Spencer Rascoff

CEO, Zillow Group

Overall Rank: 1
Category: Technology Execs
Category Rank: 1

For the first time in the SP200’s four years – and we suspect the industry’s longer history as well – someone not from the brokerage or national franchise real estate ranks is the most powerful person in residential real estate.

A brief glance at Zillow’s (NASDAQ: Z) third quarter 2016 earnings report tells a staggering story:

  • Revenues up 35 percent from the previous year to $224.6 million from $165.8 million;

  • 164 million monthly unique users, an increase of 16 percent from a year ago;

  • The number of agents who spend more than $5,000 per month to advertise with Zillow Group increased 80 percent from the previous year.

  • Perhaps most impressive of all, Zillow Group posted a third quarter profit of$6.8 million versus a loss of $26 million a year ago, quieting the naysayers who snipe that Zillow Group has never made any money and is just burning through investor capital.

    In 2016, Zillow Group also settled the lawsuit with Move Inc. and NAR for $130 million, and did not miss a beat. Its industry relations effort, conducted while its top two industry representatives were under the burden of a lawsuit, has borne fruit, as just about every major MLS, franchise, and brokerage in the country is now working with Zillow.

    And the firm bolstered its presence in the industry with the acquisition of Bridge Interactive Group, which provides RETS-related services to major MLS and brokerage clients. Zillow Group also introduced its broker-focused advertising product Premier Broker, which we think could be a game-changer in improving its relationships with the brokerages who were often unhappy about its role in the increasingly online real estate industry. The company just keeps marching on.

    In 2016, Rascoff was in the third spot on the SP200 because of all of the challenges facing his firm: the then-pending court case and the continuing integration challenges of Trulia with Zillow. Its Class A shares had dropped to $25 per share and its market cap was down to $4.5 billion. As of December 2016, its stock was up to $35 per share, and its market cap is $6.4 billion. What a difference a year makes.

    Zillow Group’s accomplishments under Rascoff during the last year propels him to the No. 1 position on the SP200 – he is the most powerful person in residential real estate today.

    Rascoff has been with the firm since inception. He was one of its founding employees in 2005 and became CEO in 2010 when co-founder and executive chairman Rich Barton relinquished the role. Prior to Zillow, Rascoff co-founded Hotwire. com, a leading Internet travel company that was sold to Expedia. He has received numerous awards, including Fortune’s 2012 40 Under 40 Hottest Young Stars in Business and Forbes’ 2016 America’s 20 Most Powerful CEOs Under 40.