Real Estate

READ: Robert Reffkin’s Letter Announcing Compass’ Public Debut

Compass gave the general public its first peek behind the curtains Monday as it prepares to become a publicly-traded company. In the disclosures, the company made to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission it revealed revenue of $3.7 billion and a net loss of $270.2 million.

Robert Reffkin | Photo credit: Compass

But accompanying the top-line numbers was a letter from Compass CEO Robert Reffkin, which outlined the company’s goals and ambitions.

Read Reffkin’s entire letter below:

I started Compass because of my mom, Ruth.

As a single mother who provided for our little family entirely on her own, she embodies the entrepreneurial spirit. She’s a resilient optimist who never lets setbacks slow her down. She’s a big dreamer who sees every interaction, every conversation, and every moment as an opportunity. Watching her do the impossible every day made me feel like anything was possible.

For the majority of my life, my mom channeled her entrepreneurial energy into a career as a real estate agent. I saw the pride she took in helping her clients navigate one of the most important transactions of their lives. I also saw that she was turning a lifetime of relationships into a strong book of business, and as an independent contractor, becoming a true business owner.

Over the years, despite her hard work, I saw my mother struggle to grow her business because she didn’t have the right tools or support. The brokerage model was originally designed to be a one-stop shop for everything an agent needed. But as software transformed every industry, brokerage firms failed to keep up and she had to rely more and more on disjointed, disconnected tools from third parties — a CRM, email newsletters, digital ads, home valuation tools, transaction management software. Each year, while technology was enabling most professionals to accomplish more, her work as a real estate agent was becoming increasingly complex, time-consuming, and difficult.

I vowed to create a company that would do better for agents like my mom.

Real estate agents are perhaps the largest and most inspiring group of entrepreneurs in the world. There are over two million agents in the U.S. alone, and I’ve been lucky enough to get to know thousands of them personally. They are business owners who’ve chosen to bet on themselves and their potential rather than rely on a steady paycheck. They are the heart of a dynamic, diverse industry with a proud history of creating exceptional economic opportunities for women, single parents, older professionals, the LGBTQ+ community, and other traditionally underrepresented groups.

What’s more, agents play the most critical and central role in the real estate transaction, advising their clients on one of the biggest economic decisions most people ever make. They lead a months-long process and coordinate a dozen or more parties: potential buyers and sellers, other agents, contractors, painters, stagers, photographers, lawyers, inspectors, appraisers, mortgage lenders, title and escrow officers, insurance brokers, movers, and more. Their advisory role often begins years before a transaction and continues for decades after.

But despite their uniquely strategic position in a $2 trillion industry, agents remain remarkably underserved. There are over 86,000 brokerage firms in the U.S. and the overwhelming majority have neither the technological expertise nor the capital to build the software and services their agents need to thrive.

The traditional brokerage firm model provided agents with support and services in the pre-internet era. In a world increasingly powered by technology, Compass is creating the agent support and services platform of the future. A cloud-native, mobile, AI-powered platform that simplifies the experience for everyone and empowers all agent workflows — prospecting, listing, pricing, marketing, searching, touring, collaborating with buyers and sellers, managing offers and the transaction closing, and more.

Our ambition is to provide agents everything they need to serve their clients, grow their business, and realize their entrepreneurial potential, all in one place. Simple, seamless, and integrated. We are replacing today’s complex, paper-driven home-buying and selling process with an all-digital, end-to-end platform that empowers real estate agents to deliver an exceptional experience to every buyer and seller.

At Compass, we are agent-obsessed. We’ve built a business completely aligned with our agents: when agents succeed, Compass succeeds. Our commitment to the agent is not contingent and is not temporary; it is foundational to our vision, our strategy, and our success — and it always will be.

When you invest in Compass, you’re investing in more than a company — you’re investing in the technology-powered future of the real estate agent and the enormous potential they represent. It’s a wonderful feeling to support one of the greatest communities of entrepreneurs in the world — people like my mom, who I’m proud to say is now a Compass agent.

I invite you to join us, and the agents we serve, on this journey. Thanks to the hard work of thousands of Compass employees and agents, we have accomplished a great deal in our first eight years. But I assure you: we are just getting started.




Email Patrick Kearns

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