Almost a decade ago, Jeremy Sicklick, co-founder and CEO of San Francisco-based HouseCanary, was working on a number of real estate projects with several builders and private equity clients to get a grip on the crumbling market. Then a partner and managing director at Boston Consulting Group, he was responsible for valuing real estate assets, and tried to predict the future appreciation of certain neighborhoods and areas. As Sicklick worked on more and more projects, he became stunned by the lack of an accurate home appraisal product in the $30 trillion residential real estate market. Real estate agents, lenders, appraisers, investors and consumers lacked the tools, resources and information to accurately and objectively value properties.
While the mining of data has transformed other industries – such as science, medicine and construction – the real estate market has lagged, as data has been fragmented and spread across 3,000 counties, more than 750 regional Multiple Listing Services and hundreds of ancillary sources. Sicklick saw a great opportunity to use technology and data science to modernize the real estate industry. He partnered with economist and statistician Chris Stroud – then a 27-year-old doctorate student – and the two formed HouseCanary in 2014. Their goal was to aggregate and analyze vast amounts of real estate data to help investors, lenders and real estate professionals make decisions in real-time. In just a few years, HouseCanary has amassed an impressive client roster that includes Invitation Homes, a leading owner and operator of single-family homes for lease and a former Blackstone subsidiary. Other clients include major lending institutions.