BrokerageTechnology

Paying agents salaries, equity does the trick for Winklevoss-backed broker

Fresh off a $1.65 million funding round, TripleMint says it'll close 1,200 transactions in 2015

Brokerages almost always pay their agents solely through commissions.

But TripleMint is one of a rare few that also offers its agents salaries and benefits — a compensation model pioneered by Redfin. On top of that, the brokerage hands equity to agents who stick around for a year.

The goal is to closely align its agents’ financial incentives with the interests of buyers and sellers, and foster commitment to the firm’s success.

And it’s working.

Although some brokerages have scrapped similar compensation models, TripleMint is the latest firm to demonstrate that it can pay off.

The New York City-based brokerage has grown its revenue by leaps and bounds in the last year, and recently closed a $1.65 million funding round led by the Winklevoss twins, who sued Mark Zuckerberg for allegedly stealing the idea for Facebook. TripleMint has also rebranded, scrapping its previous name, Suitey.

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Following in the footsteps of Redfin, TripleMint has built a slew of tech tools to streamline the homebuying and selling process.

The brokerage offers a powerful real estate search website to consumers and uses a proprietary marketing platform to feed business to its agents, so they can spend more time serving clients and less time drumming up leads.

To round out its “end-to-end” customer experience, TripleMint also offers a “concierge moving service” that features discounts on movers, gyms and other vendors, saving clients $300 on average, according to TripleMint co-founder David Walker.

Unlike Compass, another high-tech brokerage making waves in TripleMint’s neighborhood, TripleMint hasn’t ditched a salary-based compensation model.

It pays commissions, customer satisfication-based bonuses, salaries and benefits to 20 real estate agents, removing “the pressure that agents typically feel to close clients quicker,” Walker said.

The brokerage also seeks to cultivate commitment to its firm by handing equity to any agents who stick around for more than a year, and putting them on a six-step program for career advancement over a 15-year timeline.

“That’s really important to us because we’re really creating careers for real estate,” said Philip Lang, TripleMint’s other co-founder, about paying its agents equity.

The business model is paying off. TripleMint says it’s on pace to close 1,200 transactions in New York City in 2015, after growing revenue by 500 percent from 2013 to 2014.

Armed with new funding, the brokerage is gearing up to grow its local footprint — and, later, to expand nationally.

If the firm ever decides to set up shop in Texas, things could get a little hairy. The state is already home to a small brokerage with the name “Triple Mint Real Estate,” Buzzfeed reports.

“If they do want a national presence, then that’s probably not the best name to come into Texas with, because it’s something that I’ve already used and established,” Triple Mint Real Estate’s founder, Jeannie DeFrese, told Buzzfeed. “It’s mine.”

Email Teke Wiggin.