start?
Austin Allison (AA): After buying my first home at the age of 17 and becoming a realtor at the age of 18, I soon noticed
a dramatic inefficiency in the real estate transaction process. Clients weren’t satisfied, the process was inefficient and the input wasn’t worth the output due to one broken business process.
My aha moment occurred as I continued to find myself driving all over town in search of a fax machine or to meet clients and sign documents on the trunk of my car. There had to be a better solution, consistent with consumers’ expectations for instant access and convenience in the process, or so I thought.
After digging deeper, there was no solution (and there still is no solution besides DotLoop) that adequately solves the holistic problem within the transaction process. At that point, DotLoop was formed.
FC: For those unfamiliar, please describe how DotLoop actually works.
AA: DotLoop helps people work together to reach an agreement by bringing all parties in the transaction process (buyers, sellers and clients) together in one virtual transaction hub. It bridges the gap between people and solves an entire or holistic business process rather than a function within a business process. DotLoop does this by allowing all people in a transaction to edit, negotiate, electronically sign, and store all documents from one online hub.
FC: What is the cost for using your service?
AA: Anywhere from $3-20 per user per month, depending on the size of the user base.
FC: You’ve signed agreements with some of the top real estate franchises like Keller Williams and RE/MAX? How do the franchisees of these brands benefit from your agreements with their franchisors?
AA: Our company has been fortunate enough to partner with several of the largest and most innovative real estate brands in the world in a relatively short period of time, including Keller Williams Realty Inc., EXIT Realty Corp. International, RE/MAX International and Leading Real Estate Companies of the World.
Partners of DotLoop benefit from implementing the most efficient and only “offer to close” solution in the industry. Benefits include 40% faster transaction times, increased recruiting, a competitive edge in the marketplace, real time insight and access to manage all transactions within an enterprise, and most importantly, providing the highest level of service to consumers.
FC: How has your product been received by real estate professionals? What’s been the rate of adoption? What do they like most about your service?
AA: One of the leading real estate experts in the industry, WAV Group, wrote a recent white paper on technology adoption. DotLoop became a key component of this white paper due to adoption rates ranging from 75-100% adoption (up to 10x that of alternative technologies). DotLoop’s key to adoption (or special sauce) is centered around 3 main components: Simplicity, Proven Results, and being Consumer Centric.
FC: Did you consider any other business ventures aside from DotLoop, and if so, how did you decide that this was the right opportunity for you?
AA: Entrepreneurs have no shortage of ideas…so yes, I considered and procured several ventures before DotLoop. I knew that there was a major problem to be solved in real estate after I sold my first home as a licensed real estate agent. Once I realized that the entire industry was experiencing the same pain I felt in Cincinnati, Ohio, that was my motivation to deliver a solution with DotLoop.
FC: What were some of the most challenging aspects of launching DotLoop, and how did you manage to overcome them?
AA: Finding the right people that are as passionate and motivated as you as the entrepreneur is no easy feat. Outside of finding the people, growing quickly presents all kinds of pain that are just tough to imagine without being in the trenches.
FC: With the benefit of hindsight, what are some of the things you wish you had done differently with respect to the business?
AA: I don’t look back often, other than to learn from my mistakes.
FC: Where do you see DotLoop in five years, and how do you plan to get there?
AA: In five years, we expect to serve several million users and deliver a product that changes the world.
FC: Is there anything else you wish to share about DotLoop?
AA: Stay tuned for the largest DotLoop announcement in Q1 of 2012.