Berkeley-Founded Hopscotch Brings VR/AR to Real EstateBy Vicky Ngo-Lam
Berkeley-Founded Hopscotch Brings VR/AR to Real Estate
Hopscotch Interactive is a property marketing services company that uses 3D Photography based on Matterport technology.
After adding two new offices, expanding abroad last year, and being nominated as top Matterport Service Partner of the year, Hopscotch looks to continue its growth and capitalize on the ever expanding possibilities of “reality capture.” Explore the Krewe of KOLOSSOS capture to check out Hopscotch’s award winning work.
I sat down with Emily Olman, CEO and founder of Hopscotch, to discuss the journey of the company and her vision for the future of VR/AR.
“You had to be there.” “If I could just picture it.” #FOMO.
Spaces will never be the same. At least, that’s how Olman sees things. As the founder of Hopscotch Interactive, Olman has been traveling the world for over two years seeking every experience she can get her hands on for visualizing space and enabling “distance selling” – giving someone a sense of presence and enabling decision making virtually.
“For Sale” and the start of something new
Olman started Hopscotch two years ago when she had a serendipitous opportunity to take home a Matterport camera from the last startup she was involved with. She snapped some photos of her mother-in-law’s property for sale in Sonoma and uploaded them to the listing. Immediately, the agent was intrigued.
Emily Olman, Founder and CEO of Hopscotch Interactive
“The phone’s been ringing off the hook twice an hour. Who did the scan? Do you do this [as a business]?”
There was instant product market fit.
Love at first sight
Over 16,000 real estate professionals representing 28,000 square miles conduct business utilizing the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).
A recent study for an international listing service found the average person takes eight minutes on a listing to choose whether to visit or not; additionally, six in ten people found it impossible to see how big the rooms are looking at an online listing. With rising competition in domestic markets, pressure is on the buyer to move quickly. One in three U.S. home buyers made an offer without visiting the home in person.
“Most (agents) are sticking with still photography…Systems are built for up to 30-40 still photos…[which are the] main media…shown,” Olman noted. “A really high end property might have a drone property video, a website, realtor may have their own website, there may be photos and a 3D model.”
Enter Matterport, the 3D photography camera that Hopscotch relies upon. The “Matterport Vision System” combines a rotating camera that processes HDR photography with 4k resolution. In addition to sending pictures captured at several intervals to an iPad, Matterport also uses a special microchip to capture and process depth using infrared scanning of the scene. The end result is editable and uploaded to a link yielding a 3D model viewable on any device, such as Google Cardboard, Daydream or Samsung Gear VR for mobile devices.
To date, over 30,000 real estate agents and brokers have used Matterport to feature their property listings. According to Redfin, as the next generation prepares for home ownership, millennials are three times more likely than baby boomers to make an offer sight unseen, a trend that is fueling Matterport adoption.
Over the the past two years, Hopscotch quickly racked up awards and accolades, being named as the one of Matterport’s Top 5 Service Partners of the Month. Most promisingly, it has cornered what Olman sees as a true niche in property marketing with services that are completely platform and media agnostic, differentiating them from the competition.
Beyond Hopscotch, Olman has been a growth catalyst in the VR/AR community as an evangelist and thought leader. Currently, Olman serves as the Co-President of the San Francisco chapter of the VR/AR Association and moderates a VR/AR community for women. By staying plugged into the tightly knit industry, she hopes to be part of advancing the revolution.
“If you’re in a position to talk to startups all the time who are using VR AR XR, you have a better sense of what’s the boundary, what’s the limit, where we are at.”
Emily Olman, CEO and Founder of Hopscotch Interactive
With several offices, including Berlin, Germany, Hopscotch has grown completely organically and is the classic model of a scrappy, bootstrapped startup. Although the company has yet to seek funding, Olman is excited to continue to grow the company along with the VR/AR community, and explore avenues for additional entrepreneurial pursuits.
Olman remains a passionate entrepreneur and highly connected with Berkeley-Haas, serving as a guest lecturer in the technology speaker series, and is currently a fellow with FORM+FUND, a Berkeley Law program that helps founders address critical operational, financial, and legal components of starting and scaling a successful business.
When reflecting on her entrepreneurship journey so far, both overseas and back home in the states, Olman enthusiastically responded, “having a job is easier, but there’s something about sticking to it. Everyone who doesn’t file a schedule C is missing the best part about being an American.”
Learn more about Hopscotch here.