To elevate the industry, Chime becomes Lofty

Publish Date: November 07, 2023

Written by Craig C. Rowe

- Originally published at Inman News - Craig C. Rowe

The rebrand to Lofty from Chime was driven by a number of business factors, such as ongoing confusion with the web bank of the same name and its evolution far beyond customer relationship management.

This November, Inman offers a deep dive into the world of proptech and the state of the startups that are building the future now. We’ll also debut a brand new coveted set of awards, Proptech All-Stars, celebrating the entrepreneurs, VCs, and visionaries in the field. It’s Proptech Month at Inman.

Popular proptech Chime Technologies is flatly stating its expectations for itself, its product and the industry with its new name, brand and direction: Lofty.

The company shared the news with Inman under an embargo, releasing it publicly today, Nov. 7. The rebrand was driven by a number of business factors, such as ongoing confusion with the web bank of the same name and its evolution far beyond customer relationship management. Lofty originated internally as the name of its multi-faceted and heavily AI-backed mobile app.

“The Lofty platform features a single, flexible hub to help automate marketing programs, streamline the sales process, maximize collaboration, and convert more leads into transactions,” a company pitch stated.

Speaking directly with Inman, Chime’s Vice President of Industry Development Stuart Sim explained that the company has evolved quickly beyond a CRM, and that the rebrand will disconnect the company from that narrow characterization.

“We’re much more than that; we are truly a full platform,” Sim said. “The evolution of where we’re going is the key, and that’s as an AI-powered tech platform, built really specifically for real estate agents, teams and brokers. It’s going to help them manage their business to optimize every step of the customer journey, from the first time they search to the time they settle.“

Lofty has put its significant expertise behind its new mobile solution, which was driven by wanting to provide agents with tools for improving the customer experience. The app features updates to its current user experience, as well as a host of new features like listing-based team collaboration; an entirely new solution for arranging showings, follow-up with leads and handling related logistics; and a comprehensive listing management stack for search, management and promotion of properties.

It’s been a busy time for industry tech players. Zillow announced last Monday the acquisition of Follow Up Boss (FUB) and Lone Wolf presented its suite of “new generation” products at the T3 Sixty conference.

Lofty and Follow Up Boss compete for customers. Sim though, believes the acquisition is good for the space. It’ll challenge Lofty and others to keep innovating, and Zillow’s place in the industry can’t be understated.

“We’ve had discussions about what our relationship looks like with them over the next 14 months,” Sim said. “The acquisition won’t change our positioning with them and their Flex program, they want to work with third parties, and I look at it completely as a positive.“

In terms of their own efforts, Sim admits a rebrand always carries some risk, especially when the value of a recognized name could absorb any loss that, for example, Follow Up Boss might experience as a result of the sale.

“There’s always that chance that they’ll go somewhere else, obviously,” Sim told Inman. “And the path that we’re going down … we believe we’re going down the right path, but what if you aren’t? What if the industry doesn’t embrace it?”

Lofty CEO Joe Chen said in a statement that he wants the new approach to inspire customers.

“As the real estate industry continues to change rapidly, we have expanded our vision to best meet the evolving needs of our customers, helping them navigate and prosper in a world that will be driven by AI,” Chen said. “Our clients can continue to expect the same high level of product innovation and commitment to addressing their business needs through the practical application of AI technology.”

Lofty began sprinkling in snippets of AI in 2019, and, like the technology itself, the company’s use of it has evolved from there, finding its way into internal processes and, of course, user-facing efficiencies that translate into benefits for buyers and sellers. In February 2023, the company reported that its chatbot AI assistant operated at a 93 percent conversational accuracy rate, following four years of product development.

At a time when the way that agents earn money is being uprooted by what is now a string of legal actions, demonstrating value to the consumer is critical for everyone with an active license.

“I truly believe we’ve got a great idea and if we execute on the plan properly, we are going to drive amazing amounts of business for real estate agents and brokers,” Sim said.

Email Craig C. Rowe

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