J Kuper, CEO of Kuper Sotheby’s International Realty, seeks opportunities to grow. There was an option to expand into the Austin market and he jumped at the chance. His CFO, Brianne Alston, carried out the expansion. Once the excitement of the close passed, it became clear that she needed real tools to keep growing in such a competitive market. They had continually bested other traditional brokerages, but now she faced new kinds of competition. She was forced to compete using Post-it notes and spreadsheets against technology companies. After an exhaustive search of the existing tools, they realized their only option was to build something new. Although they were experts in real estate, they had never built any software. Brianne got an office at a co-working space, Geekdom in the San Antonio Tech District, to find a technical partner to build her visions.
Enter Dirk Elmendorf, co-founder of Rackspace Managed Hosting, and his brother Brett; they were behind the operational software that powered Rackspace’s growth as a global leader in managed and cloud hosting.
Brianne was focused on the accounting details of the brokerage, but J realized that wouldn’t be enough. He guided the development of a listing and marketing management system for the brokerage. Brett and Dirk were excited to tackle a series of complex technical challenges and deliver the tools Brianne wanted.
What could have been kept as a competitive advantage for Kuper Sotheby’s, changed direction when the team decided to turn it into a product. Now any brokerage could have the tools they need to compete and win. It would enable agents to breeze through paperwork and keep their focus on their clients, where it belongs.