Side shrinking, growing and staying cautious

Side has assembled new brokerage teams even as the San Francisco-based company has backed off plans to go public and laid off 10% of its workforce in May.

The brokerage has in the past three weeks brought on Anthem, Arizona-based Collective Real Estate and Boston-based Signal Real Estate. They also brought on Heather Herr, whose Cincinnati’s Team Herr, was named the no. 1 small team in Ohio in RealTrend’s 2021 rankings.

Three Charleston, South Carolina agents – Jason Wang, Christopher Smith and Nate Gainey – moved to create, Side’s first team in the Palmetto State.

Side is a white-label brokerage, and each of these teams will have their own branding with Side providing backend support.

The trend of new Side agents was first reported by Inman News. The publication noted that before this wave, Side also hired its first New York team of agents in early June, led by Tal and Oren Alexander, who enjoy a celebrity clientele. The Alexander brothers came from New York-based luxury firm Douglas Elliman.

Side’s moves are the latest in a brokerage that it is simultaneously growing, shrinking, and staying cautious.

The Alexander hires came a full six months after Side announced its intention to expand into New York. And the series of late June agent addition mark the one-year anniversary of Side saying it was near an initial public offering. That move never happened as Wall Street’s valuation of real estate companies took a sharp turn for the worse in early 2022.

As Side eased away from its publicly traded designs, the firm announced a layoff of about 10% of its workforce in early June, with CEO Guy Gal acknowledging the company had grown too fast.

So, what about this subsequent growth of agent teams? A Side spokesperson said the company would not bring back any of its laid off workers or hire new ones.

“We’re currently well-staffed to support the 16 markets we are active in, as well as in the additional few states we will be active in by the end of the year,” a spokesperson said.

Unclear is how specific Side’s geographical strategy is versus simply taking on any high-performing agent who is interested (The company’s slogan? “Not all agents, just the best agents”).

Asked about expansion strategy, a spokesperson said, “We enter new markets that strategically align with demand for our platform among top-tier agents.”

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