Zillow has acquired Follow Up Boss, one of the industry’s more popular customer relationship management solutions.
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.
The deal was settled for $400 million in initial cash consideration and up to $100 million in a potential cash earnout.
Follow Up Boss will remain an independent brand accessible to all of its existing and new customers. Agents and teams will not be required to pay for any additional services. Likewise, the press release stated, “Zillow Group will continue supporting third-party CRM integrations on the Zillow Premier Agent app so Premier Agent partners can work in whichever CRM they choose.”
A CRM makes sense for Zillow. The acquisition demonstrates that the evolving proptech remains on a path to become an increasingly influential presence in the residential real estate industry with consumers and agents.
It has taken on a number of software brands of late, starting with ShowingTime in early 2021, which became the basis for ShowingTime+, an umbrella brand under which a litany of agent-oriented marketing services come to rest, such as Listing Showcase and Aryeo, a marketing media management solution which it scooped up in August.
Follow Up Boss will not be part of ShowingTime+, Zillow President Susan Daimler told Inman.
“We’re over the moon about it,” Daimler said on a call about the latest addition to her growing real estate super app, the pursuit of which she labeled, “a mission.”
Follow Up Boss’s existing feature set had what Zillow was looking for, she said. “When we have a big nut to crack, do we want to partner, do we want to build it or do we want to buy it?” she said. “Agents already love what Follow Up Boss has built.”
The companies have worked together for years as lead integration partners, meaning Zillow customers can port leads into Follow Up Boss accounts. The CRM is recognized for its vast flexibility in wielding data from partner proptechs, a feature that isn’t going anywhere, according to Daimler.
“We want Dan and his team to keep doing what they’re doing.”
“Dan” is Dan Corkill, co-founder of Follow Up Boss, who understands that some clients may not be as excited to hear about the deal. If the response to the ShowingTime acquisition is an indicator, industry reaction will be at first vociferous, then diminish into a murmur.
“I think there’s going to be two groups. Some are going to be really excited about the opportunities and what this means for the future and the platform,” Corkill said to Inman in an interview. “And then some people I think they’re just going to need more information.”
Corkill is a believer in the way Zillow has handled its many acquisitions within an industry where the user base is relatively small and passionate about the tools that help them succeed, even going all the way back to Dotloop in 2015.
The company has hired a third-party validator to audit the process to ensure all customer needs will be met according to existing terms of agreements and operating standards, Corkill said.
Daimler, having gone through this process a time or two, assured the CRM’s customers are going to like what they see, saying this “supercharges” the application.
“If you love Follow Up Boss now — just wait,” she said.
Corkill said no company acquiring another would do so only to make it worse.
“Zillow is investing in the product and our team so that we can make it more valuable and even better for our clients,” he said.
All user data, saved processes and value invested in the application as a business asset will remain private and intact, according to Corkill. Additionally, Corkill’s co-founder, Tom Markov, and their 100 employees will join him at Zillow.