The company, which supports real estate professionals who want their own brand, plans to have its staff members work in the markets where its partners are based.
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Real estate technology startup Side revealed this week that it’s embarking on a restructuring designed to place the company’s staffers in the same markets as the brokers and agents they work with.
The restructuring is meant to prioritize community, according to a statement the company provided to Inman. The restructuring will take place gradually, over several quarters, and involve hiring people based in Side’s ever-expanding list of new markets as well as a “handful” of layoffs.
Side is well-known in the industry for providing back-office support to real estate companies that want their own brand but don’t want to take on the significant administrative tasks that running a company usually requires. To do that, Side provides staffers — the company calls them “inSiders” — to brokers and agents.
In the past, real estate professionals using Side might have interacted with inSiders on a variety of teams and in a variety of locations. However, going forward, Side wants staff members to be located in the actual markets where its partners work.
That means a broker-partner based in San Diego, for example, would work with inSiders who are also based in San Diego.
In a conversation with Inman Wednesday, Side President Steve Capezza said the restructuring should bolster the sense of community among inSiders and the brokers and agents they work with.
“What we’re going to be doing is reorganizing ourselves to take a market-based approach,” Capezza said, adding that each local market has its own nuances. “In order to be successful in helping real estate professionals grow their business, we’ve got to understand that nuance.”
In California, where Side is based and has its most mature presence, many inSiders are already located in the same markets as the real estate professionals they serve, Capezza said. However, as Side expands and grows in other markets such as Texas, Florida, New York and elsewhere, it will look to add staff members in the markets where its partners are based.
Any hiring could happen in the later part of this year and into next year, with Capezza saying it could take several quarters to get the “chess board” of inSiders, brokers and agents aligned.
Capezza also told Inman that as a result of the restructuring, some Side staff members will ultimately leave the company. He declined to say how many people might be impacted, only describing the number as “a handful.”
Side does not plan to ask its staff members to relocate, though the accounts of some agents and brokers may be transferred from one team of inSiders to another based on location. The company ultimately described the process of aligning inSiders to the real estate professionals they serve as moving slowly.
Side provides three primary staff members to the real estate professionals that use the company: An ambassador, who recruits and according to Capezza “owns” the relationship; a business manager, who Capezza said “supports the success strategy” of the broker; and a managing broker, who takes care of typical brokerage tasks.
InSiders work remotely and can be found day-to-day in the offices of the partners whom they serve, in WeWork spaces, or working from home. Side doesn’t maintain its own offices in the various markets it serves.
The coronavirus pandemic has emphasized the importance of face-to-face interactions, Capezza also said in Side’s statement. Side didn’t want to “enact a knee-jerk return-to-office” that would have been costly and disruptive and so opted instead for this “return-to-community plan,” the statement notes.
“By empowering our partners and inSiders to build stronger relationships, I’m confident we will be able to provide even more exceptional service and further cement Side’s status as the network with the most engaged agent community in the country,” Capezza said in the statement.
Guy Gal co-founded Side about six-and-a-half years ago and today serves as the company’s CEO. From its inception, Side has offered a kind of middle ground to agents who didn’t want to buy a franchise or become an entirely independent brokerage. With Side, those agents get the branding and appearance of being independent but can lean on a larger company for technology and help behind the scenes.
Over the years, the company has generated significant buzz in the real estate industry, though it has not been immune to the slower market of the last year and like other companies ultimately carried out multiple rounds of layoffs in 2022.
More recently, Side hired Capezza — a veteran of Zillow — in January.
Capezza said he believes the changes to how Side pairs inSiders with agents and brokers “will drastically improve the service we provide because we will be working together as one team in the market you serve,” according to the statement.
“It has never been more clear that what truly sets Side apart is you, our community,” Capezza added. “And we are committed to doing everything in our power to make your experience on our platform extraordinary.”
Correction: Side partners with both brokers and agents. This post originally only mentioned partnerships with brokers.