Real estate app developer Smarter Agent buys Seattle firm
Philadelphia Business Journal – by Peter Key
Date: Tuesday, March 8, 2011, 12:14pm EST Reporter: Peter Key
As you may have heard by now, Philadelphia has the lowest rate of entrepreneurial activity among the nation’s 15 largest metropolitan areas with only 150 businesses started per 100,000 adults last year.
Having lived in the Philadelphia area for most of my life, I’m as into dumping on it as the next person. Even so, when I saw the metropolitan area that had the second lowest entrepreneurial activity rate, I realized that the distinction conferred upon Philadelphia by the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity may not be the cause for doom and gloom I immediately assumed it was.
That’s because the metropolitan area with the second-lowest entrepreneurial activity rate was Seattle, where there were 220 businesses started per 100,000 adults in 2010. I may be wrong, but I don’t think too many people consider Seattle to be an entrepreneurial laggard, especially in terms of starting tech companies.
In fact, one Camden tech company recently found a Seattle tech company to be so cool that it acquired it. That would be Smarter Agent, which said Monday that it acquired Toor.me for an undisclosed sum.
The reason for the acquisition could be that Brad and Eric Blumberg, Smarter Agent’s founders and, respectively, CEO and president, were so depressed about being in the region with the lowest entrepreneurial activity rate that they decided to buy a company in the region with the second-lowest entrepreneurial activity rate so they’d have someone to commiserate with.
More likely, however, it’s that Toor.me’s technology provides a powerful complement to Smarter Agent’s own.
Smarter Agent, which I last did a feature on a little more than three years ago and have mentioned in many stories since, develops apps that allow mobile phone users to get home sale and rental information. It markets the apps to real estate agents and others, who can put their own name on them and let their customers download the apps from their websites.
Toor.me has developed QR codes that can be put on yard signs or brochures for properties. When a potential buyer scans a code, which is called a Toor Tag, with his smartphone, he gets a virtual tour of the property that includes photos of it, information about it and the agent with whom it’s listed, plus the ability to share information about it on Twitter or Facebook. In addition to being viewable on smartphones, the tours can seen on tablet and desktop computers.
Toor.me was founded by Allen Hartwig and Nick Smoot, both of whom will eventually move to the Philadelphia area.
Maybe they can show us how to get to number 14.