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This Des Moines startup is making home staging easy and affordable

Nora Crosthwaite is on a quest to disrupt the staging industry.

After spending 17 years in IT, Crosthwaite made a sudden shift in career paths and decided to start her own real estate business in 2015. It did not take her long to discover that having to constantly schedule in-person staging consultations for her listings was not an efficient or effective process for sellers and stagers.

“I probably spent a year looking for a service where I could take pictures on my cell phone, send them to a stager, and get the report.”

After being unable to find the service she was looking for, Crosthwaite started Stagerie, an online home staging consultation solution, connecting realtors who list homes for sale with expert stagers who stage homes for sale.

Using Stagerie’s website, agents and homeowners can easily submit photos of a home and receive a personalized and professional staging consultation by email within two days. To receive a Stagerie consultation costs just $180.

The sent went live a year ago, currently has 12 stagers in five states, and recently became the first and only home staging company that is RE/MAX approved supplier.

Home staging has quickly become one of the most effective real estate marketing strategies in the industry. According to Forbes, a staged home will sell for 17% more on average than a non-staged home, and 95% of staged homes sell in 11 days or less.

Last September, Stagerie was awarded a $25,000 POCR loan from the IEDA for market analysis, product refinement and market entry activities. Shortly after that, the company was accepted into the Spring 2021 cohort of the Iowa Startup Accelerator (ISA).

“Going through the accelerator was like getting an MBA in three months,” said Crosthwaite. “We received training in tracking financials, customer discovery, gaining traction, traction channels, and pitching. It was an intense and exhilarating experience.”

What’s next for Stagerie?

Crosthwaite says she has a large product roadmap that she hopes to rollout over the next few years, and hopes to offer different tiers of staging services.

She’s also working on creating more partnerships with some of the regional or national brokerages.

“Right now my main focus is positioning, so that as the market shifts, and it will, we’re there and we’re ready,” said Crosthwaite. “Because all these sellers that are used to selling a house in 10 hours, are going to have it sit on the market for 10 days.”

This Des Moines startup is making home staging easy and affordable | 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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