Today we are excited to have Lynley Sides, Co-Founder, President, & COO at REX Real Estate, as our feature! Lynley is a serial entrepreneur and executive with 20 years of experience in technology and media. We cannot wait to learn more.
Check out the Q & A…
Landlordette: Let’s start from the beginning…give us a brief recap of who you are, where you came from, your business etc.!
Lynley: Before joining REX, I was the CEO and Co-Founder of The Glue Network and a
graduate of the Springboard accelerator program. Prior to that, I applied my EE
degree from Georgia Tech and MBA from UCLA to launch and grow innovative,
technology-driven new businesses at over a dozen startups and Fortune 100
My co-founder, REX’s CEO, Jack Ryan had an idea and a business plan when I
met him 4 years ago. The idea was to use technology and data to deliver a
better service to home buyers and sellers at a much lower cost. In Los Angeles,
we built and tested a beta platform and service in 2015 and launched formally in
2016. Since then, we’ve expanded nationally to New York, Austin, Denver and
throughout California and have added services businesses to extend our offering
and create additional savings for consumers. We’re growing at a 300% year-
over-year and have beaten every goal we communicated to our initial investors.
Landlordette: What inspired you to get where you are at today?
Lynley: From day one, REX has been committed to doing good things for real estate
consumers and to providing homes for those in the greatest need, wherever they
may be. We’ve saved about $8 million for consumers so far and the stories we
hear about how our customers have spent that money to buy a dream home,
educate a child or travel the world are incredibly inspiring to me and to our whole
team. Then, for every 50 homes we sell, we provide a home for a family that
doesn’t have one. We started by funding the construction of a home for a family
in Cambodia at the end of 2015 and are now building our 6 th home for a family in
Landlordette: Throughout your career what have been your biggest struggles?
Lynley: Perhaps the hardest part of being an entrepreneur is having way too few
resources while everyone’s wearing multiple hats. The key is to know what you’re
good at, surround yourself with people who are really smart, able to play multiple
roles, have a growth mindset, and are willing to do what it takes. It’s normally
worth paying for great talent, but that’s often not feasible for a cash-strapped
startup, and it’s hard to say “no” to ideas that would help grow the business. But
I’ve learned that, if you have a compelling, high potential idea and are making it
happen, you will attract the right, great talent. And knowing what ideas to say
“no” to and when is essential to delivering on any startup mission.
Landlordette: How did you overcome these ups and downs? What advice would you give to people in that position?
Lynley: If you have an idea and are thinking of starting a company, many well-meaning
friends and colleagues will say “just do it.” But as we all know, most startups fail
and most of those do so because it’s hard and the founders give up. Typically,
the successful ones end up that way after a harrowing roller coaster ride. So, it’s
worth thoughtfully considering whether this course is right for you. Success
requires powerful intent, meaning an unshakeable commitment to your vision of
the future – not to a specific set of product features or a revenue number – but to
working smart and fast, adapting, managing risk, persisting despite naysayers
and unexpected hurdles, and remaining focused and stable along the way. If this
level of persistence in the face of obstacles sounds crazy or if the roller coaster is
not for you, the best choice may be not to do it and to join a growing company
Landlordette: If you could, would you change anything about your journey?
Lynley: I’ve enjoyed learning and growing through diverse experiences and couldn’t be more motivated by the mission we’re pursuing at REX or confident in our prospects for achieving it, so the answer to this question is no, or nothing major anyway.
Landlordette: Has luck played a meaningful role getting you where you are today?
Lynley: Undoubtedly. My dad advised that, when in doubt about what to do, pick the thing that will open the most doors in the general direction you want to go. I’ve followed that advice and those doors have opened to opportunities I would not have imagined on my own. Early on, at two different large companies, I had the opportunity to work with the most accomplished, respected leaders on industry-altering projects. There was some luck there. Then there was serendipity involved in meeting Jack right when he was setting out to form REX. I’ve been grateful for these bits of luck and have tried to make the most of them.
Landlordette: Let’s talk real estate…what do you think will be the biggest changes in the industry over the next few years?
Lynley: Residential real estate has gone virtually unchanged for 50 years and one thing is clear, the industry underestimates the power of data. At one time, the MLS was needed for home sellers to put their homes in front of a lot of buyers, via buy-side real estate agents who collect a 2-3% fee. Today, with data and digital technology, it’s possible to reach the most likely buyers for a home without the MLS and save thousands of dollars for homeowners in the process. REX is the first company in the industry to completely bypass the existing system and use big data to assess home seller and buyer propensity and to reach these consumers directly. The result is that we sell homes faster, at better prices – 2% vs the typical 5-6% – and save homeowners on average $25,000.
Landlordette: Any mentors? Who has played a meaningful role in getting you where you are today?
Lynley: I’ve been fortunate to work for some truly exceptional people, a few of whom I’ve considered mentors. And looking back, there’s been a strong correlation between times when I’ve had a strong mentor and when I learned and developed the most. The best mentor relationship is 2-way – not just “you ask / they answer” but also where the mentor is involved and aware enough to say, “did you think about it this way?” or “what about this approach?” in areas where you might not think to ask. The level of trust and confidence that the person has your best interest at heart are essential to the value this relationship can have for you and for your company.
Landlordette: A couple fun questions…If you could have any superpower what would it be and why?
Lynley: Omnipotence. I’d like the ability to operate globally and locally, achieve speed and scale, standardize and customize, be high-tech and high-touch, be purpose-driven and profit-minded, and honor the past while I create the future. That, or super speed.
Landlordette: Would you rather have an all expense paid wardrobe or new car of your choice?
Lynley: I’ll take the wardrobe! Where should I send my sizes?
We loved learning about Lynley and hope you’re as inspired as we are to take action! Find out more about Lynley below: Lynley Sides, Co-Founder, President, & COO at REX Real Estate (https://www.rexchange.com/), is a serial entrepreneur and executive with 20 years of experience in technology and media. Prior to joining REX, she was the CEO and Co-Founder of The Glue Network and a graduate of the Springboard accelerator program. Follow along on Twitter @LynleySides or @rex_change
Who in your life has been inspiring you? We would love to reach out to them for our next feature. If you have someone in mind send us their info here