Tech Talk: Breaking the Mold


Bringing expansive tech innovation to the real estate market, Avenue 8 is a mobile-first residential real estate brokerage, taking transactions fully out of a brick-and-mortar office and onto mobile devices. Already a success in California in its first year, the firm just completed a second round of venture financing to take it to another level, a leap that includes expansion into the fast-moving and lucrative New York and Miami markets later in 2021.

Co-founded by Justin Fichelson, one of San Francisco’s top residential real estate agents, and Michael Martin, former managing partner at the digital creative agency Code and Theory, Avenue 8 has seen 25 percent compounded monthly agent growth and 96 percent customer retention since launching in March 2020—in large part due to the proprietary technology powering the Avenue 8 platform, which produces four times more effective marketing ROI (return on investment) than industry benchmarks, saves agents hundreds of hours and unlocks millions of dollars in potential commissions. In addition to seamless transactions, the firm offers the Avenue 8 Valet, a service for sellers to bring their homes to market in the most attractive way possible, with fees paid only after the sale is completed.

The partners’ timing was both forward-thinking and fortuitous, with the Covid-19 pandemic changing the ways agents and clients interacted, while working remotely simultaneously upended the concepts of shelter, family, and career, injecting a new urgency into the housing market. What had been a concept to streamline and disrupt an almost geriatric real estate business model suddenly became very appealing as the “new normal.”

Despite the tech innovation, Fichelson and Martin both emphasized that residential real estate remains a deeply personal and connective business between agents, buyers and sellers. We may have incorporated email, texting, Zoom calls and electronic signatures into our daily lives, but as in the old days (like, two years ago) it remains a business of personal relationships and serious, life- changing transactions. That’s not going to change, and Avenue 8 is there to smooth the path.

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