At 22 years old, the 7-foot tall, rising NBA star and center for the Orlando Magic Mo Bamba has already garnered plenty of attention. Bamba, though, is gifted with more than just athletic prowess – he’s a forward thinker with big plans for the future. And he’s just named innovative real estate brokerage Houwzer as part of his ongoing investment strategy.
Like many athletes before him, Bamba is using his platform for more than himself – he’s leveraging it to bring about positive change in the world. One of the ways Bamba is building his portfolio is through Admiral Capital Group, a real estate and private equity firm co-founded by NBA legend, David Robinson.
Admiral Capital Group recently syndicated an investment in Houwzer from its network of athletes, in which Bamba participated in.
Industry Disruptor Highlights the Inefficiencies in the Real Estate Industry
So why Houwzer? Houwzer is an industry disruptor in the world of residential real estate, and lives out its mission statement of changing the real estate industry for good.
“We’re not investing in companies just for the sake of making money,” explains Bamba. “We want our investment to work toward making the world a better place. Companies like Houwzer are doing just that by shaking up their industry and using business as a force for good. I’m really drawn to the philanthropic initiative that’s in the works which will help make home ownership more attainable for all.”
Houwzer recently received $9.5 million in Series A funding, led by Edison Partners, that allowed them to expand, adding new talent, new technology, and new cities to the mix – notably, Bamba’s current home of Orlando. This year, the company also ranked as the 5th fastest growing real estate brokerage in the country on the Inc. 5000 list, a list of the fastest growing private companies.
The key to Houwzer’s success has been a relentless drive towards reimagining the real estate industry from the ground up. They’ve leveraged the internet and additional technology to make the process of buying and selling a home more efficient, and they made their agents salaried employees so that their number one priority is client satisfaction – not commissions.
While traditional brokerages charge sellers 6% of the home’s selling price, Houwzer provides full service for a flat fee of $5,000, plus 2.5% for the buyer’s agent, all paid at closing. For someone selling a $600,000 home, that amounts to a savings of $15,000 in commissions. Houwzer sweetens the deal for sellers who also buy a home with them, offering a $2,500 rebate to go towards their next home.
Houwzer doesn’t stop there, though, recognizing that there are more issues in the real estate industry than the price tag alone. About 40% of Americans say that buying a home is one of life’s most stressful experiences, citing the length of the process, how expensive it is, and a serious lack of confidence throughout.
Houwzer is tackling this head-on, creating a more streamlined, transparent, and educational process that will reduce anxiety and allow buyers to feel more confident in their decisions. Their online dashboard keeps you informed throughout the journey and allows you to manage everything in one place.
In addition, they provide mortgage and title services in-house for a smoother, more enjoyable experience. Buyers don’t have to figure it all out on their own – Houwzer’s salaried mortgage advisors shop around for the best rates, talk through their options and goals, and guide buyers through to closing, saving them both time and money and helping them feel confident in their decisions. With one team handling the whole transaction, there is better communication, fewer delays, and a more seamless experience for the client.
In the same way that Uber revolutionized the inefficient and overpriced taxi model, Houwzer could fundamentally shift the way people buy and sell their homes.
“We’re excited that Mo Bamba and Admiral Capital Group decided to invest in us,” says Houwzer Co-founder and CEO Mike Maher. “It’s a strong confirmation of everything we do – they not only believe in our business model, but our soon to be launched impact model as well.”
Houwzer Proves it’s Possible to Balance Profit with Purpose
Houwzer was the first brokerage in the country to become a Certified B Corporation, a global movement of people using business as a force for good. Certified B Corporations – notable examples include Patagonia, Bombas and Ben & Jerry’s – are held to the highest standards of social and environmental welfare. To qualify, member organizations must work towards building inclusive, sustainable communities, commit to volunteer time, and ultimately balance profit with purpose.
Of course, Houwzer’s business is good news for those that have homes to sell or are in a position to buy – but is that enough? Maher is passionate about building a company with a greater purpose. ”The real estate industry played a material role in the racial homeownership gap that exists today. The segregation of America has created systemic, compounding structural inequalities that have had a lasting impact. It will take all of us to right the ship, but as a B-Corp, we feel compelled to pick up the baton. The mission of our new philanthropic wing will be to accelerate generational upward mobility of the underserved through homeownership.”
It’s a sentiment that Bamba stands behind, and one of the reasons he sought out Admiral Capital Group. Admiral Capital Group believes that building communities is at the heart of strong investment plans and stays true to their philosophy, stating: “We know social impact doesn’t have to come at the cost of good business.”
In other words, it’s more than just business to Bamba. He wants to invest in companies that will truly make a positive difference in the world – and hopefully, Houwzer will do just that. In this way, Bamba proves that being a star athlete is just the beginning of his legacy.
Bamba is not out to take and conquer America for himself–but to help people and their families to grow and live in communities–making America greater for all dreamers.
AP News wrote the original article.