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placesterHere’s another spin on bringing the real estate industry online that could enable any agent to compete directly with the likes of Zillow or Redfin.

Boston-based Placester announced today it has raised $5.5 million in capital to create a publishing platform that offers consumer search, real estate inventory info and related ad products.

The company’s founder, Matt Barba, who was a former real estate agent, explained to TechCrunch that Placester solves the problem many agents face when trying to launch their own site.

Placester offers tools to agents to get them going quickly, including a WordPress template. It also pays for hosting and Multiple Listing Service (MLS) fees. The advantage of using Placester is that building a site by yourself can be expensive and would require taping into multiple MLS’s that may use out-of-date or different technology.

In addition to selling the technology to agents, Placester has signed a deal with Hearst Corporation that will allow local papers to use Placester to replace their legacy real estate sites. The partnership kicks off with The Connecticut Post, but the deal includes five papers in all, including The San Francisco Chronicle.

In essence, the company allows agents or papers to attract home buyers to their own sites to conduct searches. So far, it claims to be powering 70,000 sites that could potentially be attracting people away from other major listing sites.

Today’s round of funding was led by Romulus Capital, and included participation from a host of angels.

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