GoldenKey $3.4M Raised, 1000 Units Sold By Agents Using New Technology with CEO Tommy Sowers


In Episode #490, Nathan interviews Tommy Sowers, who worked for McKinsey & Company and was the youngest senate confirmed assistant secretary in the Obama administration. On top of this, he is the founder of GoldenKey.



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Famous Five:

  • Favorite Book? – Getting Things Done
  • What CEO do you follow? – Yvon Chouinard
  • Favorite online tool? — Evernote
  • Do you get 8 hours of sleep?— I try to
  • If you could let your 20-year old self, know one thing, what would it be? – “There is no risk and don’t wait for it to be easy”

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:40 – Nathan introduces Tommy to the show
  • 02:01 – GoldenKey is a no-commission real estate network
  • 02:30 – Tommy didn’t want to commission a real estate agent 2 years ago
  • 02:50 – “People hack real estate agents in a lot of different ways”
  • 03:49 – GoldenKey’s revenue model is a marketplace
    • 03:55 – Consumers pay on the services that they need
    • 04:22 – “When you buy or sell your home, the commission rebate will go to you”
  • 04:44 – In GoldenKey’s platform, the supply are agents
    • 04:50 – Agents offer unbundled services
    • 04:56 – From zero, GoldenKey managed to have 1798 agents in 47 states, much higher than Red Fin
  • 05:25 – The consumers are the home buyers or sellers
    • 05:30 – GoldenKey currently has 1/3 buyers and 2/3 sellers
    • 05:39 – Average of 1900 buyers and sellers
    • 05:44 – GoldenKey has currently executed over 900 service transactions
    • 06:11 – GoldenKey has saved consumers over $100,000 of commission
  • 06:25 – GoldenKey doesn’t share the number of monthly transactions publicly
  • 07:30 – They get different fees for different types of services
    • 07:45 – “This is not a do-it-yourself real estate and you actually have an agent with you”
  • 08:25 – If I buy a property for $500,000, how much would go to GoldenKey?
    • 08:30 – For search services, it is $50 which goes to the agent
    • 08:50 – On average the consumers pay $2000 to have agents represent them through the transactions
    • 09:07 – “The entire agent commission will be rebated back to you, which is usually 3% of the total transaction”
  • 09:30 – Agents choose GoldenKey because they get something rather than nothing at all
    • 09:40 – Agents can still do the traditional real estate commissioning
  • 09:58 – “There are a lot of consumers in the USA who don’t want to pay commission but need an agent’s help”
  • 10:31 – There are millions of real estate agents but they won’t always have a client
  • 11:51 – GoldenKey was founded in April 2015
  • 11:58 – 18 full-time employees
  • 12:00 – GoldenKey raised $3.4 million in venture capital
  • 13:13 – GoldenKey is not a brokerage and CAC is zero
  • 13:59 – GoldenKey is not a big technology company so they need money for the appropriate platform
  • 14:33 – The product design team is based in San Francisco
    • 14:54 – Others are distributed to other states
  • 15:13 – “Rule of thumb is when you don’t need to ask for money when you need money”
  • 15:35 – GoldenKey spends around $100,000 a month
  • 16:14 – GoldenKey joined NFX guild which is for companies building network and network effects
  • 17:01 – Connect with Tommy on Twitter and his website
  • 19:25 – The Famous Five

3 Key Points:

  1. Rule of thumb is you don’t need to ask for money when you need money.
  2. A LOT of consumers in the USA want an agent’s help, but DO NOT want to pay commission.
  3. There is NO risk. Don’t wait for it to be easy—just jump right in!

Resources Mentioned:

  • Toptal– Nathan found his development team using Toptal  for his new business Send Later. He was able to keep 100% equity and didn’t have to hire a co-founder due to the quality of Toptal
  • Host Gator– The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for the cheapest price possible.
  • Freshbooks– The site Nathan uses to manage his invoices and accounts.
  • Leadpages – The drag and drop tool Nathan uses to quickly create his webinar landing pages which convert at 35%+
  • Audible– Nathan uses Audible when he’s driving from Austin to San Antonio (1.5-hour drive) to listen to audio books.
  •  – The site Nathan uses to book meetings with one email.
  • Acuity Scheduling – Nathan uses Acuity to schedule his podcast interviews and appointments
  • Drip – Nathan uses Drip’s email automation platform and visual campaign builder to build his sales funnel.
  • @Sowers – Tommy’s Twitter handle
  • – Tommy’s business website
  • Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives