November 3, 2017 - As originally published by the Queen's Journal. Feature photo credit: Matt Graves, PropertySpark Co-founder
Co-founded by a group of Queen’s students and alumni, PropertySpark has been admitted into Canada’s Top Software Technology Accelerator, L-Spark.
According to their website, L-Spark was created to “help a new generation of software companies flourish in Canada.” The program connects Software as a Service (SaaS) entrepreneurs with Canada’s SaaS experts to help them develop their companies, access resources and form potential partnerships.
PropertySpark co-founder Matt Graves, Comm ’18, told The Journal the L-Spark Accelerator admission process spanned a period of approximately four months. After narrowing the applicant pool from 400 groups to seven, PropertySpark was selected as a finalist.
PropertySpark’s website says the company is “the social media solution for realtors.” The digital platform targets realtors who want to advertise and publish their content on social media.
Realtors purchase a subscription to PropertySpark and are then given access to the platform’s features. Real estate advertisements are generated and strategically distributed throughout their geographic area of expertise. The platform has garnered an audience of over 300,000 people.
Originally co-founded co-founded by Comm '16s Sam Battista and Justin Herlick, Matt was brought on as a co-founder in June, along with Eng' 16 Damon Richardson.“It started as a way to help Sam’s dad, Phil, manage his social media accounts. Once Sam realized that his help caused Phil’s revenue to go from $110,000 to $210,000, he knew that there was an opportunity for social media-based business,” Graves told The Journal.
After agreeing to help Battista, Graves packed his bags and moved to Toronto from Kingston. Despite the big move, he didn’t fully realize the opportunities PropertySpark was going to bring him.
“When I arrived to Toronto, what I didn’t realize was that Sam was still working out of his dad’s basement,” Graves said. After discovering this, Graves was ready to dive in and asked Battista “Where do we start?”
Despite their early successes, Graves remains committed to completing his degree. While working out of Toronto from Monday to Thursday, Graves’ is enrolled in five courses this semester. This requires him to commute between campus and work throughout the week. In addition, Graves also manages a team of four people at PropertySpark.
When asked how he balances working at PropertySpark and pursuing his degree, Graves says that “there’s never really a balance, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.”
Graves believes entrepreneurs shouldn’t be afraid to take on risks, even financial ones. “If you’re going to be an entrepreneur, you need to take on debt,” Graves said.
With the support of L-Spark, Graves anticipates PropertySpark to continue its growth. They currently have nine employees and will be recruiting for more in the new year.
“We’re expanding and we know that there are people who have like-minded interests, we’re always looking to chat and we’re looking for the next best thing.”