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Showpal is using technology to the change the real estate industry

When Chad Torstenson decided to sell his house in 2015, it was a fairly typical process. A realtor came to his house to shoot some photos, put a sign in his yard and list the home for sale online. A couple months later, he parted with $28,000 in commission.

“At that point, I just kind of looked at what are the points of value to a consumer during that process,” Torstenson said.

In April, Torstenson launched ShowPal, an online platform offering home sellers the ability to list their homes for sale without having to pay commission fees.

“Marketing a home nowadays is social media and getting it out to these internet sites where buyers can see it,” Torstenson said. “That is not a special skill that realtors have.”

ShowPal’s platform offers a variety of plans, ranging in cost from $249 to $1999. For $249, homeowners get a market analysis, a photo shoot and a yard sign, a listing on Zillow and Trulia.

“We can do the same thing as realtors and make your life easy by packing a bunch of solutions, services, and technology together so that people can actually have a viable choice that doesn’t have anything to do with spending tens of thousands in commission,” Torstenson said.

Since launching in April, ShowPal has had 17 homes for sale on its platform, nine of those are sold or are sale-pending.

“It’s difficult to know who’s about ready to sell their home,” Torstenson said. “So we’ve taken on a multi-channel marketing approach where I’m trying various funnels and just really developing a brand awareness so that people who’re going to sell their home in 3 months or 2 years knows about us.”

Since starting the business, ShowPal has raised a successful $1.65 million seed round from friends and family and has plans to raise another round of funding soon, Torstenson told Clay & Milk. ShowPal intends to use the raised funding to branch out nationally.

“Everything we’ve built we can turn on in new cities overnight,” Torstenson said. “Having said that, our primary focus is Des Moines right now and we plan to be in Florida when they’re for sale season hits.”

Unlike in Iowa, Florida’s prime time to buy a home is typically October through March.

1 Comment

  • Ryan
    Posted December 21, 2018 at 7:17 am

    I agree…the question is, why do consumers still use traditional Realtors at 6% on average?

Comments are closed.

Showpal is using technology to the change the real estate industry | Clay & Milk
A central Iowa ag-tech accelerator has secured more backers and finally has a name. The Greater Des Moines Partnership first announced the accelerator last year, naming four initial investors. On Monday, the Partnership said the program will be called the "Iowa AgriTech Accelerator" and named three new investors. The new investors include Grinnell Mutual, Kent Corp. and Sukup Manufacturing, all Iowa companies. They join investors Deere & Co., Peoples Co., Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Co. and DuPont Pioneer. Each investor has agreed to put up $100,000 for the first year of the accelerator. Startups entering the program will receive $40,000 in seed funding in exchange for 6 percent equity. Tej Dhawan, an angel investor and local startup mentor, is serving as interim director until the AgriTech Accelerator names a permanent leader. Dhawan held a similar role with the GIA before Brian Hemesath was named as managing director. As interim director, Dhawan said his main job includes hiring the accelerator's executive director, establishing a business structure and initial recruiting for the first cohort. The accelerator will place few filters, such as location and product, on the applicant pool, Dhawan said. "When you’re seeking innovation, innovation can come from every corner of the world so why restrict ourselves," he said. One area the the AgriTech Accelerator won't recruit from is biotech. For its first cohort, the AgriTech Accelerator will work out of the GIA's space in Des Moines' East Village, Dhawan said. A future, permanent home is still to be decided. The accelerator's program will host startups from mid-July through mid-October, ending with an event connected to the annual World Food Prize. The GIA, which the AgriTech Accelerator is based on, also ends with presentations at an industry event. The accelerator has also started lining up a mentor pool. The Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association and the Iowa Pork Producers Association have agreed to provide mentors, as has Iowa State University. While the AgriTech Accelerator is loosely based off of the GIA, it will differ in its business structure, Dhawan said. The GIA runs through a for-profit model for both operations and its investment fund. The AgriTech Accelerator will have a nonprofit model for its operations and a for-profit setup for its fund. Dhawan said the nonprofit model is being used so the accelerator can better work with other nonprofit partners, such as trade associations. "These are all organizations that are nonprofits and can be amazing stakeholders without ever having to be investors in the accelerator," he said. "It becomes easier to work with trade associations in their nonprofit role when we are also a nonprofit." When it's up and running, the AgriTech Accelerator would be one of a handful of ag-focused startup development programs in Iowa. Others include the Ag Startup Engine out of Iowa State University and the Rural Ventures Alliance from Iowa MicroLoan. Matthew Patane is the managing editor and co-founder of Clay & Milk. Send him an email at
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