At the May NAR Legislative Meetings in Washington D.C., a partnership was announced between NAR and UpstreamRE, LLC to leverage the RPR technology platform to develop a new data management service for Brokers known as Project Upstream. The announcement culminated several months of discussions between the leaders of many of the nation’s largest brokerages and franchise networks and NAR, and represents a significant opportunity to leverage RPR’s five-year investment in data and technology on behalf of the industry.
Project Upstream will be built on RPR’s Advanced Multi-list Platform™ (AMP™). AMP provides a new technology foundation for MLSs to serve brokers and agents. This unified platform will have two distinct servicing components:
Upstream is a single point of listing entry, management, and distribution for brokerages.
AMP is parcel-centric database to power MLS services.
While a great deal has already been reported about the NAR/UpstreamRE partnership, I’d like to outline how the projects came together over the previous months, beginning in 2013.
• June 2013-RPR was approached by Rob Hahn of 7DS Consulting to assess the current and future technology options being considered by MLSs.
• October 2013-Craig Cheatham, CEO of The Realty Alliance addressed a CMLS Conference in Boise ID, with a list of Realty Alliance concerns related to MLS technology. This begins the discussion of a potential broker-centric technology project.
• November 2013-Clareity Consulting publishes a list of broker concerns. RPR is approached at the NAR Annual Convention in San Francisco about its interest in submitting a response to the coming Project Upstream Request For Proposals (RFP).
• December 2013-RPR receives the first formal request to discuss an MLS technology project from Tim Dain CEO of Southern Illinois Regional MLS (SIRMLS). 7DS Consulting delivers a report outlining the opportunity for a front-end/back-end MLS concept.
• February/March 2014-The Upstream RFP is issued and the Upstream Technology Task Force is formed to assess RFP responses from multiple vendors.
• April-September 2014-RFP responses are assessed by Upstream. RPR engages Bob Bemis of Procuring Cause Consultants to begin to assess inquiries from multiple MLSs regarding an extension of the RPR Platform into an MLS “back-end” solution.
• October 2014-Upstream’s governance model is established, creating the UpstreamRE Board of Managers. UpstreamRE, LLC is incorporated. RPR receives additional formal letters of requests from MLSs interested in a front-end/back-end split and creates a project initiative named Advanced Multi-list Platform™ (AMP™).
• November 2014-RPR meets with several large brokerage and franchise CEOs to discuss AMP™, seeking to inform the Upstream participants of the parallel development and gain their input on RPR’s AMP™ project.
• January 2015-RPR reports to the NAR Leadership Team in Chicago, IL on the progress of AMP™. RPR’s Senior Management Team also participates in additional meetings with the leadership of Large Franchise companies, creating the first combined assessment of the Upstream/AMP™ unified development concept.
• February-April 2015-Numerous meetings occur between NAR Leadership and UpstreamRE, LLC, focused on leveraging the RPR asset to fulfill Project Upstream’s stated goals. As a result, RPR was requested to submit a revised technology proposal.
• May 2015-NAR Leadership, RPR and the UpstreamRE, LLC Board of Managers meet in Washington D.C. and execute a Letter of Intent, subject to the NAR Board of Directors approval. The NAR Board of Directors approves funding for the Upstream/AMP initiative.
While the concept moved very quickly during the NAR Legislative Conference, the discussion, deliberation and input received occurred over some 18 months prior to the formation of the NAR/UpstreamRE, LLC partnership. During the next few months UpstreamRE/NAR/RPR will be focusing on the completion of the final agreement and the beginning of the development process.