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Melburnian automated comms leader brushes with American real estate royalty

09 March 2018 Staff Reporter
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ActivePipe, a Melbourne-based automated communications platform for the real estate industry that has recently expanded into the US market, has found itself learning from one of the best CEOs of a successful US real estate businesses and has discovered how real estate professionals can find success back here at home.

Sherry Chris, the CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC, has over 30 years of experience in real estate and certainly knows a thing or two about staying in the game. Although she has been based in the American real estate market, Ms Chris’ experiences are universal.

Ms Chris spoke with ActivePipe’s head of country USA, Mike Feller, about her real estate career and the secrets to her success.

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According to her, she started out in her 20s, disgruntled with a dealing with an inexperienced agent.

“[I] thought I could probably do this better than the agent who was helping me. So, I got my licence and started selling real estate,” Ms Chris said.

In 2008, she moved to the US and launched Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate. Like all business owners can relate to, real estate and otherwise, she experienced her fair share of troubles in starting up a business, but she took it all in her stride and learnt from her mistakes.

“We were a pure play start-up: we had no customers, no revenue, no listings,” Ms Chris said.

“I was employee number one. I had to build a team, build a value proposition, find some franchisees and launch the brand.”

Looking back when she started out to now, Ms Chris said that she strongly believes in being a servant leader, someone who exceeds the expectations of customers, surprises them and delights them.

“[My] mission in life is to serve and hopefully teach others to do the same. It doesn’t matter what industry you are in, you can put this into practice,” the agent said.

For her, trying to be the best business is not her prerogative; to be the best they can is.

“It’s having a group of people that align with us because they believe in what it is we’re doing. You can accomplish anything by taking a group of people who believe in a certain way of doing things and who believe in standing for something and giving back to the world,” Ms Chris said.

She wrapped up her chat with ActivePipe giving some words of wisdom for agents out there to keep their chin up and make their own path.

“There are many people who go through life, saying ‘I didn’t get this’ or ‘I lost this listing’ or ‘I didn’t get this job’. We all have the same opportunities. You just need to get out in front of those opportunities each and every day,” Ms Chris said.

“The sky’s the limit. If it’s going to happen, it’s up to you and you alone.”

ActivePipe’s chat with Ms Chris follows the Melbourne-based business’ recent successful Series A funding round of $5.9 million, led by NAB Ventures and joined by industry-focused venture fund PieLab Venture Partners.

ActivePipe CEO Ashley Farrugia was delighted to close this round, which allowed them to expand into the US.

“Our recent capital raise has meant that we can dramatically increase the size of our development team and get the exciting new features we’ve been working on, out into the Australian and US markets,” Mr Farrugia told Real Estate Business.

“The features we’ve developed to suit the American market also enhance our user experience across Australia and NZ.”

Melburnian automated comms leader brushes with American real estate royalty
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