Robert Reffkin KP

Robert Reffkin

Reffkin's early career included investment banking and politics, but he embraced real estate in 2012 through the lens of technology.

Current role:
Co-Founder and CEO, Compass
Berkeley, CA
Power 200 Leadership Ranking:

Other notable roles

Founder of two philanthropic educational organizations: Success Academy Charter Schools, which enrolls low-income minority students; and America Needs You, a nonprofit that assists first-generation college students.

Career journey

After finishing undergraduate studies at Columbia University in just two and a half years, Reffkin worked on Wall Street at McKinsey and Company, where he was the youngest business analyst ever hired by the corporation. He returned to Columbia for his MBA before joining investment firm Lazard. He then worked as a White House Fellow in the office of the secretary of the treasury before returning to banking at Goldman Sachs, where he rose up the ranks to chief of staff for Goldman's president and COO. He left Goldman Sachs to launch Compass (originally Urban Compass), which emphasizes technology in real estate buying and selling. Reffkin and co-founder Ori Allon, a tech entrepreneur, started the company in 2012. Reffkin's mother, Ruth Reffkin, is a real estate agent at Compass and his inspiration for starting the company. 

In his own words

"What shaped me most as an entrepreneur was learning from my mother. She embodied the entrepreneurial spirit and taught me one of the most important principles: every time you get knocked down, you've got to bounce back with passion." (TechCrunch interview)

How others describe him

"You could tell this guy was already thinking about his future and what he wanted to do. He had lots of aspirations. He just had an aura of confidence." — Gary Cohn, former president and COO of Goldman Sachs, where Reffkin served as chief of staff.

Did you know?

Reffkin values philanthropy and has run fifty marathons — one in each state — to raise $1 million for charities. He is the author of the memoir "No One Succeeds Alone" and is donating all proceeds from the book to nonprofits that help young people realize their dreams.


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