Closes $5M Series A to Expand Artificial Intelligence Platform for Real Estate Professionals

This article was originally published on Cision PR Newswire here.

CHICAGO and DURHAM, N.C., May 23, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Chicago-based startup investors, MATH Venture Partners, Nine Four Ventures, and @properties' co-founders Thad Wong and Mike Golden, led a $5 million Series A investment round in, a technology startup that uses artificial intelligence to help real estate agents connect with prospective home sellers ahead of their competition.

First empowers brokers and agents to focus on the right people in their network at the right time.  It starts by saving their time in managing their network - an often cumbersome and dreaded task for agents.  First organizes an agent's contacts, and supplements missing personal and property data to help keep databases current.  First also leverages hundreds of data points, such as income and spending behavior, market trends, property information, and life events on 214 million people across the nation.  First's machine learning platform analyzes this information to provide unique insights that help agents prioritize and facilitate communication with contacts that will lead to revenue. First also understands the value of human touch, and now empowers agents with a personal assistant to schedule in person meetings.  With First, busy agents spend more of their time meeting with the right people, deepening relationships and, ultimately, providing value to more clients.

"First helps agents identify the relationships they should be nurturing, and puts them in the right place at the right time to unlock the latent value of an agent's network," said Mike Schneider, founder and CEO of First. "This latest round of funding not only brings us partners with a wealth of expertise and additional, powerful distribution channels. It will also accelerate our development of new innovative products to help top agents leverage industry-leading intelligence to grow their businesses faster than ever."

The customer-acquisition piece will be super-charged by both @properties and Elowe's Laramar Group. Laramar, which specializes in multifamily properties, urban high-rise development and office properties, has a presence in over 20 markets from coast to coast. @properties is ranked by REALTrends as the 11th largest brokerage firm in the United States, and has 2,500 licensed brokers in the greater Chicago area.

"First meets three important criteria for our portfolio companies," said Troy Henikoff, managing director of MATH Venture Partners. "They have a superior management team; they have validated technology that creates major efficiencies in an area where little innovation has occurred; and they have a significant advantage in customer acquisition."

"We love the technology, and we're excited about the success that brokers around the country are having with First, said Thad Wong, co-founder of @properties. "We can provide a platform to accelerate First's growth not only within @properties but throughout the brokerage industry. Our business was built on relationships so this is well aligned with our mission."

MATH Venture Partners, established by Mark Achler and Troy Henikoff, has a wide-ranging portfolio that includes parking app SpotHero and mortgage workflow app Maxwell. Nine Four Ventures was recently launched by Jeff Elowe, president and CEO of Laramar Group, a multi-billion-dollar real estate investment and management firm. Wong and Golden, who own @properties, one of the nation's largest independent brokerage firms, also have backed technology startups including Konverse, MortgageHippo, and the real estate tax appeal platform TurboAppeal.

"First pushes the edge of what can be done with big data in real estate, and we see potential in other verticals as well. We will leverage our significant industry and investor network to help expand First's customer base in a far more efficient manner than most traditional venture investors," noted Elowe.

About First

Founded in 2016, First is a technology company that leverages data science, machine learning and human interaction to help real estate professionals better leverage the value of their network. First's software is currently used by top real estate brokers at more than 200 companies nationwide. For more information, visit

About MATH Venture Partners

MATH Venture Partners is an early- to growth-stage fund managed by a seasoned team of hands-on technology investors and operators. The fund invests in companies managed by entrepreneurial teams focused on disruptive technologies and with a built-in advantage in acquiring and retaining customers. MATH Venture Partners has more than two dozen companies in its portfolio, including SpotHero, Built In, NowSecure and Acorns. For more information visit,

About Nine Four Ventures

Nine Four Ventures invests in technology companies that are challenging the real estate industry. The fund leverages 30 years of experience owning and operating real estate and a network of industry influencers to provide portfolio companies with capital, a customer base, strategic guidance and an opportunity to efficiently pilot and roll out products. Nine Four ventures was founded by Jeff Elowe, president and CEO of the Laramar Group, and is also managed by General Partner Kurt Ramirez. For more information, visit

About @properties

Established in 2000, @properties is the largest residential brokerage firm in Chicagoland by sales volume, and has consistently been one of the fastest growing brokerage firms in America. Company co-founders Thad Wong and Mike Golden have successfully invested in a number of technology start-ups focused on increased productivity and enhanced outcomes for real estate brokers and consumers. For more information, visit

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Peter Olesker                                                                  

Joel McLean                                              


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