Brown Harris Stevens defector kicks off Side’s entrance into New York

John Wollberg to serve as managing broker of West Coast-based firm

Side's Guy Gal and John Wollberg
Side's Guy Gal and John Wollberg

Side is entering New York with a bang by snatching away a well-known agent.

John Wollberg will join the West Coast-based brokerage as a managing broker and will oversee Side’s expansion into New York. He previously served as executive vice president and managing director of sales and operations at Brown Harris Stevens.

Headquartered in San Francisco, Side has an “invisible” brokerage platform that makes it possible for experienced real estate professionals to launch their own boutique company without having to operate a brokerage. The model relies on fewer agents than other brokerages and a variety of technology tools.

Since its launch in 2017, Side has grown to power more than 400 boutique companies.

“Companies are a shell around the agents. That’s really what Side intends to be. And that’s where I think agents have the best opportunity for the future,” Wollberg said. “That’s why I made the decision to [move].”

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Wollberg has been in the residential real estate business for close to four decades. He had his own firm for 11 years before moving to Halstead, which eventually merged with Brown Harris Stevens.

Wollberg has sold or rented more than 6,500 apartments. He received the 2008 Henry Forster Memorial lifetime achievement award from the Real Estate Board of New York, where he served on the ethics committee. Wollberg is also a founder and co-chair of REBNY’s Residential Listing Service and was instrumental in developing the universal co-brokerage agreement.

“We’re thrilled to have John join our team as managing broker of New York,” Guy Gal, Side’s
co-founder and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “He brings sophisticated local market and industry expertise that will be invaluable as we continue to expand on the East Coast.”

Side’s entrance into the New York market comes as the company raised $250 million from three leading tech IPO underwriters for a $2.5 billion valuation. Earlier this month, Side expanded its footprint to Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia, Oregon and Washington state. It was already operating in California, Texas and Florida.