The following are powerful and fascinating people that are not in the residential real estate brokerage industry but through their holdings, investments or the elected office they hold have immense influence on the industry or matters pertaining to housing, finance and real estate professionals. They are listed in alphabetical order.
Andreessen’s power and influence within the housing/lifestyle sectors comes from his investments in real estate ventures and various technologies that could have an impact on the industry. He is a strong proponent of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency and has invested more than $227 million in bitcoin-related startups. He graduated with a B.S. from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign in 1993.
Bezos initially established Amazon as an online bookstore but has subsequently expanded into just about everything. In 2018 Amazon acquired PlantPrefab, a company known for sustainable construction and smart home technology. This came on the heels of the company’s announcement of a new line of Alexa-enabled smart home devices, suggesting a potential new avenue of smart home development, experimentation, and expansion into the real estate industry. Amazon is not only the world’s largest online sales company, it is also the world’s largest provider of cloud infrastructure services via its Amazon Web Services arm. His success has enabled him to be the first person with a net worth surpassing $150 billion in the three decades that Forbes has tracked the richest Americans.
Buffett has been the chairman and largest shareholder of Berkshire Hathaway since 1970, but it was his acquisition of Mid America Electrical in 1999 that lifted him to a whole new level in the business world. Today, Berkshire Hathaway owns the nation’s second largest real estate brokerage company, HomeServices of America with 43,000 real estate professionals operating in nearly 900 offices across 30 states with annual sales exceeding $137 billion. He expanded Home Service’s market impact in 2017 with the company’s acquisition of Long & Foster the largest real estate brokerage company by sales volume, including its business lines: mortgage, settlement services, insurance and property management.
Bill Foley II
Foley’s influence and power within the real estate industry has always been impressive and with Fidelity’s resources and funding he is approaching an industry position that will most likely result in his becoming one of the dominant players in the real estate closing process, influencing how real estate transactions and services will be delivered in the future by a wide range of real estate industry players. He holds a B.S.degree in engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point, an MBA from Seattle University and JD from the University of Washington School of Law.
As Google loves all data-rich environments and as the battle for real estate search, sharing and lifestyle review intensifies it appears to be only logical that it will expand into the real estate industry in the foreseeable future. The company has had a well-staffed real estate research program for a number of years and it is highly likely that Google will play a key role in the real estate space.
He is widely known for his early-stage startup investments and his key roles at PayPal, LinkedIn, Slide and Square, and he was also an early investor in Yelp and Xoom. As managing partner at Khosla Ventures, a venture capital firm he founded with approximately $1.3 billion of investor capital, he is focused on early stage companies in the Internet, computing, mobile, biotechnology, healthcare and real estate arenas. Khosla was an early investor in Opendoor, one of the controversial and transforming new business models to challenge the traditional real estate process.
SoftBank’s $93 billion Vision Fund, whose investors include Apple, Qualcomm, Foxconn and Larry Ellison, is a lead player in the launch of the Compass real estate brokerage with an investment of $450 billion. The fund has also made another step into the real estate industry with a $400 million in Opendoor. As a result of the unique nature of Soft Banks venture funding process, Son will be sitting at the table with significant power and influence, regardless of the ultimate success or failure of Opendoor or Compass.
He received an economics degree from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business and was appointed president of his family’s real estate business in 1971. Under his leadership the company has developed, built and renovated skyscrapers, hotels, casinos and golf courses. Although the Trump administration has been relatively neutral pertaining to real estate matters, he has almost made HUD into a non-player and virtually dismantled the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He has given every indication in his policy moves that he wants to move the country’s financial system more into the hands of less-regulated small commercial banks, credit unions and traditional lenders who can more directly benefit Main Street. His leadership from a business perspective will certainly create both threats and opportunities to and for the real estate industry.
Facebook has expanded into various other industries, usually with significant impact, and it is still the largest and most productive platform for real estate agents to connect with their clients and generate business to the tune of over $27 billion in advertising. Real estate in most certainly in its sights and the company is expected to become a growing influence in the real estate environment as it shifts how its platform works, resulting in decisions like the removal of its “likely to move” category.