CNBC recently recognized two real estate companies -- DocuSign and the real estate brokerage Redfin – on its Disruptor 50 list, which features companies whose “innovations are revolutionizing the business landscape.” CNBC singled out companies that it believes is tapping unexploited niches and that have the potential to become billion-dollar businesses.
DocuSign, an e-signature technology company that has paved the way for paperless transactions in real estate, appeared No. 29 on the list, recognized for its ability to reduce transaction times, increase security, and reduce costs by eliminating the need for paper. Founded in 2003, DocuSign boasts 48 million users in 188 countries.
“All around me I saw companies leveraging technology to accelerate the speed of business,” Tom Gonser, founder and chief strategy officer of DocuSign, told CNBC about how he came up with the idea for the company. “But when it came to … a contract for buying or selling a home, documents from my financial adviser, or signing in at the doctor’s office, there were no simple solutions.”
Redfin, an online real estate search and brokerage, appeared No. 34 on the list, recognized for its use of technology in helping buyers and sellers as well as for its non-commission pay structure for its agents. The company pays its real estate professionals an annual salary rather than commissions. What’s more, bonuses are tied directly to customer reviews about agents’ performance. Redfin currently operates in 23 markets, but recently announced it plans to expand to 46 more markets over the next year.
CNBC also recognized San Francisco-based Airbnb, which allows people with extra rooms—or even a couch—to rent to others visiting their city. Hosts set the nightly rate they want to charge, and Airbnb collects the guests' payments, keeping a small portion of the fee—typically 3 percent—and passes the rest on to the host. The company has more than 600,000 listings in over 190 countries. It's backed by a whopping $776 million in venture capital by some of the biggest names in the industry, including Sequoia Capital and Andreessen Horowitz.
View the full list of CNBC’s Disruptor 50 list, as well as the methodology used to rank the companies.
Source: “CNBC’s Disruptor 50,” CNBC (June 2014)
Edited by Gordana Davila