Today we are having with us Jorge from StateFox.
I would like to learn more about your background, what you did do in the past, and how did you get where you are now. Tell me more about your professional trajectory and how did you start your project?
J: I guess ambition lol. Is among others a powerful one, capable of changing most of the things (for good and bad obviously). I started in the field of digital marketing about 12 or maybe 14 years ago and it was a pretty good experience but after many years working for others I realized that I could do the same, precisely the same or even better so, why should I keep working for someone else? Making big amounts of money to others?
My experience in the past was related to management, creating new projects, making them successful, and following the whole process from the beginning till the end and one day, when I realized that I had a little bit of money saved, so I thought: Why not? Let’s jump and become independent! I found my partner, which is almost mandatory to have a tech colleague if you want to build a tech company. We started 4 years ago with a project named LandingTrack that is still alive and making a profit, but after 2 years we realized that there was a potential niche in the real estate business with tons of opportunities, so, we started to work on it, and we created StateFox.
That’s an interesting adventure because real estate is the basis of our daily life.
J: Life and economy, every country needs real estate business. What we do is basically data; every council, every government, every agent, and every person needs data if you need to buy a house, rent a house, study the market, and take a decision.
Sounds awesome. Can you explain a bit more about your project and who is your target audience and how you help your audience?
J: At least here, in the Spanish market, there is a huge confusion; real estate is not a transparent market. You have multiple websites and web portals where you can find the house but there is a lot of noise, duplicates, agencies, and private owners. It’s a mess, so basically, we clean that noise and we build a platform where real estate agents can log in and they find right away the offers that are available on the market. It’s mixed of data where you can identify for example, if a person is the first at publishing the offer or not, you can also track changes in the market, and how many competitors there are. I give you an example Lily, when you publish a flat, sometimes it’s through an agency, so perhaps your flat is being promoted by one agency or 5 agencies, and one of those is not displaying the right price while another one is showing a correct one or even different one. It can also happen that you see an ad that belongs to a private owner, but through StateFox you can see that is not really true, it’s an undercover agent, promoting ads as a private owner…
After all, our audience is real estate agencies mainly, but also we have consultants, and evaluation companies – these companies need to evaluate the data, so they can estimate the value of the property and become more accurate. The market actually is really huge in Spain and probably, worldwide.
That’s really ambitious! How your project helps the agents? Can they organize their work in software, or any other ways they can use your software?
J: For the agencies, it works like a CRM. Real estate agents need to have stock, which means they need to have flats, otherwise, they cannot sell anything. That’s the main point of the real estate business. Through our platform StateFox, they can identify all the opportunities that are available online, which is in real-time data, and they just need to do their job: basically trying to “catch/work” directly with the private owner. Then, they can manage the whole process through the platform. That would be a case study for real estate agents.
On another side, for minor investors, they can identify the bargains right away, maybe they can avoid going through the agency, and they can go straight forward with the private owner.
In the case of evaluation companies, it is the data that allows them to evaluate each property.
For councils or communities, the software helps them to identify the actual situation of offer and demand of the city.
So after all, you can have a lot of information that is useful for many different target groups and people.
So your audience is actually quite large. I guess in this case, you have different functionalities, and different plans for your software users. Do you have different packages or how does it work?
J: We do. We divide this by cities, so for example, an agency that is operating only in Valencia will pay a certain amount which is 50 eur for the city but if they want to work in the whole province, they will need to pay 150 eur, so on. There are different packages depending on the city where you are. There is a variety.
Currently, do you work only in Spain or do you operate in different markets, too?
J: for the moment, we work only in Spain.
How do you see your project evolving in the future? What is your strategy, and how do you plan to expand?
I guess, when you are selling software, you need to have a department that is constantly looking for new contacts, right?
J: We do have an internal program that basically gathers the data of all the agencies of any country. So in Spain, for example, we already have all the phone numbers from all the agencies that are available.
If we want to expand in Portugal or France or Italy, we just need to do the same and replicate the process. It doesn’t mean it will work, but at least we have the basis to start with.
How would you evaluate the current state of this market in Spain?
J: Right now, this market is growing, we don’t know for sure what will happen in the future. If something happens and Spanish market crushes, we just need to move to another one.
Which way can your project evolve in terms of technical features, or what else do you plan to release for the agencies to make their work easier?
J: The project started like something that is not essential. The heart of every company is a CRM, at least it is one of the most important things (internally). We are not a CRM. So, how do you penetrate or how do you get into the market if you are not a CRM?
You need to build a huge database of customers. If you go with the CRM, you are going to crash because the market is saturated for such solutions. There is no way you can do something better.
Based on that, we thought that the only way to get into this niche is to launch a project that is not the heart of the company, but that makes you stand out. You don’t necessarily need it, but if you have it, you look cooler, and you will be more efficient.
Once we figured that out, the next step is thinking about how to get more minutes from your customers, so you start to develop new features. Instead of using your software for 5-10 minutes a day, they will start with 20-30 minutes a day, and after 1 year, you realize that they became addicted, so you continue adding more features because the software gets cooler than before. One day they will realize that they don’t even need the CRM because they actually have a super powerful tool that is 360 and is also a CRM and at this point you were able to penetrate the market that was saturated but with a different intention and strategy.
If you can automate some parts of the process, it becomes more efficient. Instead of spending 8 hours a day doing one thing, you spend 5 minutes, so you have time for more important tasks – in the case of real agents – selling properties, talking with clients, management, and so on.
Another thing that I was curious about, is how do you promote your brand? As I imagine, you have the sales team, but what do you do for marketing?
J: After 14 years in digital marketing, we are not doing any strategy online.
So your strategy is cold calling?
J: Yes. You need to analyze your market first, and if you realize that your market is not an online market because they don’t go online, they are still not at the edge of going online, then you need to move to the old traditional way.
So you rely a lot on the people factor, and you need to find people that are strong in cold calling.
J: Yes. Of course, we have referrals and people signing up because they heard from someone about us on media, but we don’t do anything. Just a cold call, a couple of events and that’s all.
It was a very interesting insight, and I wanted to ask how people that are interested in your software and its functionality can contact you or reach out?
J: they usually do it through the website – statefox.com. They can sign up, they have 7 days free trial, and then they will get an account manager that will make you a video call for the introduction.