Side, a San-Francisco based real estate brokerage that partners with top-producing agents, teams, and brokers to handle back-end operations, announced on Thursday a new $35 million Series C funding round.
Sapphire Ventures Managing Director Paul Levine led the round, which included contributions from Patricia Nakache of Trinity Ventures, Dana Stalder of Matrix Partners, and a handful of other strategic real estate investors who are unnamed. Past investors include San-Francisco based 8VC and MetaProp NYC.
“By bringing the best agents in each market together and empowering them with a game plan, support team, and a one-of-a-kind technology platform that delivers a premium service, they’re able to provide the best experience and results to more buyers and sellers,” Side CEO Guy Gal said in a prepared statement.
“What consumers want most is a great experience and great results, and working with experienced agents is the best way to buy or sell a property, now and in the future.”
The $35 million will be used to fuel the company’s nationwide expansion into 25 new markets over the next few years. Side currently supports more than 100 teams across California and Texas, which includes brokerages such as Ben Bacal of Revel Real Estate, Anthony Marguleas of Amalfi Estates, Val Vandervort of Veritas Homes and Dave Fratello of Edge Real Estate.
Side partners with top-producing agents, teams, and local, independent brokerages to handle their back-end operations, which includes marketing and advertising, brand development, system implementation, vendor management, listing and transaction coordination, legal and insurance needs, and securing office space.
Side accomplishes these tasks by using an all-in-one technology platform comprised of products from third-party vendors and a proprietary transaction processing tool.
The brokerage is betting on a “central role that high-performing agents play, and will continue to play, in a real estate transaction,” by enabling agents to solely focus on “the high-value work” of serving clients, according to a statement from Side.
Side estimated its platform saves its agent partners an average of 62 days of time per year, with the average partner experiencing a 45 percent year-over-year growth rate. Furthermore, Side said its on track to facilitate more than $8 billion in sales in 2020, a $5 billion increase from last year.
Gal has been mum on the specific commission split and caps Side offers, but told Inman in a previous interview that the brokerage offers the same “super favorable” splits to all agent partners, and that teams determine their own splits among themselves.
In addition to announcing the results of their latest funding round, Side revealed current investor and former Trulia President and Chief Operating Officer Paul Levine is joining the company’s board of directors.
Most notably, Levine was the president and COO of Trulia from 2011 to 2017, where he oversaw the company’s transition from a small, private company to a standalone publicly-traded real estate powerhouse, until Zillow acquired the company for $2.5 billion in 2015.
“It is great validation to have Paul and Sapphire Ventures as a lead investor, and we welcome their experience and support as we expand our reimagined brokerage model nationwide,” Gal said.
“Side partners with top-producing real estate agents and teams in each market, and provides a valuable mix of technology, support, and an economic model that helps entrepreneurial agents grow,” Levine said. “I’m delighted to join Side’s board and be a part of the journey ahead.”
In a series of tweets published on Thursday, Levine expounded his thoughts about Side’s future in the industry, saying the company’s “model aligns with a number of macro trends I experienced first-hand during my years at Trulia and Zillow Group, specifically.”
Levine said while the average agent risks “commoditization,” high-producing agents and teams are steadily growing, and that Side has positioned itself as a valuable strategic partner for those top agents and teams.
He also said Side has positioned itself to conquer the next challenge in real estate technology: fully automizing the transaction process.
“Over the past 10 years, Zillow, Trulia and others have largely solved the problem of online lead generation, and now the next 10 years will capture a 10x larger opportunity: automating the real estate transaction itself,” Levine wrote.
“Side’s platform delivers tech-enabled process automation from lead-to-close, so that top agents can focus their time on servicing clients and growing their business.”