Six months after a group of multiple listing services (MLSs) united to acquire it, real estate tech company Remine on Monday announced that it has hired Frederick Townes to serve as its new chief executive.
Townes comes to Remine — which produces software and an MLS platform — with a lengthy tech background. Immediately prior to joining the company, he served as the chief product officer for academic communications company Ready Education. He also previously worked as the co-founder and CTO of real estate tech startup NestReady, the co-founder and COO of real estate marketing firm Placester, and the CTO of media company Mashable.
In a conversation with Inman, Townes described joining Remine as “a dream come true” and said he was particularly drawn to the fact that MLSs, rather than venture capital firms, own the company.
“They’re strategic in that they’re in it for the long haul,” he said. “When I talked to them about growing the company, they had an intimate understanding about what brokers and agents need.”
Townes also said he plans to focus on growing the company and building its relationship with its customers.
“We very much want to redefine what excellence is in MLS technology,” he said.
Remine first launched in 2015, and today offers modules that give Realtor associations and MLSs access to public data, search tools and transaction management, among other things. The company’s customer base is made up of close to 60 industry organizations that collectively represent 1.2 million real estate professionals.
Over the years, however, Remine has made a number of headlines for its stumbles. In 2020, for example, an Inman investigation found what has been characterized as a toxic work environment, with leaders at the company variously using explicit language and making references to drugs, among other exploits. The company also went through multiple rounds of layoffs between 2019 and 2020. And it has faced questions, and pulled features, over its use of MLS data.
Finally last fall, a group of MLSs formed a company called MLS Technologies Holdings LLC to acquire Remine and replace then-CEO Mark Schacknies. That move also prompted a search for a new CEO, which ultimately led to Townes’ hiring.
Inman asked Townes about reports of Remine’s past work culture and layoffs, and if his role now is to reorient the company after a troubled chapter. Townes said that having just joined the company he couldn’t speak about past issues that occurred before he joined Remine. But added that during his hiring process he didn’t see “any yellow or red flags that made me concerned.”
“Everyone that I’ve spoken to in the organization is really just focused on turning the page,” he added. “I don’t see anybody really focused on the past so far.”
Inman also asked Townes about the gender breakdown of Remine’s staff. He did not have specific information on that point, but noted that “anyone would agree that diversity is good in all of its forms.” Townes also said he hopes to grow the diversity of Remine’s staff organically as he finds people who are passionate about the company’s mission.
Remine is also currently involved in a lawsuit from investors who predate the MLS Technologies acquisition and who want to cash out their shares. Townes said he could not comment on the legal proceedings in that case.
In any case, Townes said he sees the main challenges in real estate tech as involving agent connectivity, data quality and search, among other things — and he wants to make sure Remine excels in these areas. He also said his tenure will involve identifying areas in which Remine isn’t excelling, and eliminating those parts of the company’s offerings. He did not provide specific examples of what features Remine might opt to drop.
Remine’s existing leadership also expressed excitement about Townes’ hiring. In a statement, MLS Technology chair Emily Chenevert described Townes’ arrival as “the start of a new chapter for Remine.”
“Frederick’s impressive background in proptech and technology companies at all stages of growth, combined with his deep knowledge of product and go-to-market strategies, makes him the ideal leader to build the MLS of the future through Remine’s superior platform and technology,” Chenevert added.