Feather, a technology startup providing a sustainable furniture rental solution for home staging projects, emerged Wednesday as the winner of the third annual Pitch Battle at the National Association of REALTORS®’ 2021 Innovation, Opportunity & Investment Summit in Dallas.
Twelve startups bringing innovative solutions to the commercial and residential real estate marketplaces competed in the “Shark Tank”–style battle, which was hosted Tuesday by Second Century Ventures, NAR’s strategic investment arm. The contestants, representing companies in the U.S. and U.K., presented four-minute pitches to more than 400 conference attendees, including venture capitalists, technology executives, innovators, brokers, and real estate professionals. The Pitch Battle was also live streamed to thousands of virtual attendees.
Feather helps consumers and real estate pros find luxury furnishings and home decor quickly without upfront costs or the commitment of traditional retail. Jay Reno, founder and CEO of Feather, made the case to a panel of judges that his company offers a sustainable model that enables homeowners to change their style, budget, or design needs in an affordable manner. Reno noted that Feather’s mission is to empower real estate pros and their clients not only to stage and sell faster but also to enjoy their homes while reducing waste. Feather is a 2021 REACH company. REACH is NAR's technology accelerator. It operates globally, helping promising commercial and residential real estate technology start-ups launch into real estate and adjacent verticals.
At this year's iOi, the in-person and virtual attendees also were able to vote on their crowd favorite. With more than 1,200 votes cast, the honor was bestowed upon Otso, a company that provides A-rated insurance coverage for lease security. Osto is a 2021 REACH Commercial company.
The iOi Summit, which NAR launched in 2018, is in its third year after being postponed in 2020 due to restrictions associated with the coronavirus pandemic.
“This year’s iOi Summit delivered on the promise to highlight trailblazing products and ideas,” NAR CEO Bob Goldberg said in a statement. “Feather is a worthy winner whose furniture rental service is indeed impressive and will no doubt contribute to both the residential and commercial sectors—and support REALTORS® and their clients—for years to come by making the home staging process more efficient.”
As the Pitch Battle victor, Feather will receive a prize package that includes $15,000, the official Pitch Battle trophy, a booth at the 2021 REALTORS® Conference & Expo in San Diego, an exclusive opportunity to confer with the Second Century Ventures executive team, and coverage in national media.