real estate tech

Housing startup founded by former Zillow execs expands in Texas

A new digital platform for home purchases and mortgages has expanded in the Lone Star Stat. Photo via Getty Images

Tomo Networks, a fintech startup that operates a digital platform for home purchases and mortgages, has expanded its offerings statewide after launching in the summer of 2021 in Houston and Dallas.

Founded in October 2020 by former Zillow Group executives Greg Schwartz and Carey Armstrong, Tomo launched over the summer with a $70 million seed funding round led by Ribbit Capital. DST Global, NFX, SVB Capital, and Zigg Capital participated in the seed round.

“Tomo’s cutting-edge platform is unlike anything else available to homebuyers,” Nick Huber, a partner at Ribbit Capital, says in a news release. “The real estate market has not been skewed toward the buyer in quite some time, and we saw a huge opportunity to get behind a company that will do just that.”

A recent analysis of the Houston home market by Skylar Olsen, principal economist at Tomo, shows Bayou City remains among the most affordable U.S. markets and continues to provide homeownership opportunities.

According to the Tomo analysis, the gap in Houston between millennials’ share of the population and their share of total housing value has improved, shrinking from 9.7 percentage points to 9 percentage points in 20 years. “Millennials make up the largest generation of Houston’s total population,” the analysis says.

In November, the median price of a home in the Houston area rose 16.3 percent to tie the record high of $314,000 set in June, the Houston Association of Realtors says.

Tomo, based in Stamford, Connecticut, bills itself as “the first platform in the real estate space that is specifically focused on the buyer experience.” The company believes its digitally oriented approach holds strong appeal for millennials and other young homebuyers.

Tomo guarantees an on-time closing and a price match, meaning that if you find a better deal, the company will match it. Tomo says it cuts the time for mortgage preapproval by as much as 55 percent.

The company initially launched in Houston and Dallas as well as Seattle. Aside from its headquarters in Connecticut, Tomo maintains offices in Austin and Seattle. In Dallas, the startup recently rolled its first-ever ad campaign.

“In today’s housing market, buying is not an enjoyable experience; it has become competitive, stressful, and confusing, and too many people are coming away from it empty-handed. As single-family homes become commoditized by investors, the American dream is moving further and further out of reach. We are going to change that,” says Schwartz, CEO of Tomo.

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Building Houston

 
 

Catch up on two big pieces of news landing at the Houston Spaceport. Image via fly2houston.com

The Space City is starting 2022 off strong with news launching out of the Houston Spaceport — a TK-acre space in TK Houston.

The two big headlines include a unicorn company releasing the latest details of its earthbound project and fresh funds from the state to support the space ecosystem in Texas.

Governor Abbott doles out $10M in spaceport grants

Texas has launched fresh funding into two spaceport projects. Image via fly2houston.com

Last week, Gov. Greg Abbott announced $10 million in funding to two Texas spaceports as a part of the state's Spaceport Trust Fund. The Houston Spaceport Development Corp. received $5 million and the Cameron County Spaceport Development Corp. received $5 million.

The fund is administered by the Governor's Office of Economic Development and Tourism and was created to support the development of spaceport infrastructure, create quality jobs, and attract continuing investments that will strengthen the economic future of the state, according to a news release.

"For decades, Texas has been a trailblazer in space technology and we are proud to help cultivate more innovation and development in this growing industry in Cameron and Harris County," says Abbott in the release. "This investment in the Cameron County and Houston Spaceport Development Corporations will create even more economic opportunities for Texans across the state and continue our legacy as a leader in space technology."

Axiom Space hires Dallas-based architecture and engineering firm

Axiom Space has made progress on developing its 14-acre headquarters. Image via axiomspace.com

Houston-based unicorn Axiom Space has announced that it awarded Dallas-based Jacobs the architecture and engineering phase one design contract. The firm will be working on the 100,000-square-foot facility planned for the 400-acre Houston Spaceport at Ellington Airport.

Axiom Space's plans are ro build the first commercial space station that will provide a central hub for research, to support microgravity experiments, manufacturing, and commerce in low Earth orbit missions, according to a news release.

"This is an exciting and historic moment for Axiom and the greater Houston area," says Axiom CTO Matt Ondler in the release. "For the first time, spacecraft will be built and outfitted right here in Houston, Texas. This facility will provide us with the infrastructure necessary to scale up operations and bring more aerospace jobs to the area. With this new facility, we are not only building next generation spacecraft, but also solidifying Houston as the U.S. commercial industry's gateway to space."

Axiom Space, which raised $130M in venture capital last year, is building out its 14-acre headquarters to accommodate the creation of more than 1,000 high-paying jobs, from engineers to scientists, mathematicians, and machinists.

"Houston is a city built on innovation and is becoming a next-generation tech hub in the United States," says Ron Williams, senior vice president at Jacobs. "Privately funded infrastructure will drive U.S. leadership in space. Jacobs is committed to providing integrated solutions to accelerate the future of commercial space operations."

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