Hassan Riggs comes from a long line of entrepreneurs. But he, quite literally, started writing his own startup adventure at the age of seven while helping his mother run her children’s book business.
“One thing I picked up from that is never let a seven year old be responsible for cutting the pages of the children’s book,” Riggs smiled. “The other thing it did was really inspire me around being a creator, being the builder, identifying problems, and then creating value in the world…I firmly believe that entrepreneurs drive the world forward.”
His most recent entrepreneurial venture, Smart Alto, was born out of the personal pain points experienced while “smiling and dialing” as an inside sales agent at a real estate brokerage in college. That experience, he said, gave him first-hand experience about what a grind it really is.
“People hate making cold calls. People hate receiving cold calls. But for most small businesses, that’s the primary way that they generate business for themselves,” he added. “But if you don’t have access to the greatest tools and technology, you basically sit down and grind your way through making cold calls to generate business.”
Most of the time, insurance agents, real estate agents, loan officers, and sales agents are working with incomplete homeowner information data, making it difficult to make those calls.
Riggs’ Smart Alto looks to change that. The Birmingham-based startup works to make business to consumer prospecting “more intelligent, automated, and accessible for insurance agents, real estate agents, and loan officers,” Riggs explained to Hypepotamus. The platform aggregates data about specific properties along with information about homeowners to create a more curated, full user profile. Then, its predictive analytics provides a “propensity score” based on how likely a homeowner is likely to sell and how to best contact that person.
It is all about optimizing lead flow, added Riggs, who serves as co-founder and CEO.
“There are people who think hey, let me just go out and get more leads and make more calls. But our philosophy is you’ve already got some really valuable data. Let’s optimize it and maximize it before you go try to get new business,” he said.
Building In Birmingham
The current version of Smart Alto got off the ground in 2019, though the startup officially launched in 2017. Alongside co-founder Wayne Anderson Jr., Riggs has built up the team to 14 current employees.
Along the way, the real estate tech startup has participated in Y Combinator (W17) and most recently participated in the Google Black Founders startup accelerator.
“I’m from Birmingham, I wanted to build a business in Birmingham,” Riggs said. In fact, the team stayed close to home and was able to raise funds from local investors for its pre-seed.
At the start of 2023, Riggs added Smart Alto is focused on product-led growth, saying that “big enterprise buyers used to hold the purse strings. Now, the world has changed and companies are building for the end user. Think Calendly, Figma, Milo, and Slack. They’re building for the end user first and there’s a lot of value to that.”
In terms of what’s next? Well, Riggs said he is looking to hire top engineering talent and close out a $2 million round. Those who want to get a sneak peak at what it might be like working at Smart Alto can check out this doc.