Tech company Compass acquires Shane Aspen Real Estate

Lauren Glendenning
The Aspen Times
Steven Shane at his Shane Aspen Real Estate office in Aspen Wednesday afternoon. A technology company called Compass announced this week that it has acquired Shane Aspen Real Estate and that Shane will serve as managing director of the new brokerage, called Compass Aspen. All other Shane Aspen brokers and staff also will keep their positions.
Jeremy Wallace/The Aspen Times |

A technology company featuring business minds from the likes of Pixar, Goldman Sachs, Bain Capital, Twitter, Google and other heavy hitters has acquired the assets of Shane Aspen Real Estate.

Compass, a technology-driven luxury real estate company, will launch Compass Aspen immediately. All Shane Aspen Real Estate agents and staff will make the transition to Compass.

Steven Shane, the second-highest-producing agent in Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley according to Real Trends and The Wall Street Journal, will serve as managing director of Compass Aspen. In 2015, Shane Aspen Real Estate had more than $202 million in sales, with the average price hovering around $6 million.

Shane said Wednesday that at least seven other companies have approached him over the years to merge, franchise, syndicate or acquire Shane Aspen Real Estate, but none of them made sense until Compass.

“This is not an old-school company, not some London-based auction house. This is a company that understands the future of the real estate business.”
Steven Shane, managing director, Compass Aspen

“This is not an old-school company, not some London-based auction house,” Shane said. “This is a company that understands the future of the real estate business. They are a technology-driven company. They have acquired, in every market they go to, the top brokers in that market. They’re brilliant investment bankers, Harvard MBAs. The marketing and advertising department is made up of people from Pixar and Google and the Tribeca Film Festival.”

Shane said Compass is the only brokerage he’s encountered where the leadership is composed of business, finance, marketing and technology experts.

Fortune reported in 2014 on its “40 Under 40” list that Robert Reffkin, co-founder and CEO of Compass, “has the kind of resume that exhausts you.” Notable accomplishments include graduating from Columbia in just over two years, becoming a White House fellow to serve as special assistant to the secretary of the treasury at age 25 and five years as a vice president at Goldman Sachs.

“We are excited to launch Compass in Aspen and honored to build upon the exceptional foundation of Shane Aspen Real Estate. By merging Compass’ unmatched agent support with Shane’s vast local expertise, we will bring our agents and clients a seamless and more intelligent real estate experience in Aspen — one of the most sought-after luxury markets in the world,” Reffkin said in a statement released by Compass this week.

Why is a technology-based real estate firm right for Shane Aspen Real Estate? Shane said it’s simple.

“The world is changing, and I know that this group of brilliant people, from every sector of the business world — whether it’s their marketing department, their technology department, their real estate division — these guys will not be in second place,” Shane said. “They’re going to create what needs to be created to stay ahead of the curve.”

Shane pointed toward “the Zillows of the world” that put out inaccurate information that’s not current. Compass has the technology for speed and efficiency and has the ability to reach global buyers, he said, adding that the technology to properly price homes to sell based on greater data than what’s currently available to brokers in Aspen adds to Compass’s allure.

“When you build something and build it in a relatively short amount of time and held in high regard in the community, you don’t make any moves without giving that potential move serious consideration,” Shane said.

Institutional Venture Partners led the company’s latest $60 million funding round. According to Compass, Institutional Venture Partners has investments in leading technology companies like Dropbox, Kayak, Snapchat and Twitter.

The funding round, which brought total capital raised to $135 million, also included investments from existing key investors including Thrive Capital; Founders Fund; 406 Ventures; Advance Publications Inc. (the parent company of Conde Nast); Kenneth Chenault, the CEO of American Express; and Marc Benioff, the chairman and CEO of

Compass was launched in 2013 by Reffkin and business partner Ori Allon, who sold two previous companies to Google and Twitter. Compass began its national expansion last year, opening offices in Washington, D.C., Miami, Boston, East Hampton, New York, and Los Angeles.

Compass will operate out of both Shane Aspen Real Estate office locations — 117 S. Monarch St. in downtown Aspen and Willits Town Center in Basalt.


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