Side's goal: Change agents into market leaders

March 20, 2019
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Trinity Ventures and Matrix Partners head investment move in proptech company, Side

The proptech firm will use the funding to add real estate veterans to its leadership team to expand nationally.

Founded in 2017, Side is a real estate technology company that exclusively partners with the best agents to create, grow, and power their own brands and businesses with the support of a full-service model and Side’s proprietary end-to-end technology platform. The company received a significant investment round led by Trinity Ventures and Matrix Partners, with participation from 8VC, MetaProp, and other blue-chip investors in the real estate industry. Trinity Ventures General Partner, Patricia Nakache, and Matrix Partners General Partner, Dana Stalder, joined the company’s Board of Directors.

In preparation for nationwide expansion, Side recently added several real estate industry veterans to the leadership team, including Vikki Bartholomae, who left her former post as President of eXp to become Chief of Agent Success at Side, and Bryan Smith, Side’s VP of Partnerships, who previously served as SVP of BoomTown and President of LoopNet.

According to recent research by Andreessen Horowitz, amongst the 2 million real estate agents in the U.S. today, the average agent produces a mode of zero transactions a year. Yet research from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that less than 100,000 agents each facilitate more than $10 million in annual home sales for buyers and sellers. However, both top producers and non-producers share the same brands, work with the same brokerages, and receive the same support and service.

“Side focuses on quality over quantity,” said Side Co-Founder and CEO Guy Gal. “We don’t work with all of the agents, just the best agents.”

In contrast to traditional brokerages, Side is focused on enabling and empowering top producing agents to grow their business and better serve the needs of home sellers and buyers. Side’s model is proving to be successful. In just two years, Side already represents over $2 billion in annual home sales volume in Northern California, and expects to represent over $6 billion in sales volume by the end of 2019 as they expand to the rest of California and into new states.

Side currently powers over 60 top producing teams in Northern California, who each produce more than $40 million a year in sales on average, and represent the very best agents in the market. In the first two years, Side partners grew their sales volume an average of 49% per year. Earlier partners like Vandervort Homes Group, Navigate Realty, and Gueco Real Estate Group have seen yearly growth rates of up to 127%.

Top producing agents are frustrated by working with traditional brokerages that extract more value than they create for them. Traditional brokerages cater to the average agent who does not always deliver a great experience for home buyers and sellers, putting a strain on the resources available to top producers. Those top producing agents are left to their own devices, and are increasingly seeking out the full-service support system that they need to grow their business, increase their productivity, and better serve the needs of their clients, while adapting and innovating in an evolving industry.

Side CEO Guy Gal said the company is solely focused on the wants, needs, and success of the world’s best agents. “Every other brokerage – whether they’ve been around for 4 years or 100 years, traditional or tech-enabled – is doing things the same way, with small improvements,” said Gal. “Until now, no one has reimagined what things should be like if you empowered top agents to fulfill their potential and spend more of their time better serving more clients. It’s not just in the best interest of those agents; every buyer and seller deserves to work with a great agent. Brokerages should be a means to that end.”

Side’s newest executives agree. “Throughout the course of my career, I’ve always been at the cutting edge of the real estate industry,” said Bartholomae, Side’s Chief of Agent Success. “Now I’m part of a technology-driven company that started with a strong platform first, and then attracted the industry’s best agents.”

Smith, VP of Partnerships, said, “You realize that siloed technology platforms are not enough. Agents should not be stitching together disparate tech products into their own system. Agents should be doing what they do best, serving their clients. Agents need someone else to be thinking about tech innovation, processes, cost structures, and business growth.”

“In a highly competitive, rapidly evolving residential real estate landscape, Side is the answer to top-producing agents’ dreams: best-in-class, tech-driven brokerage services laser focused on helping agents grow their brands and their businesses,” said Trinity Ventures General Partner Patricia Nakache. “Side’s mission is to make the agent the hero, and the founding team of Guy Gal and Ed Wu have combined technical chops with strong empathy for agents to make that mission a reality.”



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March 20, 2019

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