In 1982, the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) was introduced which in effect, launched the Internet. Nothing has done more to transform culture, the economy and real estate in the last three decades. In honor of the 33rd anniversary, we are recognizing 33 people who are changing or will change the real estate industry in 2015 and beyond. No points for tweeting, schmoozing or maintaining the status quo; this list includes only those who are poised to change the industry and are taking actions to do so.
Rebekah Bastian, group manager of product teams, Zillow. Bastian sits at the apex of the Zillow innovation machine, driving the strategy and execution of product teams that focus on Premier Agent advertising, financial and sales integrations, and tools for sellers and their agents. “Agents are becoming more productive, consumers are becoming more informed, and collaboration between the two is becoming more efficient,” she said. @rebekah_bastian
Glenn Kelman, CEO, Redfin. Quirky Kelman surely has more tricks up his sleeve as he continues to tweak, test and adapt his business model and pour more engineering resources into his technology. His brokerage already attracts more users than any other broker in the country, but how he scales his people business is a more daunting task. $70 million in fresh venture money will help. @glennkelman
Ben Kinney, broker, Keller Williams. Kinney operates one of the top-producing real estate teams in the nation and owns Keller Williams Realty franchises that comprise 700 agents across seven locations. The affable 30-something is constantly innovating with new technologies, business strategies and a budding industry network. @benkinney
Bill Brown, CEO, Matterport. Brown has won awards and accolades for his 3-D technology. Now he must scream from the mountaintop to obtain agent, broker and franchise adoption — no easy task. Expect more and better product development, improved images, and steps that will make cost and adoption a no-brainer for the industry.
Mauricio Umansky, broker, The Agency. Walk into Umansky’s Beverly Hills office and you immediately realize you are entering an unconventional real estate broker’s office: open floor plan, latest technology and an eager startup feel. Umansky’s recruiting standards also break the mold of the “everyone is welcome” broker model. @MauricioUmansky
Caren Maio, CEO and co-founder of Nestio, a real-time listings management system for landlords and property managers. Maio brings experience from Nike and The Wall Street Journal to real estate. She is a strong advocate for extending easy-to-use software for the industry. @carenmaio
Eric Wu, CEO of Opendoor. Trulia vet Wu recently launched a groundbreaking service that makes instant offers on homes based on value estimates and can close deals in as little as three days. The startup enjoys the support of a slew of tech heavyweights and venture funds. Its simple model will require a number of iterations and pivots, but their capital and smarts will help change the industry. @ericwu01
Robert Reffkin, CEO & co-founder Urban Compass. Reffkin built a brokerage that reached a $360 million valuation well before its second birthday. Touting tech tools for consumers and agents, the high-tech brokerage has poached talent from New York City’s old guard. Now, it’s expanding outside The Big Apple. With its pile of capital, we expect some breakaway products. @RobReffkin
Dottie Herman, CEO, Douglas Elliman. Twelve years ago, Herman and her business partner, Howard Lorber, bought Douglas Elliman real estate for $72 million. The two have turned the firm into a global might as it rides the New York housing boom. An eccentric operator, Herman has rebranded the company, cut a monster deal with Zillow, introduced a productivity app and experimented with a range of technologies — all while remaining connected to many of her agents in an unusually personal manner. @DottieHerman
Gary Keller, founder, Keller Williams. Keller is on his way to building the largest real estate franchise network in the world. His KW community, team concept, equity sharing and operating system has captured agents’ attention. Expect his global footprint to expand this year with further refinements to the distinctive franchise business model. A bit of a guru, his followers believe, so anything is possible. @garykeller
Susan Daimler, GM, StreetEasy. Daimler oversees the strategy, sales and customer operations of Zillow’s New York operations, including Agentfolio and StreetEasy. Daimler joined Zillow in October 2012 after the company’s acquisition of Agentfolio, a co-shopping platform for real estate agents and their homebuyers, which she co-founded in 2009. With excess brain power, Daimler is expected to outperform on the industry change front.
Pete Flint and Spencer Rascoff, CEOs of Trulia/Zillow. Their unwavering mission of serving the consumer first has put these two giant portal leaders at the forefront of the industry. The combined companies are poised to hold their lead against Rupert Murdoch’s Move. A marriage of humble and intense, this new partnership, if it lasts, could be as powerful as their combined traffic and revenue. @spencerrascoff, @peteflint
Sherry Chris, CEO, Better Homes and Garden Real Estate. Chris embraces change, leads by example and mentors many young brokers and entrepreneurs. As one of only a few women leaders in the male-dominated real estate industry, Chris got there by doing the right things. Though somewhat limited by the real estate franchise model, her clout and style motivates many others. @sherrychris
OB Jacobi, broker-owner, Windermere Real Estate. Jacobi took over four years ago as president of Windermere Real Estate, the firm his father founded in 1972. About that time, Windermere’s focus on technology took a 180-degree shift. Windermere stopped focusing on winning the real estate search race. Instead, the company invested in back-end technology to support agents, initiatives it openly shares with others. These moves, and others, validate the role the broker must play in the new value chain.
Ryan Marshall, CEO of Benutech, is pushing real estate into the big data frontier with his firm’s product, ReboGateway. By mashing up multiple listing service data with change-of-life events, such as a divorce, notice of default or a for-sale-by-owner listing, the tool gives agents a data-rich window that they haven’t had before. He is showing the way with the big data opportunity.
Amy Bohutinsky, CMO at Zillow. This master storyteller, together with Rich Barton, shaped Zillow’s consumer promise and its commitment to real estate, brokers and agents. Behind the scenes, Bohutinsky has kept the Zillow team in sync with its industry message and consumer story, building its formidable traffic while walking the real estate business tightrope. @amybo
Jamie Moyle, CEO, RealtyTrac. Moyle is an expert in hyperlocal data. He founded Homefacts.com, and now RealtyTrac has entered the tax, deed and mortgage data licensing business and says it will tailor data products that could fill out the websites of many brokers — including smaller companies that have been underserved. He is in a perfect position to give the everyday broker and agent the data tools that they desperately need.
Sue Adler, broker, Keller Williams. Adler heads a “team of specialists” in New Jersey’s Midtown Direct train line towns. Adler co-founded Hear it Direct, a series of full-day conferences designed for real estate professionals to gain consumer insight directly from focus groups of buyers and sellers. The industry for too long rarely stepped back and even asked the question, “What does the consumer really want?” Her next generation of HID should go even deeper. @sueadler
Dolly Lenz, owner, Dolly Lenz, LLC. Lenz is an authentic real estate top gun who is smart, savvy and eager to help raise the bar on real estate. Embracing technology, she has been scoping out opportunities to expand her luxury/global footprint. We expect her to team up with someone on the technology side and/or financial side and together push industry change. @idollylenz
Lisa Archer, chief opportunity officer/broker, Keller Williams Realty. Archer is building a city-by-city business based on technology and innovation. What once was Live Love Charlotte in 2013 is now Live Love Homes and covers Fayetteville, Pinehurst, Wilmington, The Triangle and The Triad, North Carolina; Syracuse, New York; Kansas City; and is coming soon to Birmingham, Alabama. “We implement the right technology to take our online marketing and relationships to the offline,” she says. @LisaArcher
Raj Qsar, founder, broker, Boutique Real Estate Group. Known as a marketing and sales team firm that happens to sell real estate, the Boutique Real Estate Group emphasizes design and digital marketing. Qsar’s team includes a creative director, interior designer and cinematographer. With a big social footprint, he is an example of what is possible in video, technology and design. @RajQsar
Alex Perriello, CEO, Realogy Corp LLC. Perriello stepped up in 2014 and acquired ZipRealty. Realogy must now build out the promise of Zip and continue to innovate. For decades, it has been enough for a franchise executive to be good at meeting and greeting, and traveling here and there. Not anymore; franchises are challenged by technology and the rebirth of indie brokers and must reach higher to prove their value. Perriello seems prepared to make another bold move. @realogy
Leighton Dees, broker, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate | Generations. This Southern gentleman has demonstrated no fear when building his local Alabama brokerage, bringing back mid-century real estate branding with hilarity, collaboration and technology. Underneath the star power is a growing business that represents the next generation of brokerage. @LeightonDees
Sarah Leary, co-founder, Nextdoor. Leary is responsible for building, branding and launching consumer software, Internet services and online communities. Nextdoor is specifically designed to provide a trusted environment for neighbor-to-neighbor communication. Neighborhoods across the country are using Nextdoor. The platform has many possibilities that could reshape how real estate neighborhood choices are made. @sarahleary
Austin Allison, CEO of dotloop, is an entrepreneur and the co-author of “Peoplework: How to run a people-first business in a digital-first world.” A crazed evangelist for the paperless transaction, he brings new energy to the process of digitizing real estate. Beyond industry adoption, his product must dig deeper and reach higher — look to be dazzled. @dotloop
Michele Serro, founder and CEO of Doorsteps, owned by Move Inc. Doorsteps helps homebuyers make smart decisions on the path to homeownership. A former opera singer and design consultant, Serro now focuses on changing how people find, buy and own homes. We see more hit songs from her this year, at Move or elsewhere. @micheleserro
Dave Liniger, CEO, Re/Max. Forty years ago, Liniger revolutionized the real estate industry when he created the Re/Max business model, which combines a maximum commission concept with support services. The name “Re/Max” was coined from the words “real estate” and “maximums.” Expect Liniger to make some bigger moves this year as his chief rival, Keller Williams, gobbles up everyone’s market share. This gutsy guy is not done.
Marc Davison, partner, 1000Watt. Davison is a marketer at heart who preaches and shares what he believes. He is a consultant who generally represents brokers and franchises, working overtime to save them from becoming irrelevant. Davison also invents products with his partner, Brian Boero. He challenges brokers as he defends them, and now he has a platform to push even harder. @1000wattmarc
Matt Beall, Hawaii Life. Beall and his fellow co-founders are changing the way an indie brokerage gains market share and utilizes design and technology. Matt is a new kind of real estate CEO, taking a holistic approach to real estate success. His company is transparent, opening up its culture, learnings and practices to anyone who wants to follow. @mattbeall
Keith Krach, CEO of DocuSign. Krach has a long history of leadership in the tech industry, as co-founder, chairman and CEO of Ariba Inc., which he took public in 2003. Krach, more than most, can change the real estate back-end paper mess through innovation and propelling adoption. @KeithKrach1
Bob Hale, CEO, Houston Association of Realtors. Many people are fooled by this affable Texan: Is he just an MLS gladhander? Hardly. No one in the industry has tried so much to keep Realtors relevant in the fast-changing industry landscape — from launching survey-based agent ratings and floating statistics-based agent search to launching a successful public-facing website and syndicating his members’ listings everywhere. @B0bHale
Ryan O’Hara, new CEO of realtor.com. Untested in the real estate arena, O’Hara has the keys to make real estate change. He most recently served as president at the Madison Square Garden Company and was CEO of the entertainment trading card company Topps Company Inc. A Murdoch loyalist, he has the power to shake things up.
The tens of thousands of real estate innovators who should be on this list who we don’t know about, but who we want to know about. Add your/their names to comments below so we can share your story in 2015.