Read the 16-page pitch deck that ‘Million Dollar Listing’ star Josh Flagg and his cofounders used to raise $1.7 million for their real estate media startup

Estate Media founders (L-R) Andrew Shanfeld, Josh Flagg, and Griff O'Brien.
  • “Million Dollar Listing” star Josh Flagg, media exec Griff O’Brien, and investor Andrew Shanfeld started Estate Media.
  • They want to bring a personality-driven approach to real estate media.
  • See the deck they used to raise $1.65 million from Rich Antoniello, Morning Brew’s Austin Rief, and others.

Celebrity real estate agent Josh Flagg, media exec Griff O’Brien, and investor Andrew Shanfeld have teamed up to launch Estate Media, a personality-driven media company.

Real estate has become a huge pop culture topic, aided by reality TV series like “Selling Sunset” and the “Million Dollar Listing” franchise. The industry got a boost early on in the pandemic with a rash of home buying (which has since subsided) and a flood of people entering the profession. The business also became more reliant on the web in the pandemic as people went online to tour and buy homes and watch real estate influencer content.

O’Brien, who appeared on Insider’s 2022 list of Rising Stars in the Entertainment Business, said Estate Media grew out of a serendipitous meeting he had with Flagg and Shanfeld, whom he met through a friend, Jack Davis, co-founder of Crypt TV. He took inspiration from other personality-driven companies like Magnolia — the content and merch empire built around former HGTV stars Chip and Joanna Gaines — and The Chernin Group-backed Epic Gardening.

“The idea was, can we create an ecosystem play where we bring in all these personalities and create assets around them that we own,” O’Brien told Insider. “There were these old real estate pubs and reality programming and there really wasn’t anyone in the middle who was creating content that was entertaining and also educating.”

The company will offer content created with a network of real estate personalities who, Estate Media said, reach a collective 25 million followers.

The mission is to be trade-focused while also serving consumers. Initial offerings include a class by Flagg, an original star of Bravo’s “Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles,” which follows real estate agents as they try to sell high-end properties. There’s also a podcast featuring TikTok-famous broker Margot Ettedgui discussing pop-culture trends and celeb real estate gossip; and a video podcast where agent and TikToker Aaron Grushow chats with other big names in the business like Robert Rivani, Glennda Baker, and Ricky Carruth. Other shows for digital and television are in the works. 

Estate Media believes it can ride the market’s ups and downs

Bringing media business expertise is O’Brien, who serves as Estate Media’s CEO and worked in content acquisition at Roku and Amazon before moving to Pocket.Watch, a studio that tries to turn YouTube stars into global franchises.

The company plans to make money through advertising from real estate, financial, and luxury brands; providing leads to real estate companies; and paid membership to communities built around the network of influencers. O’Brien said he expects ad revenue to top $1 million this year and that he sees educational content becoming a “nice seven-figure business.”

While the real estate industry has come down from its pandemic frenzy, O’Brien believes Estate Media can ride ups and downs in the market. 

“The number of new people coming in is unsustainable, but it will remain the largest asset class in the world,” he said. “There are always going to be buyers and sellers seeking information.” 

Estate Media has raised $1.65 million in seed funding from Adam Weitsman, CEO of Upstate Shredding, a scrap metal processor, and Chris Heller, president of Ojo Labs, a real estate tech company, as well as several investors with media backgrounds: Rich Antoniello, co-founder and former CEO of Complex Networks, Austin Rief, co-founder and CEO of Morning Brew, and Devin Emery, chief content officer of Morning Brew. (Morning Brew shares a corporate parent with Insider.) 

Brian Goldsmith, co-founder and partner at Avenue Growth Partners; and Powerhouse Capital also participated. 

Advising the company are Ricky Van Veen, co-founder of CollegeHumor and Vimeo; Justin Killion, former Complex Networks president; Jack Davis; and Spence Markel, co-founder of Pearpop.

Scroll down to see the deck Estate Media used to raise its seed round.

The founders of Estate Media want to capitalize on real estate’s shift online.

Estate Media

They point to rising demand for real estate jobs and content such as reality TV shows.

They want to reach buyers and sellers as well as real estate professionals.

Estate Media

They estimate that there are 1.75 million real estate agents in the US and 13 million people buying and selling homes each year.

Estate Media lays out the real estate media landscape.

Estate Media

The startup wants to be more entertaining and wider in reach than existing publications centered on real estate.

The founders believe there’s room for a media platform that entertains while educating people about real estate.

Estate Media

Estate Media says the company is made up of three divisions.

Estate Media

They are video, podcast and newsletter content; advertising sales; and adjacent businesses, where Estate Media plans to develop and sell products to the industry.

Estate Media lays out its business model.

Estate Media

Estate Media plans to sell advertising, based on the collective reach of its influencer network, as well as develop recurring revenue streams.

Estate Media gives an example of how it will make money through sponsorships.

Estate Media

It created a series with one of the real estate pros in its network, Margot Ettedgui, that was sponsored for $75,000 by the National Association of Mortgage Brokers.

It also plans to use newsletters as a source of revenue.

Estate Media

In another case study, Estate Media describes how it launched “The Glennda Gazette,” around real estate pro Glennda Baker, that was sponsored by Realtor.com. They plan to extend it to a paid membership community that the company says will generate $125,000 per year.

Estate Media will tap into real estate pros who are known from reality TV, including its cofounder Josh Flagg.

Estate Media

They’ve appeared on the “Million Dollar Listing” and “Selling Sunset” franchises.

It’ll also leverage big online stars from the real estate world.

Estate Media

They include Baker and Aaron Grushow, an LA agent with 1.4 million followers on TikTok.

 

Estate Media’s network also includes other real estate pros with sizable followings.

Estate Media

They include Ricky Carruth, a Gulf Coast real estate agent who has a robust presence on social media, where he doles out tips to aspiring agents.

It’s also tapping into real estate enthusiasts who share entertaining content on social media.

Estate Media

One, known as Zillowtastrophes, shares “Hidden gems and downright disasters” to her 60,000 followers on Instagram.

Estate Media plans to use these creators and personalities to create and amplify its content.

Estate Media

Estate Media explains how it plans to generate recurring revenue.

Estate Media

It sold tickets to a live class by Josh Flagg that generated $52,500 in revenue. It plans to sell filmed version of the class and others for aspiring real estate professionals.

Estate Media’s founders come from the worlds of real estate, media, and investing.

Estate Media

Andrew Shanfeld is founder and president of Carolwood Equities. CEO Griff O’Brien worked in content acquisition, distribution, and monetization at CNN, Snapchat, Roku, Amazon Prime Video, and Pocket.watch. Josh Flagg is a top LA real estate agent who’s known for high-end deals and clients like the Getty and DeBartolo families.

Estate Media also has a number of entrepreneurs as investors and advisors.

Estate Media

They include College Humor founder Ricky Van Veen; Complex Networks co-founder Rich Antoniello; and Morning Brew co-founder Austin Rief.