Hot on the heels of a $1 billion-plus valuation, high-tech brokerage Compass has blitzed into San Francisco, launching an office led by elite agents from two national real estate brands. The launch comes after an aggressive push by Compass to vacuum up top talent from local competitors — an expansion strategy that’s put some brokerages on their heels in luxury markets across the U.S.

  • Compass, which has raised $210 million, has launched in San Francisco with elite agents from national real estate brands.
  • The opening of Compass San Francisco's office comes after aggressive recruiting efforts that have come to characterize the brokerage's expansion strategy.

Hot on the heels of a $1 billion-plus valuation, high-tech brokerage Compass has blitzed into San Francisco, launching an office led by elite agents from two national real estate brands.

The launch comes after an aggressive push by Compass to vacuum up top talent from local competitors — an expansion strategy that’s put some brokerages on their heels in luxury markets across the U.S.

Initial members of Compass’ San Francisco office include Malin Giddings, who Compass said was the no. 1 U.S. agent at Coldwell Banker, and the agent team TeedHaze, led by Butch Haze and Rick Teed; the TeedHaze team is the no. 1 team for Sotheby’s International Realty.

TeedHaze, which has nine members, says on its website that it was the first Sotheby’s International Realty team to ever “surpass $1 billion in sales” and is ranked as one of the top 40 agent teams by The Wall Street Journal.

Compass is currently advertising six San Francisco-based job positions on Indeed.com, including openings for a general manager and strategic growth manager.

Among industry heavyweights that will take notice of the launch will be Realogy, as the firm operates both brands from which those recruits have departed, in addition to a number of other national franchisors.

In a statement on the expansion, Compass CEO Robert Reffkin said that — because Compass is wholly owned, not affiliated with a franchise — it enjoys a “strategic advantage when expanding into new markets by focusing on culture and selectively choosing some of the most talented and collaborative agents in the market.”

Compass CEO Robert Reffkin

Compass CEO Robert Reffkin

Compass spokeswoman Ashely Murphy said that “response from the San Francisco agent community has been overwhelming” and that San Francisco will be Compass’ largest market outside of New York City and Los Angeles at launch.

“– which is huge,” she added.

Compass claims to be the fourth-largest brokerage in New York City, first in East Hampton, third in Washington, D.C. and second in Cambridge by sales volume.

The company announced Thursday that it had closed a $75 million Series C funding round at a valuation of more than $1 billion.

That capped a string of other funding rounds that have stunned industry observers and helped the brokerage grab market share by snapping up top agents — partly by dangling favorable commission splits and sometimes even signing bonuses — as soon as it touches down in new markets.

Pointing toward Compass’ aggressive recruiting approach, Compass has persistently tried to poach both agents and leadership from Pacific Union, which claims to be the “leading luxury real estate brand” in Northern California, according to Pacific Union CEO Mark McLaughlin.

Compass casts technology as core to its value proposition to both agents and consumers.

It describes its agent app as a “one-stop marketing, property valuation, and open house capabilities” and has supplemented its property search site with a mobile app that serves up “national real-time market reports.”

Launched in New York City in 2013, Compass claims over 900 agents in eight luxury markets and has expanded in the last 18 months to Washington D.C., Miami, Boston, the Hamptons, Cambridge, Beverly Hills, Malibu, Pasadena, Santa Barbara and Aspen.

Email Teke Wiggin.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct that Cambridge is a city, not a neighborhood. 

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