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A blog from CityRealty (Links below will take you to the 6sqft site)
 
 

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Interview Localize.city president steve kalifowitz Steve believes Localize.city, which launched this past April, may soon become a household name.
If you've been following tech news lately, you've likely come across the startup Localize.city, a new website that offers seriously helpful insights on any address in the five boroughs through the use of artificial intelligence. The technology analyzes thousands of data-sets, extracts what's potentially relevant, and converts that into up to 30 bite-sized pieces of information for users – we're talking everything from new green spaces and bike lanes to planned nearby construction and rat infestations. The mission? To ensure both buyers and renters are making an informed decision when moving.

The website, which launched earlier this year, is already popular with New Yorkers as well as investors – the startup raised $8 million in Series A funding last week.

Below, CityRealty talks with Steve Kalifowitz, former director of brand strategy for Twitter and the now president of Localize.city.
Localize.city insights on rental building 63 Wall Street in FiDi

What inspired you to join Localize?

Steve: New York is synonymous with real estate. It's also my home.

I couldn't pass up the opportunity to create a company that will undoubtedly become a household name. I completely believe in the mission of helping solve the biggest problem New Yorker's struggle with: finding a great place to live, with the confidence of knowing you made a good decision. But the company’s vision wasn't the only factor. The team is incredible. They bootstrapped themselves in Israel to become a household name throughout the country and prior to that, they all have experience building unicorns: internet companies that reached $1B+ valuations. I’m humbled by their experience, intelligence, and successful track record.

What are the challenges and rewards of leading a first-of-its-kind start-up company?

Steve: As you mention, this is a first-of-its-kind company. By definition we need to invent everything; we can’t buy a solution or copy a process.

For example, we are the only company that has brought Data Scientists and Urban Planners together to collaborate daily. They’re working to decypher complicated, raw data to help all New Yorkers find the right home, and know more about the home they’re already in. We had to invent the process by which they collaborate and even build tools. They use these tools to co-author machine-learning algorithms which power our website’s AI.

A similarly difficult challenge is presenting this information in an easy-to-understand manner. I believe our design team has done an incredible job making a visually stunning interface. We’re lucky to have our Creative Director, Mushon Zer Aviv, who led map development at Waze. He’s bringing that experience to this challenge.

The most rewarding part is seeing the response from New Yorkers. In April, the same month that we launched, we had over 1 Million insights read! That is definitive proof that we have created a product and an experience that offers value for New Yorkers.

What are some more neighborhood and demographic insights you hope to add to Localize?

Steve: We wake up every morning with the vision of creating the most accurate picture of what it's like to live at every address in NYC, today and predict what the future holds.

We're adding new insights every day. Our insights touch on everything that matters to people when they chose a home: from nearby construction and pricing, to community, livability, transportation, safety and schools. And we're continuously going deeper and wider.

I’m really excited about the new insights we’re developing to help young families know more about what it will be like to raise kids. As a parent of two young children, it’s not easy. There’s a lot I wish I knew before choosing my home — most parents I know feel the same way
Steve Kalifowitz, president of Localize.city

What do you envision Localize becoming?

Steve: We will be the primary destination for everyone thinking of moving to a new home, throughout the world. We will provide a complete view on what life will be like today, paired with predictions for the future at every address. This will allow people to find a great place to live, with the confidence of knowing they made a good decision.

Can you talk about your relationship with REBNY and other current and future partnerships?

Steve: We’ve been really excited about the response our website has been receiving. Many organizations, public and private have reached out asking how we can partner. We’re in the final stages of integration with several of them and will be launching the partnerships shortly. In the next few weeks we’ll publicly announce the details.

How soon do you plan on expanding to other cities?

Steve: By Q4 of this year we’re aiming to have offices open in 5 additional cities and by Q2 2019, we’ll be live in those cities. Watch for updates!
Content Specialist Sandra Herrera Sandra Herrera is a writer, editor, and graphic designer based in Brooklyn, NY.
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