The Real Deal New York

Urban Compass’ Reffkin on conquering the NYC market: VIDEO

Startup has "much more resources than anyone else," founder says
October 02, 2014 12:00PM

In an interview with CNBC, Urban Compass Founder and CEO Robert Reffkin explained how Urban Compass is navigating the New York City real estate industry.

Reffkin said the company has “invested heavily” in a data team to accomplish its goal of making it both easier and cheaper to rent an apartment in New York.

“We have much more resources than anyone else who ever tried to enter the space,” Reffkin said. The Urban Compass founder added that his firm has more capital, engineering talent and strategic partners than his competitors.

“Salary isn’t the right way to incentivize an agent,” he said. The best way to do that, he opined, is through commissions. Brokers at Urban Compass, he added, now work as independent contractors, as is the case for most in the industry.

Earlier this week, Urban Compass inked a lease to open an office in the Lever House, where the startup will occupy the entire 14th floor.

While New York is the company’s main focus, Reffkin told CNBC that Urban Compass is also moving into Washington D.C. and is working on partnerships with local companies in Boston, Miami, San Francisco and Los Angeles. [CNBC] — Claire Moses

  • Steve

    I love these guys. Looking forward to seeing how they reshape the industry.

  • broker

    I’m very impressed with Urban Compass and Robert Reffkin. Congrats!

  • TomDNY

    Its all gonna come down to the bottom line. Investments in great technology and people won’t matter to whomever is funding Urban if the returns aren’t there at some point. And I have to think they’ve had to give huge commissions to attract the big name brokers they have. I wish them the best in making it all work

  • Slapintheface

    Urban Compass is a big nothing. Don’t be fooled by this guy Robert Reffkin. There is no magic technology to reinvent the real estate brokerage business. The business is composed of a few simple and elementary components. You cannot reinvent something that, at its core, is just not complicated. In a real sense, Reffkin is a carbon copy of Obama. Like Obama, he is well spoken, charming, good looking and someone who exudes promise. Yet like Obama, Reffkin will amount to a big transformative zero. Urban Compass will turn out to be a middling brokerage with no more than 50 agents who do brisk business. Urban Compass will take market share away from the established brokerages, but it will not become a transformative force. Just because you utter the equivalent of “Yes We Can” on CNBC and in cover stories in the Real Deal doesn’t mean that you can and will in real life.