Meet the Real Estate Tech Founder: Austin Allison from Pacaso
In our latest real estate tech entrepreneur interview, we’re speaking with Austin Allison of Pacaso. I’m hugely bullish on the fully managed LLC co-ownership model for second home ownership, which he co-founded along with Spencer Rascoff, Zillow’s former CEO who I worked under from 2007-2010.
With nomadism and work-from-anywhere now a national conversation, Pacaso is among the first out of the gate with strong ambitions to realize the opportunity to upend the age-old timeshare concept to satisfy expectations of Millennials, Generation X, and Gen Z for certainty and flexibility. Nomadism is a topic I’ve covered twice in the past few weeks for GEM members, the most recent being Transmission #145 (Nomadding to New Heights) that talks about Pacaso and Cabana seeing manifold opportunities to flip age-old industries (timeshares & hotels) on their heads.
Without further ado…
Who are you and what do you do?
I co-founded Pacaso to make the dream of second home ownership a reality for more people after experiencing the profound effect it had on my own life. Pacaso is my second startup. In 2009, I founded dotloop, a company that created software to seamlessly manage real estate transactions. Zillow acquired dotloop in 2015, and I continued to run dotloop as a Zillow executive until 2018. I started selling real estate at the age of 18 and worked in residential and commercial real estate for a decade. Outside of work, I enjoy running, flying and a variety of other hobbies. I live in Napa, CA with my wife Angela and our little dog Paris.
What problem does your product/service solve?
Democratization of second home ownership.
There are 30 million second homes in the US and Europe that sit unoccupied 10 or 11 months of the year. And there are millions of people who dream of second homes. Pacaso creates a marketplace around this, allowing people to buy shares of a home, and experience true but hassle-free homeownership.
The idea for Pacaso came from my own experience owning a second home for the first time. I felt like I had achieved a dream and wanted to make that feeling accessible to more people.
Is this co-living or co-ownership? Is there a difference?
There is a difference. Co-living is about living with other people, usually at the same time. Imagine for example four families owned a house together and they all lived there at the same time. That is co-living. Co-ownership is very different. With co-ownership, you simply own the house with other people but do NOT use the home at the same time. Pacaso is co-ownership. When you show up at your Pacaso, the home is 100% yours during that stay.
What’s are you most excited about right now?
I’m most excited about the overwhelming demand that we are experiencing at Pacaso. COVID has provided many families with the opportunity to rethink how and where they live and work; and therefore, second home ownership top of mind for many. And we can help!
What’s next for you?
Startups are all-consuming, especially in the early years. So Pacaso is what’s next for me! I had an opportunity to take a year off and “recharge my batteries” after leaving my role at Zillow in 2018, which was fun, but it got old fast. I’ve been yearning for the next thing, that wakes me up every morning energized and inspired. The Pacaso mission does that for me.
What’s a cause you’re passionate about and why?
Life is short and it’s my belief that everyone should strive to get the most out of it. So I’m constantly looking for ways to live a more present and enriched life. Second home ownership has helped me to live a more enriched life and I’m passionate about making that possible for more people.
Thanks to Austin for sharing his story. If you’d like to connect, find him on LinkedIn here.
We’re constantly looking for great real estate tech entrepreneurs to feature. If that’s you, please read this post — then drop me a line (drew @ geekestatelabs dot com).