Compass to ex-Uber staffers: Ride with us!

Fresh off a $6.4B valuation, brokerage is tripling the size of engineering, product teams

Aug.August 05, 2019 01:00 PM
Compass CEO Robert Reffkin and CCO Matt Spangler (Credit: Getty Images and Compass)

Compass CEO Robert Reffkin and CCO Matt Spangler (Credit: Getty Images and Compass)

A day after Uber laid off a third of its marketing team, Compass’ Matt Spangler snapped into action. On Twitter, the brokerage’s chief creative officer retweeted a Google spreadsheet listing those impacted and invited them to check out Compass’ open roles.

And there are many.

After announcing a $370 million funding round on July 30, the $6.4 billion brokerage continues to look to scale. Though Spangler’s tweet is fairly common in tech and creative circles, it speaks to the different trajectories of a post-IPO company looking to right-size and a VC-backed firm that’s still scaling up. On Monday, Uber said it laid off a third of its marketing team, or about 400 people, as the ride-hailing company tries to cut costs and streamline its operations after going public in May.

“That’s the war for tech talent,” one source said.

Nationwide, the tech sector added 56,400 jobs during the first half of the year, according to an analysis of Department of Labor statistics. That compares to 49,700 jobs added during the first half of 2018.

Founded in 2012, Compass has made a point of hiring talent from brand-name companies such as Google, Microsoft and McKinsey. “Depending on the jobs available and the fit with the recently laid off Uber employees, it could be great,” one investor said of Spangler’s tweet.

Nationwide, Compass currently has 13,000 agents around the country — up from roughly 10,000 in January — and sources said it’s likely to hit 15,000 to 20,000 agents by the end of the year. It also has 2,200 employees and it’s in the midst of tripling its product-and-engineering team. (It currently has 320, of which 200 were hired in 2019. Compass’ website is currently advertising another 71 engineering jobs.)

“We’re going to accelerate our growth in two key areas — one is product and engineering,” CEO Robert Reffkin said last week on CNBC. “And we’re going to double down on our core products,” including Compass Concierge, which fronts sellers the money for home repairs.

As Compass weighs an IPO, it will probably have to rethink its spending — as others have done. Ahead of its IPO, Lyft laid off 50 people in its bike and scooter division, a move the company said was part of its “performance management process.”

And in June, Opendoor — which allows consumers to sell homes online and was most recently valued at $3.8 billion — laid off 50 of its 1,300 employees and ended its free lunch perk. A spokesperson for the SoftBank-backed company said it is “streamlining” certain operations as it continues to grow.

The We Company also conducted a round of layoffs and cut back on perks like salmon-and-bagel breakfasts in 2016. This past March, as it prepares to go public, it laid off as many as 300 employees — or 3 percent of its workforce, as The Real Deal reported. The layoffs were positioned as performance-related.


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