Posted: March 2, 2017 by Erek Benz, Co-Founder
SIZE DOES and DOESN’T MATTER
While some of our startup peers boast of having hundreds or thousands of employees, we believe a large head count needs to be managed (which can undermine the desirable startup culture), but more importantly size brings large overheard costs which must be passed on to the consumer in the form of high fees to maintain margins. Philosophically we believe technology should make marketplaces, and life in general, more efficient and affordable and not add layers of heavy fee loads. Democratization isn’t only about access, but is also about limiting friction, barriers-to-entry, and cost.
Emphasis on Congruence
A smaller team forces us to thoughtfully approach process. Process is like eating your vegetables: it isn’t always tasty but can be needed to grow. By creating a tight process (still loose enough for individuality and improvisation) we’ve created a scalable business model capable of handling large expected increases in deal activity. Ultimately, we are a tech company designed for commercial real estate brokers. We are not building a human intensive real estate company that uses a little tech.
In terms of hiring, we generally hire for needs instead of having generalists or “floaters” who don’t quite know where they fit. While we are obsessed with finding new talent, we are not enamored by adding layers of management whose backgrounds fit an IPO prospectus more than a winning team. Resumes are what you have done (which is important), but character is what you will do next and is focused on more in interviews. We are all more than a piece of paper.
What began as a 3-person team has become 32 (and growing) which is significant growth, but modest considering we are servicing 2,000 times more deals than the day we opened. As opposed to building an army of employees, we’re focused on building a special forces unit (“Deal Team Six”) which forces us to use technology and design process to augment our team and handle our exponential growth. While we are excited to grow our team, managing team size allows us to do three things:
- Preserve our culture which is crucial to our success
- Allow users to customize their own process limiting unnecessary human friction
- Utilize the most modern technology to scale and manage growth
Erek Benz is Co-Founder of CREXi based in the Venice, CA office. As a founding partner at CREXi, his responsibilities have ranged from establishing business infrastructure to driving customer growth though integrated marketing tactics. A serial entrepreneur and change-maker, Erek is also the founder of Position-Tech, an athletic technology company used by top NFL teams. Erek graduated with a B.A. in Marketing from Northern Illinois University College of Business and remains active at NIU serving on the Executive Leadership Forum Board of Directors and Scholarship Committee.