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Transactly CEO Bryan Bowles discusses how technology can help, not replace, agents

Last year saw an overwhelming amount of investment flow into proptech and real estate technology, but as we move through 2022, it seems this year’s market will likely be defined early-stage investment and strategic market acquisitions.

One proptech company placing focus on acquisitions is Transactly, a real estate agent-focused tech platform that streamlines transactions in the home buying experience.

Since raising a $4 million Series A led by Hermann Companies in October 2021, the company has already made three acquisitions in the space, including Cake, 360 Home Connect and Rent Engine.

FinLedger recently spoke with Transactly CEO Bryan Bowles, who spoke about how the company views the relationship between agents and technology, its recent acquisitions and plans moving forward.

Q: First off, can you just describe Transactly and the services you offer?

A: I think it’s important to understand our mission as a company, to be the platform of choice for the people and companies that are involved in real estate transactions. I want to emphasize the word people, and that we found that there’s a lot of a lot of technology thrown in this industry, particularly at real estate agents, and that’s who we focus on helping the most. Really, they just want to keep the human interaction involved.

We’re a platform that provides tech-enabled services through automation integrations, to connect the real estate transaction from front to back. We take all the heavy lifting off agents’ hands for everything they have to do once they go under contract, from all the paperwork to scheduling, showings, and inspections, to connecting the buyers, utilities and so forth. We take care of all that stuff as a platform.

Q: What would you say is the biggest demand from agents, and how do you help them move forward?

A: The home buyer looks at the agent to be the trusted source of information for the transaction, and to be the person that knows what’s happening throughout the transaction. Whether it’s what’s happening with the mortgage company, the title company, everyone involved. In reality, they’re ill-equipped, and we’re the company that steps in and eases that pain for the agent. We liaise across the transaction, across mortgage, title and services, everything that the agent has to do. It’s kind of the easy button that we hope agents hit.

Q: What is your view when you look at that relationship between real estate professionals and technology? What do you think these professionals look for when you bring technology to them?

A: Well we try not to bring technology, right? Like any piece of technology, it’s there and it’s subtle, and you don’t have to necessarily use it per se. What we bring to them is a person that’s heavily backed by technology, that automates quite a bit of what that person does, and integrates the work that the agent has to do with mortgage and title companies.

We try to make it as passive as possible. Now agents completely can ingrain themselves and use our technology themselves, but most of them use it for more of just tracking along. Where the real automation and power users of it are, is a role called a transaction coordinator, and that’s the technical service that we provide to those agents.

Q: Transactly recently acquired 360 Home Connect. Can you talk about what this acquisition brings to the company?

A: Yeah, it just provides another level of service for the agent, and what they can deliver to their home buyer and realizing that agent to be that trusted source of information. Part of that is, ‘Okay, how do we get the utilities turned on for my new home?’ Well, 360 Home Connect, that’s what they do. Through this acquisition, we can now just control even more of that experience and bake it into our platform to be product forward, but technically service anytime someone needs help with ordering. Not just those utilities, but also telecom, internet, and anything else that they need for their new home before closing.

Q: You also recently acquired Rent Engine, what does that provide?

A: Yeah, so same thing here. They were competitive to 360 [Home Connect], and they had an early MVP piece of technology that we thought was very, very interesting and could plug into our platform easily. 360 brought a lot of relationship, sales and domain experience, and Rent Engine brought a little bit of app but more on the product industry side.

Q: Looking forward into Q2, what are your goals and plans moving forward?

A: It will always be continuing to save as much time as possible for the agents, and helping them improve that home buying experience for the consumer going into Q2. What it means is really integrating these acquisitions that we just made, if you will be more pragmatic about it, and really bake those into the platform that we have. That is another great offering that we can provide the agents and the homebuyers during this process.

Q: Are you looking at any other acquisitions or parts of the service that you want to add as we look ahead?

A: We’re not actively looking for any more acquisitions. Quite frankly, both of these came as potential partners first, so I don’t see us doing any more acquisitions in the very near future. That’s not to say that we won’t, if someone is pretty much aligned with what we’re doing and there’s an opportunity there, but I don’t foresee any in the near future.

Q: What does the Transactly team look like and what are your plans for growth there?

A: We currently have 84 full-time employees, plus another 143 independent contractor transaction coordinators (1099) that are affiliated with our brand.

In other recent proptech news, SmartRent announced plans to acquire maintenance service platform SightPlan in a $135 million, all-cash deal. Tishman Speyer also locked in $100 million for its debut proptech fund.

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