Today begins coverage of eXp World Holdings Shareholder Summit, which is being held May 12-15 in eXp’s virtual world environment. We will share updates on events and highlights each day right here in eXp Life.
Today, The eXp Shareholder Summit kicked off, marking eXp World Holdings’ sixth annual summit where eXp agents, staff and shareholders gathered to get an update on the company’s financials and future outlook. Traditionally, the event is a massive in-person gathering at a sunny location such as Florida or Las Vegas, but due to the COVID-19 outbreak, it is being held virtually in eXp’s World. Here’s a recap from today’s General Session:
The World As We Know It
eXp World Holdings CEO, Chairman and Founder Glenn Sanford, eXp Realty CEO Jason Gesing and VirBELA President and Founder Alex Howland welcomed a capacity crowd in The eXp Shareholder Summit Auditorium, which was also live-streamed for anyone to listen in.
Gesing gave an inspiring opening speech, mentioning that eXp is a destination for entrepreneurial agents and is emerging as a global company without the trappings of logistical barriers as the brokerage is already established in Canada, United Kingdom and Australia with more countries to come.
With the world mired in a pandemic, Howland mentioned that companies are flocking to investigate VirBELA’s services for how to continue business remotely.
“We can’t scale fast enough to keep up with demand, but we are ahead of the game and pushing strong,” said Howland.Tweet
Sanford quickly summed up that eXp was prepared for this type of event years ago and took advantage of opportunities, not missing a beat.
Next up, eXp World Holdings CFO Jeff Whiteside and EVP, Finance & Growth RJ Jones walked through the hugely successful financial results for 2019, including:
- Completing 2019 with 25,423 agents worldwide
- Launching United Kingdom in October; launching Australia in December
- Continued growth in Canada
- Adding eight new affiliated services program, including Express Offers (iBuyer), IntroLend Mortgage, and Silverline Title & Escrow
- GAAP Profitability in Q4
- Positive financial results
- Investing in VirBELA’s products for growth and scalability
“We are growth-focused, but one area I’m so proud of is the attitude of this company. We were built for this. Many companies are pausing. We’re doing the opposite. We are going for it,” said Whiteside of eXp’s positioning as a remote company.
RJ Jones spoke about the recent market conditions in which COVID-19 has had a large impact, but data is showing that recovery will start in the middle of 2020 and will last into 2021. He also cited the current conditions as being an opportunity for VirBELA.
“Overwhelming data shows that workers enjoy working from home,” said Jones. “It’s no less effective than working in an office. This is a great setup for VirBELA and one that you will see throughout the coming days. This future of work is likely already here. We are leading the way for the most effective workplace in days to come.”
Growing Every Day
President U.S. Growth for eXp Realty Dave Conord and President, U.S. Brokerage Operations Stacey Onnen shared success stories, with the highlight surpassing 29,000 agents as eXp heads into Q2. They revealed how eXp Realty has far outpaced the competition in year-over-year growth in both agent count and closed sales volume, winning awards and recognition along the way.
Conord spoke of eXp’s three pillars his team is working on, including Agent Experience, Agent Development and Agent Attraction.
Agent experience: To make sure agents are succeeding and having the best experience possible, Conord said NPS scores are used (net promoter score), which gauges agent satisfaction. eXp continues to rank high in NPS scores, and the team’s efforts are already paying off, improving from scores from a low of 61 in 2019 all the way to 71 in Q1 2020.
Senior Vice President Agent Experience Scott Saghirian and Vice President Agent Experience Jani Burke spoke of several programs to keep agents supported, such as the Expert Care team and Connect team who serve agents from the day they apply through the entire time they are with eXp.
“The Connect program provides a personal concierge for every person who moves to eXp,” said Burke. “The concierge is the go-to person for a new agent for the first 365 days. We know eXp has so much to offer that it can sometimes feel like drinking from a firehose. So, the eXp Connect team can break it down,” said Burke.
Agent development: Conord said eXp’s agent development is successful due to eXp’s top agents lifting other agents. “It’s a testament to the heartbeat of our company and culture and the types of agents we attract who want to help others to succeed. It’s thrilling to watch.”
eXp agent and mentor Beth Silverman provided an overview of eXp’s Fast Start series for new and emerging agents and the Excel Initiative classes, which help support agents during changing times. The classes from each of these Series have reached over 20,000 agents in just a few months, scoring just shy of a 5 out of 5 on the class surveys, and helping our agents power through an uncertain market.
eXp University director Kirtus Dixon helps drive the training platform for eXp Realty and spoke of training agents on different experience levels and across countries.
“We have thousands of top producers and team leaders and everyone in between. Our challenge is to deliver training to different experience levels,” said Dixon.
Another example of agents helping agents is the rollout of the ICON agent series in which eXp’s top producing agents from around the world will train other agents through thousands of live and recorded classes. This type of free training and shared expertise is unheard of in other brokerages and would cost thousands for agents to attain this kind of insight. This is simply another example of eXp providing the best platform in the industry for agents to thrive and help other agents succeed.
Agent attraction – eXp agent AJ Mida, both a top agent and growth leader, spoke of eXp’s opportunity and why it is increasingly attractive to agents.
Conord spoke of new tools for agents, such as the new eXp Life site, which provides stories of eXp’s agents and the company’s latest enhancements, and eXp’s revamped Join site, in which agents can brand an informative agent attraction site for themselves, to share with other agents in their local markets and beyond.
Lastly, Chris Bear and Sam Rodriguez, Vice Presidents of Growth, reviewed their initiatives which are helping to serve joining agents, such as a sponsor funnel, and the 2 IN 20 initiative, which is designed to teach and support eXp agents to attract two agents each to eXp in 2020.
Conord shared key reasons why agents are flocking to eXp.
“Agents are independent contractors. They are building their own business and every agent out there has their own vision for their business, where they want to go and what is important to them. They bring their own experience and skills and talents. Every agent is an individual; no two are the same. So, we built an incredible platform for every agent to succeed the way they want. We provide the tools, technology and support for agents to plug in. Our job is to be proactive in helping agents connect with the right tools, information and resources for them to achieve their goals. Simply not getting in your way isn’t good enough.”
What’s Your Favorite Part of eXp?
In a playful break between sessions, Sanford did a live polling question via Slido and asked the audience “What’s your favorite part of eXp?”
The results in the word cloud showed these results in order of importance:
Collaboration, culture, revenue share, training, world, kvCore, support, working remote, leadership, and brokers.
“The big win is collaboration. How do you build collaboration and community without going to a physical office,” asked Sanford. “I think at some level that’s the winning word here and pretty amazing we have that in a cloud workplace.”
Jim Bramble, General Counsel, eXp World Holdings oversaw the Shareholder session in which several items were voted on, including:
- Election of six directors for one-year term
- Ratification of independent auditor
- Approval of 2019 executive compensation
All items were approved.
VirBELA – The Future of Work
In light of the coronavirus, the future of work has come faster than perhaps anyone imagined, which means phenomenal growth for VirBELA. Some changes include news that Sanford joined VirBELA as the Chief Strategy Officer and the company officially installed a board, which includes Whiteside, Howland and Sanford.
VirBELA’s team has doubled in size in the past 60 days and a new Senior Vice President of Sales was added, Craig Kaplan.
“The media attention we’re getting as well as customer attention is incredible,” said Kaplan. “The sales team is growing rapidly as we bring on new customers every hour.”
Kaplan said new customers include impressive companies such as Accenture, Deloitte, Boston Consulting Group and Boston Scientific.
“There is an urgency to address this pandemic and what the future of work will look like is really hitting the CEOs and CIOs, Chief People Officers, HR teams, IT teams are all having to address this challenge,” said Kaplan. “They are looking at VirBELA and reimagining the spaces they are seeing out there.”
Howland said the U.S. Navy is one of VirBELA’s biggest customers with larger contracts coming in. He also said the military is asking for software that “enterprise is not ready for because the military is more willing to iterate.”
Laurent Chretien, the CEO of Laval Virtual also spoke of using VirBELA for their private event, which needed to be canceled due to COVID-19, but was replaced with VirBELA several days later.
“We chose VirBELA because it was the one who fit better with what we wanted to do with food conference tracks, award ceremonies and alternate working and we wanted something convivial – VirBELA was best for us.”
Howland, who is not a developer, but an organizational psychologist, said VIrBELA is about community and people; it’s about collaboration, not software. There are currently four different VirBELA experiences:
- Open Campus – free to download. Social and educational events.
- Team Suites – Purchase for $100 a month. No long-term commitments.
- Private Campus – Own branded world. Hundreds are starting up.
- Events – Different use cases. Churches, music events, business meetings.
Sanford said many companies are now thinking about giving up their real offices and turning to a remote platform due to engagement in VirBELA as being good, if not better than going to real offices.
eXp’s affiliated services were put together by Ted Laatz and team, which is one-stop shopping for eXp’s clients. These services were developed to provide end-to-end support for clients.
eXp currently offers a portfolio of affiliated services (eXp Preferred Partners) where agents can access the services when they need to. The future goal is to:
- Identify agent and broker problems, then create solutions
- Integrate affiliated services naturally where they make sense and are easily accessible
- Build on and expand the foundation
Additionally, there are two paths that eXp is innovating on:
- How to ease pain in the process and complete more deals.
- Potential new service: Transaction coordination
- How to get more clients, both buyers and sellers?
- Potential new features: Online agency offerings, starting with eXp’s iBuying program Express Offers
Gracie Martinez. eXp Manager of Preferred Partner program, reviewed many aspects of the Preferred Partner program for agents to receive discounts, get refer-a-friend benefits or gain revenue share.
Terri Jeffries, eXp’s Manager of iBuyer Development, talked about the Express Offers program which is currently available in 27 states. More states will open once there is an iBuyer interest, eXp certifies agents and state management teams are brought up to speed.
Michael Valdes, newly named as eXp’s Executive Vice President of International Expansion, said his goal is to make eXp the premier global brand.
“I am thrilled to be here,” said Valdes. “The technology, the business model, the growth trajectory is unmatched. eXp is the only true disruptor in the industry. I am excited to build upon the U.S. momentum to make eXp the premier global brand.”
Valdes said the idea of the international market is not only where eXp goes, but also the foreign buyers who come here.
Valdes said, “There are many independent agents who feel isolated and disconnected. This will solve that. There is an incredible sense of community that is a differentiator of our brand to the rest of the world. It’s something that is a great sense of pride with all of this.”
“The technology, the business model, the growth trajectory is unmatched. eXp is the only true disruptor in the industry. I am excited to build upon the U.S. momentum to make eXp the premier global brand.”
Stephen Lea, International Expansion Leader Australia, Deborah Pleiman, Director of Canada Brokerage Operations and Adam Day, International Expansion Leader, eXp UK, all made appearances.
Lea said he “Hopes (eXp) is a beacon of hope and change in Australia.”
Pleiman said Canada has had an absolutely amazing year, growing from just a few agents a few years ago to hitting 1,000 agents in the past month. It also launched its own health benefit plans and is now in seven provinces.
Adam spoke of the challenges of agency in the United Kingdom, as most agents are salaried and “brainwashed by being attracted by big brands,” but more agents are joining eXp and it is “the talk of the UK.”
Thoughts From The Board
Stacey Onnen moderated a discussion among members of the eXp World Holdings Board of Directors, including what’s happening with regard to the company and the world, including Dan Cahir, Gene Frederick, Darren Jacklin, and Randall Miles.
Many talked about how the pandemic is affecting eXp and the real estate business.
Frederick said, “In times of crisis like this, I build up relationship equity. ‘What are you dealing with right now?’ Build trust and psychological safety.”
Cahir said, “This will absolutely have a lasting impact on business and how we live.” He added that major trends will emerge such as employees having a taste of working from home and will demand it as a permanent way of work.
Randall said, “We were built for this. We have long evangelized that this is a business model that should be more attractive to more companies. Truth of it is we have far more flexibility in how we react to this crisis.”
Jacklin said, “I’m excited for agents. The opportunity for what we have for agents right now is incredible. In my opinion, we’re just getting started with international expansion and the modeling with VirBELA. We are so far ahead. We are a global business getting bigger all the time.”
Gentry and Alvarez Named Co-chairs of ONE eXp
Sanford concluded the four-hour general session by announcing Fee Gentry and Juan Alvarez being named co-chairs of ONE eXp, which is the company’s initiative for diversity and inclusion. Organizations within ONE eXp include the Black Network, Latinos, Seniors, LGBQT, Veterans, and more.
“Diversity is so necessary for a company to remain competitive in a global arena. We are starting a grassroots arena and make sure we scale at local, national and global level,” said Alvarez.
“Our platform levels the playing field for agents and staff. We are excited to be part of this movement. It just makes dollars and sense for our company. We understand that as shareholders, it makes sense to expand globally and domestically to be in this space,” said Gentry.
The Vision Never Ends
Sanford concluded the general session with these thoughts:
“It comes down to the idea that back in 2009 we were at the bottom of the housing market. Not dissimilar to what is happening now. Biggest single expense of running a brokerage is the physical brick and mortar expenses. All of these redundant staffing costs. All of this overhead is duplicated office by office, street by street.”
“How do we solve for not having a brick and mortar office? We needed to have a compelling business model. We went all in for how do we operate remotely as well as building community and collaboration? It’s pretty special when you can take something and you can collaborate even better virtually than in a brick and mortar office.”
eXp team leader Brent Gove joined in the conversation and interviewed top agents including Tina Caul of North Carolina, Rosie Rodriguez of California and Jay Kinder of Texas.
All mentioned saving incredible money on overhead and staff costs while increasing income through the opportunities provided by eXp’s platform.
Rodriguez said, “It’s a different way of doing business. It’s forward-thinking. If I can say one thing, it’s how much peace of mind I have now in my life because I can run my business and work with my team virtually, feed my kids and eliminate stress.”
Kinder said, “To me, the way I have always found success by sitting next smartest kid in class. This platform allows you to learn best from the best. I used to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to fly around the country to be in those rooms and now we don’t need to.” Go learn and grow. This is the best place to truly learn and grow. Top agents are in financial alignment. Never seen anything like it.”
Gove said, “We are pioneering the world of real estate.”
Sanford concluded by saying that history repeats itself and every 10 years there is something that shocks the economy including the oil shortage in the 1980s, dotcom collapse in 1999, and now the pandemic.
While companies scramble to solve working remotely, eXp has created a foundation for the future of work.
“The future of work is now. We pioneered it and did it out of necessity. We were ready, we’ve been ready since 2009 and operated so lean. As a result, we were able to manage through a number of years while having positive cash flow and sharing equity with agents over time.
“We’re super excited to be in business with each of you and very proud to have each of you as shareholders.”
It’s Not Over! Attend Daily Breakout Sessions and Wednesday eXpo
The General Session has wrapped up, but there will be daily breakout sessions and a Wednesday eXpo.
Check the calendar for five tracks of breakout sessions today through Friday or watch them here. For those with access to eXp World, use the “GO TO” menu and click Shareholder Summit to find the location. Sessions will follow these tracks:
- Track 1 – Mastermind
- Track 2 – ICON
- Track 3 – Growth
- Track 4 – Sales
- Track 5 – Expansion
Expo: The eXp eXtraordinary eXpo will be held Wednesday, May 13 in the eXp World Conference Center from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. ET. Exhibitors include ONE eXp, Express Offers, VirBELA, our preferred partners, Attraction Compliance and more! #eXpShareholder