🚀Come and see us live at AREC on the 26 – 27th May 🚀

🚀Come and see us live at AREC on the 26 – 27th May 🚀

Fully customisable presentation builder designed for agents
All-in-one digital document signing platform with up-to-date contracts
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Browse Properties
18 Sep 2023

The Realtair Story

Behind every successful startup lies a story of visionaries and their determination to create something extraordinary – of brilliant minds huddled in garages, soldering the future of technology together with their bare hands. 

While Realtair may have begun in the sunny backyards of the Lower North Shore in Sydney rather than the dark corners of a garage, its origin story is no less inspiring.

It all started on a casual Saturday evening when agents Pete Matthews and Shane Slater, directors of a leading real estate office at that time, found themselves contemplating the many challenges facing principals and agents. With drinks in hand and a shared passion for the industry, they let themselves think big.

They imagined an industry where real estate transactions could be conducted seamlessly with just a tap of a button. They envisioned a world where the location of a property would no longer hinder the transaction process, but rather a factor limited to the physical aspect of the house itself.

As the idea took shape, they realised they had stumbled upon something quite extraordinary. They recognised that this idea had the potential to not only transform their personal lives – but to revolutionise the property buying and selling industry as a whole. 

And so Realtair was born.

Assembling a great team

Realtair was driven by the desire to solve long-standing problems in the sales transaction process. Pete explains their motivation: “What we were looking to solve when we created Realtair was to address a problem in the sales transaction process, which materially hadn’t changed that much in 32 years.”

In their quest to bring their vision to life, Pete investigated all the tech options available in the real estate market and while there were no shortages, none aligned.

To handle the added workload, Realtair expanded their team. However, instead of improving efficiency, this approach exacerbated the challenges they faced. Pete reflects, “We threw people at what ultimately was a process and technology problem.”

Recognising the need for guidance and expertise, Pete reached out to many industry veterans for advice. However, little did he know that his search for guidance would lead him not to those who had been in the industry for a while, but to those with a fresh perspective. Enter: Blake Williams.

Despite being only 17 at the time, Blake emerged as the missing piece of the puzzle. His technical acumen and engineering capabilities made him an invaluable addition to the team. 

This marked a turning point in Realtair’s journey, as they now had the right team assembled and the necessary expertise to drive their vision forward. The stage was set.

An exciting business is born

Their vision for Realtair was clear: to create a platform that would revolutionise the transaction process in the real estate industry by streamlining operations and introducing transparency and digital accessibility for all parties involved.

“We realised that agents have been working the same way for decades,” explains Blake. “For such a large and important transaction, the tech that supports agents has been relatively underdeveloped and underserved. We started Realtair to develop a solution to empower agents and redefine what the process of buying and selling property could look like.”

However, like many startups in their early stages, their vision exceeded their technological capabilities. Pete describes the situation, saying, “It was a movie set of software. It needed a lot of manual work at first.”

Nevertheless, their determination knew no bounds, and they dedicated the following years to building the platform. In 2016, Realtair was finally launched—a momentous occasion that happened to coincide with the birth of Blake’s first son, just three days apart. In a poetic sense, it felt as though two children were born simultaneously.

And it wasn’t long before one of those children began taking its first steps.

“For such a large and important transaction, the tech that supports agents has been relatively underdeveloped and underserved. We started Realtair to develop a solution to empower agents and redefine what the process of buying and selling property could look like."

Headshot_Blake Williams
Blake Williams
Chief Operating Officer & Co-Founder, Realtair

A moment of purpose

The Agency, McGrath, and other agencies quickly became customers, recognising the early potential. This marked a significant milestone for the budding company, providing them with valuable insights and learnings along the way.

Pete, Blake, and Shane formed a close-knit team, meeting regularly to align their vision with the evolving market demands. Both Pete and Shane remained active in the real estate market, allowing them to stay connected to the industry’s pulse and understand the needs of agents.

However, the defining moment for them came when they travelled to the Philippines to meet with the team. This trip served as a confirmation of their commitment and determination to make Realtair a success. 

“We’re committed to this – we’ve drawn on our own equity,” shared Pete. “Don’t worry about Realtair’s future, because we’re absolutely invested.” It was this unwavering dedication that solidified their legitimacy in Pete’s eyes.

With this pivotal moment, Realtair’s journey took on a new level of significance and purpose. Their dedication, combined with their growing customer base and continuous learning, propelled them further on their path to success.

Final piece of the product puzzle

In the early stages of Realtair, their product was still under development, and the Sign feature had not yet been introduced. However, it would later prove to be a crucial addition to their journey.

With the goal of securing investment opportunities, the team embarked on a trip to Las Vegas, where they managed to secure a prime location on a corner block situated between hotels and a real estate expo venue.

It was outside the Bellagio, near the iconic fountain, that a significant turning point occurred. Finally they received a very important call from Australia confirming they had found their first venture capital investor.

However, a challenge loomed ahead: the team had to navigate their way through the bustling streets of Vegas, back and forth, to ensure the contracts were signed. This experience served as a catalyst, igniting the realisation that there had to be a better, more efficient way to handle such crucial tasks.

Pete vividly recalls this moment as one that underscored the need for a digital signing solution, emphasising the importance of Sign in simplifying future contract processes and eliminating the logistical hurdles they encountered.

Success is a combination of hard work and fate

The future was looking prosperous for Realtair with a freshly signed partnership and investment from REA. They continued to refine their technology in the lead-up to 2020, working tirelessly to reach this point. However, in the realm of business, success often hinges on a combination of hard work and fate. 

Just as they were finalising the acquisition of AuctionNow, an online auction platform they found promising but hadn’t fully grasped the need for yet, the unforeseen events of 2020 unfolded with the announcement of lockdowns. 

In an instant, everything changed.

Overnight, the entire industry found themselves in need of Realtair’s technology. The team had to quickly educate and onboard everyone on how to utilise their platform effectively.

The timeline unfolded rapidly, and within a week the team faced the daunting task of ensuring that 550 online auctions could go live in one day, which included training 300 Auctioneers in the three days prior.

At the same time another timely acquisition of the Real Estate Academy from Lee Woodward was made, this was a strategic move to broaden the customer base and provide a strong training program to customers. Today Realtair has an online training library and representation from several industry ambassadors delivering Realtair content and product training in Australia and New Zealand.

Reflecting on this period, Pete admits, “I honestly don’t know if I’d do it again, to be honest.” It was an incredibly stressful time, but also one that laid the foundation for their future success.

The COVID-19 pandemic completely transformed the landscape, and it served as a catalyst for Realtair’s growth. It showcased the industry the potential of their platform and demonstrated how Realtair is an integral part of shaping the future.

The future of Realtair is bright and exciting

Realtair’s commitment to innovation and constant improvement is another key aspect of its success.

 “The future of Realtair is bright and exciting,” Pete explains. “If we’re always innovating our products, then we’re offering greater value to not only agents but also to their customers.”

Blake also shares his excitement for the future of Realtair, including their plans to expand internationally: “I’m in a privileged position to be able to influence and impact our product development… We see real opportunity outside of Australia to deliver our solutions internationally.”

Overall, Realtair’s success is a testament to their dedication to empowering agents and improving the real estate transaction process. 

As Blake states: “We want every agent to be empowered to deliver world-class and the best possible experience for their buyers and their sellers.”

Pete Matthews calling an auction in front of an in-person and online audience, live-streamed via Realtair.

The future of real estate

The story of Realtair is one that embodies the entrepreneurial spirit and the power of determination.

From casual conversations on a Saturday evening to overcoming challenges and seizing opportunities, Pete, Shane, Blake, and the entire team at Realtair have proven that success is born from a combination of hard work, vision, and a touch of fate. 

As they continue to refine their technology, adapt to changing market demands, and drive innovation in the real estate industry, Realtair stands as a testament to the transformative power of a dream brought to life. 

With each milestone achieved, they hope to shape the future of property transactions and empower agents worldwide. 

The journey has just begun and we all feel that the best is yet to come for Realtair and the industry we serve.