When Erina Malarkey looks at how commercial real estate stakeholders are spending money on marketing efforts, she’s in disbelief.
“You have the largest asset class in the world and it currently has one of the most unsophisticated marketing and analytics functions,” she said in an interview this week. “People are literally managing billions of dollars of assets with sticky notes, emails, spreadsheets, and whiteboards. It’s pretty mind boggling.”
Malarkey sees an opportunity to help apartment rental building owners, managers, investors, and developers with their marketing strategies. She’s the CEO and co-founder of Remarkably, a new company that just spun out of Seattle startup studio Pioneer Square Labs. It’s the 13th spinout from PSL, which launched in 2015.
Malarkey and her co-founder, Anna-Lea Dieringer, previously led a real estate marketing consulting firm in Seattle called VMO. Their new startup follows a similar thesis, but with a new product powered by heavy data crunching tools.
Remarkably analyzes data from internal and external sources to help their clients figure out where they should spend their marketing dollars and ultimately lease their buildings to capacity. The company is building machine learning and automation technology into its software that can provide more robust marketing-related recommendations.
“We bring together this very unique combination of deep expertise with real estate branding and marketing, and then couple it with the powerful capabilities of software, machine learning, and data automation,” Malarkey said. “We think that is a pretty powerful and unusual combination.”
Investors like what they see — Remarkably has reeled in a $800,000 seed round from PSL Ventures, the venture capital arm of PSL, as well as angel investors such as VTS co-founder Brandon Weber and Cephas Partners Managing Partner Mollie Fadule.
“From the equity side of the business, marketing spend has long been a black hole that owners sink money into with no clear understanding of ROI,” Fadule said in a statement. “The Remarkably platform is the future of world-class multifamily marketing, powered by timely analytics and predictive modeling so owners can measure the return on marketing dollars and adjust accordingly.”
Malarkey said Remarkably isn’t beholden to swings in the real estate market.
“As a market softens, we see huge traction for Remarkably,” she said. “When a market is strong and there is more activity in the development cycle, we also provide huge value.”
Remarkably earns revenue on a per-building basis, using a traditional software-as-a-service business model. The company will hire colleagues from VMO and plans to have up to 30 employees this year.
Remarkably is the first all-female founding team to spin out of PSL. That fact is not lost on Malarkey. She and Dieringer are champions for women in business and particularly women in real estate.
“It’s something we are really humbled by and take really seriously,” Malarkey said.
Pioneer Square Labs launched in 2015, using the concept of rapidly testing and validating new ideas before recruiting an executive team to build out a spinoff company. The firm last year expanded, raising a $80 million venture fund for PSL Ventures, a separate entity from PSL Studio.
Recent PSL spinouts include NextStep Interactive, Gradient, Shujinko, and Gemma Labs. PSL Managing Director Geoff Entress told GeekWire that PSL will spin out six to eight companies this year, with the Ventures fund participating in their financings. The Ventures arm will make five or six new investments in companies not associated with the Studio, Entress said.