Imagine being able to borrow funds and buy and sell real estate virtually, all from your computer or mobile device, and having full control and transparency into the process.  Will technology ultimately replace humans in real estate transactions?

The processes surrounding real estate transactions have long been managed by legacy systems and human interaction.  It is not until the last few years that innovation and technology have really started to transform how real estate is bought and sold.  With these technological advances, existing processes will change and the impact will be felt by all involved, including homeowners, investors, agents and brokers.

We have brought together a panel of industry experts who will discuss innovation in real estate transactions and its impact on the industry and its participants.

Join us on Wednesday, September 19.   We will be accompanied by industry experts from Home Bay, platform for buying and selling homes without a listing agent; CREXi, commercial real estate exchange; StreamLoan, digital mortgage platform; and Village Properties, a leading real estate brokerage with over 20 years of experience representing buyers and sellers.


  • Joe Zulli, CTO & Co-Founder,
  • Ben Wildhelm, CTO & Co-Founder, CREXi
  • Stephen Bulfer, CEO & Co-Founder, StreamLoan
  • Renee Grubb, President and Founder, Village Properties


About the Panelists

Joe Zulli, CTO & Co-Founder,

Joe is the co-founder and CTO of, a technology that leverages data and machine learning to make it simple to buy and sell homes without the need (or the cost) of a real estate agent. Joe has been building and scaling startups for the last 16 years, which includes co-founding 3 of his own. Prior to Home Bay, Joe co-founded, where he served as CTO, playing a pivotal role in leading through its eventual $100M exit in 2012. A veteran of the online advertising industry, Joe specializes in the design and implementation of mar-tech platforms. Joe holds a BS in Computer Science from the University of California Santa Barbara. In addition to Home Bay, Joe enjoys spending time playing guitar, doing CrossFit, traveling, and being a die-hard Lakers fan.

Ben Widhelm, CTO & Co-Founder, CREXi

Ben Widhelm is CTO and co-founder of Commercial Real Estate Exchange, Inc. (CREXi), and a co-founder of ElephantDrive Inc. and serves as its President and Chief Technology Officer. Mr. Widhelm was Founder of Critical Section and served as its President, where he led the development of custom CRM and CMS enterprise applications. He served as Vice-President and Chief Technical Officer of Vivendi Universal Net and managed the development and infrastructure design for web distribution of a vast array of gaming and entertainment content, work recognized in case studies performed by the Microsoft Developers Network and the International Game Developers Association. He served for Sun Microsystems, designing, developing, and evangelizing the first real-time consumer operating system based on Java. He holds a B.S. in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of California at Los Angeles.

Stephen Bulfer, CEO & Co-Founder, StreamLoan

Stephen Bulfer is a 5x entrepreneur, start-up advisor, and active angel investor with Berkeley Angels, and participates/supports startups in 500 Startups and Draper’s ecosystem.  He has participated in 2 successful exits to NetApp (ionGrid) and Dropbox (Clementine).  Stephen has a unique blend of enterprise and startup experience; business and technical, which helps him position the team for success across the startups and deals he drives.  His enterprise experience extends to White House/Executive Office of the President, HP, Visa, MasterCard, Allstate, Kaiser, P&G, and over 50 Fortune 500 organizations

Stephen’s recent venture is StreamLoan, a platform to allow customers the easiest way to buy or refinance a home.  StreamLoan is an award winning B2B SaaS platform.  Stephen has built another A team, killer product, aligned with a huge market and clear pain point. StreamLoan is a Silicon Valley based venture backed (with HQ in San Francisco).  Stephen’s concentration in graduate school was real estate finance, and specifically the subprime collapse.  He has been a residential real estate investor for over 20 years.  Stephen holds two master’s degrees from Columbia Business School and University of California Berkeley.

Renee Grubb, President and Founder, Village Properties

When Renee Grubb founded Village Properties in 1996 with her business partner, their objective was clear; to create a community-conscious agency committed to excellence, integrity and teamwork. They succeeded. Their scrupulous standards, including hiring only experienced, full-time agents, have attracted the finest real estate specialists in the Santa Barbara region.

Village Properties has a solid reputation for maintaining the highest quality business practices earning them the respect of the community. Renee’s innovative ideas do not stop with real estate. She is also a pioneer for charitable giving here in Santa Barbara. The establishment of the award-winning ‘Teacher’s Fund,’ to help local public and private elementary, junior high and high school teachers buy the supplies and books they so desperately need, only shows a small part of her rare dedication to the community and education.

Renee has enjoyed selling Real Estate in Santa Barbara since 1983. She specializes in all areas and price ranges throughout Santa Barbara. The importance of listening to her clients, along with honest and open communication, has helped make her successful over the years. Knowing the market, negotiating the deal and handling the transaction are a few of her strengths. The pleasure of finding the property that fits the needs of her clients makes selling real estate enjoyable for Renee.

Community service and volunteering for her profession are an ongoing part of her professional and personal life. Currently, Renee serves as the newly-elected Chair of the American Heart Association of Santa Barbara. She also served as President of the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors in 1995, chaired the Santa Barbara Region Chamber of Commerce in 2008, and served on the Board of Directors for the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History for 6 years and currently serves on the Master Plan committee.

Other affiliations include: Graduate of the Mediation Institute of Santa Barbara, South Coast Business & Technology Member since 2004 and is currently co-chairing the Committee.

A few of her many awards include: the prestigious Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce Betty Hatch Award for the 2005 Outstanding Woman Entrepreneur of a South Coast Business, the Distinguished Service Award for numerous contributions to the real estate community and the community at large in 2004, honoree of the local Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) charter as the year’s Partner in Education.



This panel will be moderated by Kathy Chill, Chill Strategic Partners.

Kathy is founder and President of Chill Strategic Partners, a firm specializing in go-to-market services for technology companies around the world.  Established in 2013, the company provides both strategic guidance and hands-on operational support and has helped its clients successfully enter new markets, launch new products and optimize existing revenue streams.  Clients include early stage start-ups, growth companies as well as established public and private companies.  Kathy is a senior executive with over 22 years in the technology industry, including global focus on business development, product marketing and sales across multiple industries.  Prior to founding Chill Strategic Partners, and during a decade at the SaaS division of Citrix, she grew revenue from $30M to $511M to help Citrix become one of the ten larges SaaS companies in the world.  Kathy previously led marketing and business development for a firm specializing in building wireless communications networks and data centers and was responsible for generating more than $90M in revenue for the company.  Kathy holds a B.A. in Business Management from Antioch University.

Event Registration

When:  Wednesday, September 19, 2018, 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Where: 670 Mission Canyon Rd., Santa Barbara, CA 93105


  • Student: $15.00
  • General-Early-Bird (online only): $30.00
    Sign up now & save $10 off general walk-in rate. Offer ends Monday, September 17 at 10 p.m.
  • General-Walk-in: $40.00
  • Parking: FREE


  • 5:00 – 6:00 Networking Hour, Online Check-in & Registration for Walk-ins
  • 6:00 – 7:30 Presentation/Panelist Discussion
  • 7:30 – 8:00 Q&A

Tickets include appetizers and refreshments for both online and walk-in registrants. (Beer or wine separate– cash or pre-paid online or at check-in table.)

If you miss the Online Early-Bird Offer, we welcome guests on the day of the event at the Walk-in rate. (Online rate not applicable.) 

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