OpenFrame Makes Showcasing Properties Through Pictures and Video A Breeze
There is a lot of work to selling a home or room for rent, and making sure potential buyers see it at its best is a large part of that. Many realtors will hire professional photographers to take fantastic photos of the property.
The larger agencies can hire multiple photographers. The independent and smaller-scale agents, unfortunately, cannot. They also lack the typical camera most photographers use for their projects. OpenFrame Co-Founder and CEO Aymeric Vigneras recognized this when he was having a conversation with his realtor in Belmont, Massachusetts.
“It’s of the two situations. They use their iPhone, and it looks like The Blair Witch Project where it’s of poor quality. Or they go out and hire a professional photographer who has added costs to it,” said OpenFrame Chief Revenue Officer Sean McGrail, retelling the story of Vigneras’ “A-ha!” moment. McGrail, the Co-Founder and former President of PaintNite, became acquainted with the startup after meeting OpenFrame’s co-founders at Techstars.
In 2013, Vigneras and his longtime colleague Etienne Leroy both started to brainstorm ideas on how to make taking pictures and video for agents in a much more accessible way. The French entrepreneurs have experience with imaging and video, as they are the founding team behind Sharalike, the image sharing and editing app for the average Instagram user.
Their solution for the average real estate agent? A creatively designed and portable camera for their phone.
“If you look at the DNA of the company, it’s working with photo and video, but it’s working with it in a simple way,” said Leroy. “If you look at Sharalike, we wanted my grandmother to be able to make a photo montage. It’s the same with the real estate market, they need something simple to put together. In terms of technology, the whole industry is behind the times, and they are trying to catch the train.”
Once they had a prototype on their hands and a select group of beta users, OpenFrame became a new tech startup for the French entrepreneurial team in 2015.
OpenFrame’s product and business
OpenFrame has developed an easy-to-use product: an iOS app and camera combo. The OpenFrame camera features a 360 lens allowing for agents to take photos and video from all kinds of angles within the property. A user can even take panoramic shots of the house as well, giving the potential buyer an even more substantial look at the home or apartment.
After taking a photo or video, they are uploaded onto the app where users can edit and upload to whichever real estate platform the realtor is on. OpenFrame is compatible with multiple listing services such as Zillow, Trulia, and Apartments.com. And for an added touch, a user can add one of the royalty-free songs to the app to a slideshow, giving it a little more flair.
The app is designed for the non-tech savvy realtors out there, which Vigneras and Leroy found to be a common trait with smaller-scale agents.
“There tend to be two types of realtors. One that wants to be the multi-million dollar real estate agent and the one that wants to spend their time with their kids,” said McGrail. “It’s more important to be a member of the community, so time is more important to them than making piles of money. By being able to edit and upload on their phone, those agents won’t have to wait for post-production and can get out there.”
The startup is currently utilizing a monthly subscription fee and now has 150 agents in Belmont snapping photos with their product, with plans on rolling out more across small towns in Massachusetts. Both McGrail and Leroy have mentioned the positive word-of-mouth within the area which, has encouraged organic growth.
What is OpenFrame up to now?
OpenFrame is a recent graduate of Techstars, and was part of the 2018 cohort. Not only were they able to connect with the Boston startup community at large, but it is where Leroy and Vigneras met McGrail.
OpenFrame is currently stationing within the coworking space GSVlabs. In an exciting trend, eight of the startups from the 2018 cohort have moved together to the new location. Since they are such a close-knit group of startups, they will host cross-company social gatherings and can ping-pong ideas off of each other.
The team is seven people deep in Boston, with hopes to build out a sales team and help bring an even higher level of assistance to agents that need it in the Hub.