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A Conversation With ... Clayton Rothschild

Co-founder, CloudPano

Posted online

You’ve co-created a virtual tour software with application in real estate. How does it work?
It allows anyone to create a 360-degree virtual experience with their property. The most common use case is Realtors who want to market their property listing. They can capture their space on their phone and can use our platform to upload a series of scans of each room and create a virtual tour. A viewer can walk around as if they’re really there. It’s a virtual experience but you can add lead generation features, YouTube videos, 360 videos. So, as an agent, I can stand outside the property and introduce it, all in 360. Our biggest feature is our live video chat. It’s kind of like Zoom meets Zillow.

CloudPano recently partnered with Realtor.com. What are the terms of that deal? And how significant is it to meeting your business goals?
We are now one of three partners that integrate directly with Realtor.com. What’s cool about this is it helps to distribute 360 to the world. We’re seeing real estate undergo a lot of disruptions. Three-sixty is one more innovation to the market. When you have a major player like Realtor.com say we want to go all in on 360, that means 360 is even more accessible to the world. Anyone can scan their property, put it on CloudPano and enter an address. If that address is also listed on Realtor.com, it will be automatically exported to Realtor.com. We’ve exported thousands of listings to Realtor.com so far. It’s a nonrevenue deal. We’re fine with that because it’s part of a larger strategy to integrate directly with third parties.

On CloudPano.com, other partners listed are auto companies like Lamborghini, colleges like University of Alabama and national homebuilder Toll Brothers. How and why is the company connected with them?
The use goes well beyond real estate. This concept of virtual showings and experiences applies to a lot of industries. We’re seeing universities using it to recruit students and give tours to prospective students. Another big industry we’re seeing traction is auto sales, where dealerships scan their showrooms. Prospective buyers can walk into the showroom and sit in a car, all in 360, while meeting with a sales agent.

Your business partner, Zach Calhoon, is in Houston, Texas, where you previously lived. Having grown up in Springfield, what drew you back now as an entrepreneur?
I’ve been doing entrepreneurship my entire life. I made my first website in fourth grade. That carried through to college, post college, I was working with consulting. Entrepreneurs can’t rest, so I was always trying stuff. I met this partner of mine at church. We were doing random stuff and everything was failing. We probably did five things together. This was the one that hit. I think he saw an ad for Matterport. He called me and said, “Hey, Clayton, can we do this?” I said, “Yea, we can probably build that.” I hustled and built something. It was crappy.

He said, “I’ll walk into Coldwell Banker to their all-hands meeting, bring them breakfast tacos and I’ll demo it. And we can validate the market.” He shows up and held up his phone and said, “We can build this for you. Is anybody interested?” He passed around a white piece of paper to 60 people in the room; 30 people put their names on that paper and six of them paid us money to build the tour for them. This was in Houston. That started the journey.

I’m passionate about Springfield. When we went full time on this, I could live anywhere: Houston, Colorado, maybe a tech hub. But I chose Springfield because I really believe in the city and the entrepreneurial culture here.

What are the company’s key stats?
We started in March 2018. We had no idea what we were doing. We hired a developer from the Ukraine. We made one transaction that whole year – in November. It was for $10. Seven months of grinding and then $10. Then 2019 hit, started to get some traction. You’re getting beer money, still working for corporate. 2019 ended and our revenue was $20,000 a month. That’s nice, but you have expenses and can’t quit your job on that. Of course, when COVID hit that’s when we went exponential. We’re post-COVID now, and we don’t think COVID is driving our growth. We expect to hit seven figures this year, revenue-wise; 25,000 users, maybe 76,000 tours, and we grow by maybe 50 user sign-ups a day.

The goal with our platform is to intro 360 to the world. We do that by having a free tier. If they want to make use of our premium features, we charge $50 a month. With that, you have unlimited tours, experiences, hosting, video calls and access to team features.

Clayton Rothschild can be reached at clayton@cloudpano.com.

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