Compass hires AI specialist from Microsoft and Amazon as CTO

Joseph Sirosh will be responsible for scaling firm’s tech platform globally

Dec.December 04, 2018 09:00 AM

From left: Maëlle Gavet, Ori Allon, Robert Reffkin, and Joseph Sirosh

It took nine months, but Compass has a new chief technology officer.

The SoftBank-backed brokerage said Tuesday that it has tapped Joseph Sirosh — a machine-learning and artificial intelligence expert who’s worked at Microsoft and Amazon — to fill the key role. Sirosh starts today, reporting to Compass COO Maëlle Gavet.

Sirosh will be the six-year-old firm’s second chief technologist, following the departure of Liming Zhao, who left to start his own company in March.

At Microsoft, Sirosh was CTO of artificial intelligence, where he led the expansion of Microsoft’s cloud AI and data products. Prior to Microsoft, Sirosh built up machine learning applications at Amazon, where he was vice president of the e-retailer’s global inventory platform.

At Compass, Sirosh will lead the engineering team to develop new AI-powered products for the company’s 7,000-plus agents, the firm said Tuesday.

In a statement, Compass chairman Ori Allon said Sirosh’s expertise in machine learning and cloud computing would “accelerate” Compass’ technology roadmap and help the company “build out our product stack,” namely the industry’s “first-ever end-to-end platform” for real estate.

Over the past few months, Compass has rolled out several new tools for agents — including an enhanced CRM system, digital marketing services and an illuminated brokerage signs. But over the summer, Compass was forced to pull the plug on its first technology licensing deal with a Massachusetts-based brokerage.

Despite that misstep, Compass continues to grow dramatically and has acquired firms like Pacific Union to breach new markets.

To date, Compass has raised $1.2 billion from investors, including $400 million from Softbank and Qatar Investment Authority in September, which valued the brokerage at $4.4 billion. That round has fueled the company’s focus on new technology; in the last six months, Compass said it’s increased the size of its technical team, which now numbers 170.

Sirosh is the latest Compass hire from some of the biggest technology companies: Earlier this year, Compass also hired chief marketing officer Khurrum Malik from Spotify and chief revenue officer Matt Rosenberg from Eventbrite.

Last month, Compass also tapped Kristen Ankerbrandt, a former Carlyle Group executive, as its chief financial officer. Former CFO Craig Anderson, who came from Flywheel, lasted seven months before he was pushed out in March 2018.

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