I had an opportunity last week to connect with Peter Schravemade of BoxBrownie.com. BoxBrownie.com is the industry leader in virtual home and office staging and they recently published a press release about dropping the cost of virtual staging down to $24 per photo. Previously, the fee for this was $80, but the price has been dropping significantly. I am accustomed to visiting with Peter a few times a year at conferences.  This year, I had to catch up with him for his perspective on all things Virtual Tour and the Matterport IPO via Zoom. We hope that Peter can begin his trips back to North America soon.

Matterport is going public, and they are a great product. They pioneered a new category for real estate by taking 2D slide show tours and changing the experience completely to 3D interactive experiences with doll house floorplans. Founded in 2011, Matterport had already taken on more than $60 million in investment before launching powerfully in real estate by 2016. They have taken on substantially more investment since. However, I wonder if they have a cap table problem. They plan to go public at 43x revenue. I am not a buyer because I believe that the competition from new competitors will drive down revenue faster than Matterport can expand.

Last week, I got my kit from Asteroom. The price is $90 and I use my iPhone 12 pro (they support Android phones too). This allows me to get the same type of capture with the same results as I would from the more expensive Matterport product. For $60, I get the tour built and 6 months of hosting. This pricing is a small fraction of the pricing from Matterport. Frankly – with competitors like this entering the market, I do not see Matterport holding their margins unless they get super aggressive to protect their IP as they did in taking GeoCV to court and ultimately driving that company out of business. Compare this pricing to the Matterport pricing of a camera for $3300 plus software that runs between $60 per month and $300 per month.

Where I see the market going

Perhaps the greatest growth in technology for the virtual tour space will be seen in the battle between BoxBrownie.com and roOomy. We have all seen the unprofessional photos that get entered into the MLS by agents. In many cases, there was not much that could be done by the agent. If a seller has poor furniture, bad style, or simply refuses to clean the house – the agent was stuck. The good news is that using BoxBrownie for virtual staging to improve the light and stage each room to look appealing is quite easy for agents to do. What inspires me most is their floor plan product. These digital staging services take out the clutter and give buyers the opportunity to imagine how the home could look with their tastes. Check out this great work – https://www.boxbrownie.com/virtual-staging

For traditional virtual tours – I am still a fan of PropertyPanorama.com – Their InstaView product is a nice facelift from earlier products. Their prices range from free to $5.

On the full-service side, I am a big fan of Virtual Tour Cafe – they offer a wide array of services for any home (and every price point) with a level of service that is undeniable.

Recently, the company that has piqued my curiosity the most has been CoreLogic with HomeVisit. They aim to make photography, virtual tours, and other home marketing solutions available through MLS partnerships.

On a side note – a virtual home sold last month for $500k as an NFT – non-fungible token on the blockchain.

I think that Matterport and BoxBrownie would see an enormous jump in their company’s value if they focused on the NFT market – virtual houses may have more value than real ones.