The CEO of a top CRM company. The COO of one of the most innovative real estate technology corporations in the country. A blockchain and cryptocurrency expert. What do these three people have in common? For starters, they’re some of the most influential figures in the real estate industry. And lucky for us, they’ll all be with us at Inman Connect: a week-long event where today’s real estate leaders can learn, network, and grow with one another.

With hundreds of brilliant individuals speaking at the conference and discussing everything from social media to MLS, there will undoubtedly be a wealth of knowledge passed around. Though real estate is one of the largest industries in the world, it’s also one of the slowest to evolve in terms of technology. Here are five people dedicated to innovation, making it their mission to move the industry forward in a myriad of ways.


Zvi Band

CRMs have been around for years, but Band has played an integral role in developing one specifically tailored to real estate. As the co-founder and CEO of Contactually, Band knows what brokerages are looking for when it comes to technology. His platform is conveniently designed in order for agents to extract the most value from their relationships, helping them automize, simplify, and prioritize their communication with clients across all their devices. With features like professional email templates, a customizable follow-up reminder system, and an easy-to-navigate pipeline productivity interface, Contactually lets agents work smarter—not harder.

It’s fitting that the seasoned engineer and entrepreneur will be speaking on a panel called “The Brokerage-Vendor Relationship” on Tuesday, January 29th at 2:20 p.m., specifically advising on the top things companies need to know before investing in new software. Band promises to share tips on how to maximize the tools agents already have as well as how to decide when it’s time to make an upgrade. Band’s technological expertise and innovative attitude are sure to make for an enlightening and motivating speech.


Maëlle Gavet

Known for their out-of-the-box thinking and rapid expansion, Compass’ focus is on digitization, creating the model of a modern real estate brokerage. Having served as the COO of the company for the past two years (and helping it close a $400 million round of seed funding last September), Gavet has invaluable knowledge regarding real estate technology. Gavet will be appearing on the panel entitled “Lighting a Fire in the Age of Innovation” on Wednesday, January 30th at 10:15 a.m. As the Chief of Operations, Gavet is in a unique position to speak about the multi-billion dollar business. We can’t wait to see what she and Compass have planned for 2019.


Natalia Karayaneva

Blockchain, Bitcoin, crytocurrency—you’ve no doubt heard these terms. But what do they have to do with the real estate industry? Well, according to Karayaneva—the CEO of Propy, a global property store and decentralized title registry built on Ethereum blockchain—the answer is a lot. An expert on some of the most exciting yet risky technology in recent history, Karayaneva knows that blockchain and cryptocurrency continue to be buzzed about topics in the estate industry and remain at the forefront of numerous technological and financial-based discussions. We can’t wait to catch her on the “Enhancing the Consumer Experience Through Technology” panel on Monday, January 28th at 3:35 p.m., where she will discuss the limitless potential this technology presents for real estate transactions.


Jessica Edwards

Ranked the #1 realtor at Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage, Edwards is truly an expert when it comes to luxury property worldwide. Not only that, but she has also been making waves for her work on the company’s YouTube page, hosting short, educational videos with topics like the difference between a condo and a townhouse and sharing key tips for first-time sellers. The content has amassed millions of views, making her a recognizable face in the industry and accessible resource for people all across the globe. It’s more than appropriate that Edwards will be appearing on the “Agent Connect” panel on Tuesday, January 29th at 10:35 a.m.

Mike Schneider

Everyone knows they can increase their business by taking on new clients, but many people don’t realize they can also expand their reach by maximizing relationships they already have. One of the biggest mistakes agents can make is not understanding the full value and potential of current clients. The CEO and Co-founder of First, a predictive analytics platform that uses artificial and predictive intelligence to help make client outreach more effective, personal, and timely, Schneider is a master at growing businesses and maintaining meaningful client relationships. Better yet, the platform’s features are specifically designed to help you save time. This balance is invaluable anywhere, but it is especially crucial in the real estate market. We can’t wait to get his insight during the discussion entitled “Hunting, Fishing, and Farming: Finding People Who Need You” on Wednesday, January 30th at 2:05 p.m.

Who are you most excited to see at Inman Connect this year? Which panels are you most looking forward to? Don’t miss our CEO Malte Kramer on the “From Marketing to Closing: Automating the Deal” panel Tuesday, January 29th at 10:25 a.m.