Inspired by social and professional networking Web sites along the lines of LinkedIn.com, MyDealBook was launched on Monday, May 19, to provide real estate professionals–including residential and commercial builders, architects, product manufacturers, and suppliers–with an online resource for industry-specific networking and functional deal collaboration.
"We found that people in real estate development and investment weren't really comfortable with LinkedIn or didn't find it suitable for their needs," said Ryan Slack, MyDealBook CEO, of the site's genesis. "We created MyDealBook to address that need of bringing people together, from design and building to sales and appraisal."
The site allows users to create a personal profile–similar to LinkedIn, MySpace, or Facebook–but then allows for the inclusion of detailed, real estate-specific information. Users are able to list any licenses they have obtained or associations to which they belong; the site then automatically connects their profile to others with the same affiliations in order to facilitate cross-industry connections–a valuable tool for builders interested in reaching out to people they wouldn't normally meet in their day-to-day operations.
The site is based on four pillars:
People: Individual professional profiles.
Deals: A project the user is working on. For example, a builder working on the acquisition and development of a particular piece of property can create the deal listing on his/her profile and invite others involved in the deal to link to it as well. "It establishes credibility for people viewing it online," Slack explained. "You can see the number of parties involved." This could prove particularly useful for builders attempting to secure private equity dollars to fund a given project.
Groups: Users have the ability to join a wide range of groups, whether they be companies, investment groups, an intra-company team, or an alumni group. "It's real estate-oriented associations that allow people to get together in an efficient way," Slack said.
Events: "It's absolutely essential in the real estate industry to get people together physically; otherwise, it's just a virtual world," noted Slack. To address that need, MyDealBook plans to host events in every major metropolitan market across the U.S., most likely on a quarterly basis. Registered users will be notified of events in their area via e-mail, enabling them to meet people face to face and potentially cultivate new business opportunities.
For the initial launch, MyDealBook started with the approximately 35,000 registered users of PropertyShark.com, of which Slack is the former CEO.
"As the downturn accelerated, we found it more urgent for this to emerge–a self-marketing tool," said Slack with regards to the impetus behind MyDealBook's launch. "Whether it's for you, your deal, or your group or event, getting the word out is absolutely essential."
Recognizing that as volume decreases, marketing budgets are cut, and that the costs to advertise are on the rise, Slack realized the low cost of social and professional networking sites was an untapped opportunity in the real estate industry.
As Slack explained, "Two or three years ago, people were lacking time; now, they're lacking opportunities."
For more information or to create a free profile, visit www.MyDealBook.com.
Click on links below for full-sized images(Courtesy MyDealBook):
Shown here, a screenshot of the dashboard users of MyDealBook will use to navigate through the site.
Registered users can create profiles for deals on which they are currently working, as well as invite other individuals involved to link to the deal for added credibility.
Users can upload photos to their profile, provide contact information, and list their employment history and educational background.