Buying a house involves a slow process of sharing a lot of physical documents between several different people. Frustrated by this process, Austin Allison founded DotLoop, a startup that invites people to digital documents instead of sending them via email or fax. Tuesday, DotLoop announced a $7 million funding round.
Allison purchased his first home at the young age of 17 and found out quickly how much paperwork can complicate the process. I had a similar experience helping my mom buy a house a few years ago — paperwork was emailed, printed, signed, scanned, and emailed or faxed between at least three people. Trying to follow the paper trail would make anyone dizzy.
DotLoop tries to cut down on all physical paperwork by creating one space, called a loop, where people can collaborate on documents. Especially in the negotiation process, this cuts down on the time spent sending documents back and forth.
“A loop is a virtual workspace in real-time, [it's like] Google Docs but with more permissions and versioning,” said Allison in an interview with VentureBeat.
Real estate agents, loan officers, and home buyers can all access a document together to hammer out the details of the deal. Once everyone approves a contract or loan document, it can be printed, signed, and processed.
Document sharing is a popular feature seen in Google Docs and Zoho Writer, services used a lot in small businesses. DotLoop only serves the real estate industry and offers a secure place for sensitive document sharing. It plans to expand into other industries in the future.
“Our vision is bigger than real estate, [we want to] eliminate paperwork in all fields,” Allison noted.
With the funding, led by Trinity Ventures, DotLoop is launching a free version of its service for individual real estate agents. It’s been serving entire real estate firms until now. It is also moving west from its headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio to open an office in San Francisco.
Raining paperwork image via Shutterstock