It’s easy to cultivate an overblown focus on youth. The mix of energy, enthusiasm and naiveté charms even the most cynical among us. The inaugural Swanepoel Power 200 (SP200) Emerging Leaders list, which debuted on January 9, taps into this excitement, but more importantly serves a practical purpose.
Real estate is facing a retirement wave that it likely won’t see again – aging boomers are beginning to step down from decades-long, integral real estate careers, epitomized by the retirement of NAR CEO Dale Stinton at the end of this year. (See the chapter “The Retiring Leadership Wave” in the 2017 Swanepoel Trends Report, which comes out February 1.)
That’s why the industry’s younger leaders are so important: they will begin filling some of these huge voids and make the big decisions that shape real estate and homeownership for millions of agents and consumers. This compelled us at the Swanepoel T3 Group to analyze our SP200 database of over 3,000 real estate leaders and pinpoint 20 40-year-old and younger leaders (as of Dec. 31, 2016) we feel are poised to play vital roles in the industry’s future.
Recognizing some of real estate’s promising younger leaders might foster industry-wide conversation and collaboration to help facilitate these and the other up-and-coming innovators making a brighter industry future.
Our list of Emerging Leaders includes some who made it to the main 2017 SP200 list, some who made it to a Trendsetters or Social Influencer list in previous years and some who are making their debut.
SP2017 Emerging Leaders on the main list include (SP200 rank in parentheses):
- Kuba Jewgieniew, 40, founder and CEO of RealtyONEGroup (No. 22): Jewgieniew’s agent flat-fee brokerage and franchise model RealtyONEGroup is emerging as a national powerhouse. The firm’s more than 8,800 company and franchised agents do over $16 billion in annual sales.
- Robert Reffkin, 37, co-founder and CEO (No. 85): Reffkin’s Compass is making industry waves, especially after its 2016 $75 million funding round at a valuation of $1 billion. The young firm (founded in 2012) now has over 1,100 agents in 23 markets.
Grier Allen, 37, founder and CEO of BoomTown (No. 123): fast-growing SaaS real estate tech firm BoomTown connects millions of homebuyers and sellers with its network of real estate clients.
- Matt Barba, 30, founder and CEO of Placester (No. 134): Placester is rapidly becoming one of the real estate industry’s most popular digital marketing platforms. It acquired ratings and client satisfaction platform RealSatisfied in April 2016.
- Eric Wu, 34, co-founder and CEO of Opendoor (No. 139): Opendoor’s innovative brokerage model leverages a heavy dose of technology to streamline the homebuying and selling process. It raised an eye-popping $210 million in 2016.
- Nate Johnson, 40, chief marketing officer of Move, Inc. (No. 146): Johnson has played a vital part in the revitalization of realtor.com, helping the site leapfrog Trulia as real estate’s second most popular in 2015.
- Ben Kinney, 38, founder and CEO of Ben Kinney Companies (No. 163): Kinney’s Bellingham, Washington-based empire includes several brokerages, a real estate team, a coaching company, and several tech firms including one of the nation’s most popular agent communities, ActiveRain.
- Austin Allison, 31, founder and general manager of dotloop (No. 172): Dotloop continues to bring in customers and release new products as it integrates deeper into Zillow Group, which acquired the firm in 2015.
- Denee Evans, 40, CEO of Council of Multiple Listing Services (No. 176): Evans helps guide the evolution of the MLS industry. In 2016, she forged a CMLS partnership with NAR and a collaboration with UpstreamRE LLC.
- Tyler Smith, 33, founder and CEO of SkySlope (No. 184): A former top-producing agent, Smith has grown SkySlope into one of the nation’s largest digital transaction management platforms with huge brokerage clients.
- Mitchell Skinner, 34, managing partner of Larson/Skinner (No. 196): Skinner and his law firm Mitchell/Skinner are deeply involved in many industry initiatives, particularly in issues involving MLSs.
SP2017 Emerging Leaders on the SP2016 Trendsetters or SP2016 Social Influencers list:
- David Friedman, 36, founder and CEO of Boston Logic: Boston Logic offers an integrated real estate lead-gen, website and CRM platform.
- Tyler Smith, 33, founder and CEO SkySlope (see above).
- Chris Smith, 37, co-founder of Curaytor: A dynamic, frequent speaker on the real estate industry conference circuit, Smith co-founded the tech and marketing firm Curaytor in 2013.
SP2017 Emerging Leaders making their SP200 debut include (in alphabetical order):
- Brad Bjelke, 40, CEO of UtahRealEstate.com: Bjelke came to Utah’s MLS UtahRealEstate.com, the most popular real estate site in Utah, in 2015. Previously, he had worked at the nation’s largest MLS, CRMLS, for 10 years.
- Jordan Connett, 33, founder and CEO of Redefy: Connett has grown his flat-fee listing brokerage and franchisor into a budding national player.
- Andrew Flachner, 28, co-founder and CEO of RealScout: RealScout gives agents and their clients branded, collaborative search through machine learning software. The firm raised $7 million in 2016.
- Anthemos Georgiades, 34, co-founder and CEO of Zumper: Zumper provides a rental search platform to consumers and a property management tool for landlords and property owners, raised $17.6 million and acquired rental site PadMapper in 2016.
- David Greenberg, 36, founder and CEO of Updater: Greenberg and moving app Updater raised a whopping $30 million in 2016 to help the firm continue its growth. It claims 5 percent of U.S. movers use the app.
- Brett Hagler, 27, CEO of New Story: New Story helps donors give to real estate-related charitable projects; it came out on top in Realogy’s 2016 pitch competition.
- Aaron Kardell, 36, CEO of HomeSpotter: Over 250,000 agents have access to the HomeSpotter app, which facilitates collaboration between agents and their clients.