Dallas-based venture capital firm Hangar Ventures has just made its first big bet, pumping $2 million of capital into a software startup that’s fighting to carve out a niche for itself in the ultra-competitive world of real estate tech.
The $50 million venture capital fund, led by local entrepreneurs Jason Story and Jeff Williams, has put its muscle behind a local startup called Rechat, which offers a combined messaging and CRM platform for brokers.
Rechat is headed up by serial entrepreneur Shayan Hamidi, who boasts plenty of experience in the real estate software world, having previously founded TheRedPin, a Zillow-like online real estate brokerage in Canada that’s already done almost $500 million in revenue.
The idea behind Rechat is a simple one – it serves as a kind of community chat platform that integrates with MLS listings, allowing brokers and agents to chat with clients right there inside each listing, as opposed to sending cumbersome emails back and forth. This messaging system serves as “the backbone” of Rechat’s offering, but it also provides other tools, including an integrated CRM system and digital transaction services so that agents can work with clients from a single platform, from the first inquiry, to touring the property, to closing the deal.
“What we do is bring all the experiences into one application so you can take someone from beginning all the way through the end,” Hamidi told the Dallas Business Journal.
Rechat is exactly the kind of locally based, early-stage startup that Hangar Ventures said it was setting its sights on when it first launched its fund in the middle of last year. Back then, the founders told Dallas News that their aim was to take Dallas back to its halcyon days of the 1990s, when it was seen as a hotbed for venture activity back before the dot com bubble burst and the city’s technological innovators were left floundering.
“Dallas kind of lost its identity while Austin kept building on its tech reputation,” Williams told Dallas News.
That may be true, but Hangar Venture’s vote of confidence in Rechat is yet another indicator that the Dallas tech scene has bounced back. The startup scene has already seen a strong revival, with the emergence of dozens of angel investors, local business accelerators, incubators and co-working spaces, and now with Hangar Ventures putting its money where its mouth is, it’s surely only a matter of time before a whole host of Dallas startups start making their presence felt.
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Blog post by: Mike Wheatley