The Silicon Review
“We put the integrity of the real estate industry at the heart of everything we do.”
ZOCCAM, a software company, has been a game-changer for the home buying experience. Founded in 2015 by Ashley Cook, ZOCCAM is a mobile application that works on both iOS and Android. It allows consumer home buyers or real estate agents to send their funds via mobile remote deposit capture to the title company or settlement service provider. Completely remote, no drive time needed; no catch, and is free to the homebuyer.
To highlight and further understand what ZOCCAM stands for and its roadmap in this segment, I sat down with Ashley Cook (founder), who serves as the company’s Chief Executive Officer.
Cook has spent the majority of her life in or around the real estate industry. Her mother became a realtor when she was about 10 years old, and she remembers how daunting it was for her mother to drive around and pick up contracts and checks, then drive them to the title company. After receiving her B.A. and Juris Doctorate from Southern Methodist University, she went on to build a legal practice focused on representing title companies and real estate brokers. This experience gave her the vision and passion for transforming payments in the real estate industry to increase security and ease for all participants. “That’s when a green light went off,” said Cook.
The only patented regulatory compliant solution on the market, the ZOCCAM mobile app takes the manual delivery, deposit, and document management out of the closing process and allows users to safely transfer funds to banks through the bank’s individual secure file transfer protocol. Their processes and procedures reduce risk and transaction time while increasing security and transparency and creating trust in the transaction. All in all, this means no more tracking down checks and running around town to get everything to the title company or settlement service provider.
Aside from time and convenience, the most significant benefit ZOCCAM offers is increased security. The real estate industry suffers from billions of dollars of loss from wire fraud. ZOCCAM takes that risk out by connecting directly with the bank. Simply put, ZOCCAM has put its own security protocols into place that have been designed to avoid any threat. In addition to this, the ZOCCAM application does not contain or hold any financial information within the platform. These steps take the security risks from the transactions by reducing potential fraud for the buyer, seller, agent, and broker. While the title settlement space has had millions of dollars in losses each year, ZOCCAM has never lost a dollar.
“We put the integrity of the real estate industry at the heart of everything we do,” said Cook. “I have always loved this industry. The people are fantastic, and we are all trying to be the best for the home buyers and sellers. I believe that technology should be compliant with the regulatory requirements, especially in the payments space. It costs more and takes more time to deliver, but in the end, you can’t take shortcuts if you want to be the best, and you can’t think only about profit. You must be mindful of the needs of the people you serve.”
The real estate industry, among many others, faced new challenges and realities in 2020. In an industry known for being in-person, many found themselves working remotely. With the relevant products and processes already in place, ZOCCAM ensured that real estate deals continued to close during the pandemic.
Previously used largely by agents, the ZOCCAM app finds unprecedented buyer attention. ZOCCAM has removed the location barriers between the escrow agent, realtors, and consumers. “We believe, more than ever, that the ability to open the order without needing to visit the branch will attract customers that were once dissuaded by geographical proximity.”
In addition to its user-friendly platform, ZOCCAM works to educate both consumer home buyers and real estate agents on ways to keep their money safe. Issues like ACH payments, which are not allowed to be used in an Escrow account because the funds can be retracted up to 60 days, and security regulations and consumer protections within this field, are important topics that ZOCCAM speaks to frequently.
Cook and her team have spent the last six years innovating the real estate industry. When it comes to innovation, she has kept two strategies front of mind since the start. The first is to know and care about your end-users and customers. “If we don’t know their struggles and sincerely care about them, we can’t innovate for them,” she says. The second is to go play. “If I do the same things every day, I will likely get the same result. We try to go play. We play golf, we play ping pong, and we have fun at work. Some of our best ideas have been the result of a day on the golf course.”
There’s no slowing down for ZOCCAM, as its future’s looking bright. The company, which currently offers users the ability to submit funds with a paper check or cashier’s check, is now preparing for the release of the electronic check through its platform. This will enable users to create a check straight from the app.
Currently, ZOCCAM is connected to over 200 banks across the U.S. and is operating in every state. In the coming stages, ZOCCAM will be releasing the ability to enable title companies the opportunity to co-brand the app and send their clients a direct link so that they do not have to look for the organization throughout the app. These are just some of the many ways that ZOCCAM continues to grow its user-friendly system.
“It’s easy to be optimistic when you are having fun,” says Cook. “That is not to say that we haven’t had struggles, but every time we get thrown down, we jump up a little faster and a lot stronger. I look forward to growing. I want ZOCCAM to be the payment provider for all things real estate. We are in a great position to do just that.”
ZOCCAM is headquartered in Dallas, Texas, and is available throughout the United States. To learn more about Cook and ZOCCAM, visit www.zoccam.com.