Placester closes another round of funding

Placester helps real estate agents build an online presence.
Placester helps real estate agents build an online presence.

Boston-based Placester, a marketing platform for real estate agents, said Tuesday it has raised $27 million in Series C funding, just seven months after the Series B round of $15 million.

Placester, a 2011 participant of startup accelerator Techstars, plans to use the investment from New Enterprise Associates and Romulus Capital to further build its engineering team and sales and marketing capabilities.

Matt Barba, Placester’s chief executive, said Placester also is planning to move its headquarters to a new location in Boston in early 2016 due to employee growth (there are now 105 people on the payroll) and rapid growth.

Placester sells software that helps real estate agents build websites that include homes on the market and stay on top of customer leads, with prices ranging from $10 to $300 per month. Placester also helps customers run Google AdWords campaigns, optimize their websites for search engines, promote their businesses on Facebook, and ramp up their online marketing materials.

This is different from real estate database Zillow, which is an all-purpose destination for individuals to check out how much homes cost. But the Seattle-based company earns most of its money by selling online ads and other marketing services to real estate agents.

About 20 percent of the 1.2 million real estate agents in the US now use Placester’s platform, Barba said. This growth since the company launched in 2011 is due in part to inking national franchise contracts earlier this year with Keller Williams and Canadian brokerage firm RE/MAX Integra.

Barba said purchasing a home is still a human-to-human transaction, but the company’s software changes the interaction that occurs before an in-person meeting.

“The software needs to know one critical thing in order for you to use it – what homes are available on the market. If the software doesn’t know the answer to that question, then you can’t use it,” Barba said. “Now that we have these big partnerships, we have something we can invest dollars behind to grow faster.”