Last week, Anthony Lolli, chief executive officer of Rapid Realty, New York’s largest rental-based real estate brokerage, won the coveted Entrepreneur of the Year accolade at the Golden Bridge Awards, an industry recognition program that honors the nation’s best companies.
Historically, the award has always gone to technology and Internet moguls like Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and LinkedIn’s chief executive officer, Jeff Weiner. Mr. Lolli is the very first real estate entrepreneur in history to win, likely because of the tech lines he has crossed with Rapid Realty.
“Most real estate companies license or outsource their tech, but we decided to
create our own. We teeter between real estate and tech,” said Mr. Lolli of his 3-and-a-half-year-old company.
Mr. Lolli personally designed Rapid Realty’s database, a payroll management system, transaction management system and leaderboard all in one. The system allows brokers to see how many deals are closing and communicate with each other through something resembling an instant messaging system.
So why was this the year for a real estate mogul to take home the prize?
“There are a lot of tech companies in San Francisco, many of which start and die in six minutes. In real estate, not many people are making a difference,” said Rake Narang, co-president of the Golden Bridge Awards. “When the economy was really bad three years ago, he was using technology to create something successful.”
Mr. Lolli compares his creation to “an Intel processor, just like the software Bill Gates created, but on a cloud-based system.”
“Because we’re still young, we take suggestions from our agents and are able to enhance our technology at the drop of a hat,” said Mr. Lolli. “As the market continues to evolve, we’re able stay on the cutting edge of things. We can continue to customize our technology quickly, because we own the software.”