Robert Reffkin Soon to be on the Black Billionaires List

Robert Reffkin, the founder and CEO of Compass a residential real estate technology platform took his company public Wednesday in the quest to raise millions of dollars for his business enterprise.

According to Reffkin they were successful and managed to raise over $450 million in funding. There seemed to be some initial glitches since they had to cut and lower their initial public offering (IPO). Some analysts remain skeptical of Compass’s appeal since they claim that it has not differentiated itself from competitors in the market.

“It’s been a very challenging market environment, I’m very happy we were able to realize our goal successfully,” Reffkin said in an interview. “The goal was never a valuation — the goal was a successful capital raise and with today’s IPO we’ve raised hundreds of millions of dollars from great investors.”

The IPO launched at $18 per share and was later trading at around $22 per share which netted the start-up over $450 million. This would give the company a valuation of around $8.2 billion.

Reffkin’s roughly 6% stake in Compass was valued at $472 million at the IPO price. He stands to receive another 14.9 million shares in coming years contingent on tenure and share performance, which would boost his stake by about 50%.

Compass is slated as a one-stop solution for real estate agents, investors, brokers, and the buying public. The company currently has over 19,400 real estate agents that have sold more than $150 billion in residential real estate in 2020.

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Reffkin age 41 stands to be among the youngest black billionaires in the United States if this all plays out according to plan. He will be one of only 3 blacks to take a venture-backed company public in the last decade. There are only 7 black billionaires in the U.S. out of a total of 614 total billionaires. 

Nigeria on the other hand has a total of 4 black billionaires according to the latest Forbes list, and, Aliko Dangote (Africa’s richest man) also tops all black billionaires on the planet. 

South Africa and Egypt each have 5 billionaires on the list.

We are encouraged by the growth and rise of Proptech companies like Compass and hope to see more innovative advances in the Nigerian real estate scene as well.

Roman Kingsley

Journalist based in the United States and Nigeria, focusing on Real Estate Development and the stories emerging in and around the built environment.

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