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BANGKOK 15 November 2018 15:55
Thaivisa Web Content Team

Billion Dollar Real Estate Company Ditches Physical Offices for Virtual Reality Campus

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eXp Realty, one of the world’s fastest growing and most successful real estate companies, has become famous for not investing in any actual real-estate, opting instead for virtual reality offices that allow its agents and brokers to interact and socialize from anywhere around the globe.

 

Glenn Sanford, eXp Realty’s founder and CEO, founded the company a decade ago, soon after the real estate market collapse of 2007. He couldn’t afford to buy or rent office space, and figured that focusing on a system that allowed his team to work remotely would help the company avert disaster, should another real-estate crisis occur in the future. So eXp Realty relied on services like Google Docs and spreadsheets, project management solutions like Trello, and communications app Slack to help its workforce work together without actually sharing the same space. But three years ago, the company took this remote collaboration system to a whole new level, by building a campus complete with offices, meeting rooms, auditoriums, lounges and more, in virtual reality.

 

Dubbed ‘eXp World’, the company’s virtual reality campus is a software that employees can download on their computer and access from anywhere in the world. It was developed by video game developer VirBELLA and is a lot like the famous Second Life online world, in that guests enter the world as avatars, walk around the campus, enter various virtual facilities, and interact with each other. While the main focus is on work and brainstorming, VirBELLA is constantly adding fun stuff as well, like the ability to go on boar rides on a virtual lake or enjoying a drink at the bar.

 

At the beginning of 2018, eXp Realty had around 6,500 brokers, but today that number has increased to over 12,000. They are operating in 300 markets across the US and Canada, and if that wasn’t enough to convince you of its success, the company was recently listed on the Nasdaq stock market, with a first day market capitalization of over $1 billion. But it doesn’t own or lease any more physical space than what it is required by law.

 

Apart from a small leased space in Bellingham, Washington, that acts as a headquarters but is actually just a storage space full of file cabinets, and a few empty locations in places where physical addresses are mandated by law, eXp Realty only exists in the virtual world. The real irony is that the whole purpose of the company is to help people buy and sell real world properties, like houses and office buildings.

 

“The virtual campus is a big part of our growth engine. If we were to have the constraints of physical offices, the growth we’ve had simply wouldn’t be possible,” Scott Petronis, chief technology officer of eXp Realty, told Singularity Hub.

 

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cant wait for the ghost in the machine to happen,

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