Fund That Flip has grown so much that it’s outgrown the name.
The company, jointly based in Cleveland and New York, has blossomed into a leading real estate investment firm providing end-to-end technology and capital services to real estate entrepreneurs and investors. It focuses on providing solutions for the entire residential real estate investment market and passive wealth generation for both individual and institutional investors.
After featuring Fund That Flip in May 2022, Purpose Jobs recently caught up with the company to talk about growth through an evolving real estate market while maintaining culture and rolling out a fresh brand (more on that later).
The company’s H.U.S.T.L.E. acronym continues to represent the core values of Hard work, Unity, Success, Transparency, Learn every day, and Empathy.
“We always return to our H.U.S.T.L.E. values and leverage them every day,” says Lauren Hoffman-Noark, Director of Brand, Content and Creative. “The real estate industry is rapidly changing, and we consistently return to our values as we continue to grow.”
Adds Brendan Bennett, VP of Revenue: “I think it's easier to maintain core values when things are sunshine and rainbows. Those are the things that actually helped us sustain the macroeconomic turbulence that we were facing, but also now help us fly above it and start to go back on a growth trajectory.”
Fund That Flip, now Upright
Continuing Growth, Achieving Efficiency
Even amid growth, the company has focused on the typical challenges of a maturing startup, such as operating efficiently and working effectively across functions within the organization. Working with transparency and intention has been critical for the team.
For one, the team has always been intentional about hiring, believing that slower is faster when it comes to recruiting.
The months-long setback from hiring the wrong candidate can be detrimental. The team realized that it’s better to spend a few extra weeks on the front end to find the right person, in the right place, at the right time.
“If we jump into a decision really quickly, sometimes that comes back to bite us,” Brendan said. “Whereas, in the cases where we've tested our patience a little bit and gone 30 days past our desired hire date, we've had a really great outcome and I think that the whole team benefited from it.”
Growing from a 30-person team to nearly 200 in the course of three years, Fund That Flip is mastering another common growing pain for startups: knowledge transfer.
“When you have what was a very small company a short period of time ago, I think getting that tribal knowledge passed down in a way that's repeatable and scalable is something that's difficult,” Brendan said. “It's kind of forcing our hand to be able to get good at this skill, which is getting people who hold a lot of the cards in the company and allowing them to distribute those throughout the rest of the organization. We're still working on it, as I think most startups are.”
Fund That Flip is also working on cross-functional collaboration.
For example, five departments may work together on one loan origination. Putting a salesperson, underwriter, legal rep, account manager, and a closing rep all in the same room on a daily basis keeps the process moving forward.
“The reason we do this is it's such a short closing cycle where you have about two weeks from loan inception to loan closing,” Brendan said. “There's not enough time to wait two days for an email response. You have to get answers in the moment if we want to deliver a really good experience for our customer base.”
That’s a case in which geography matters. For other roles, such as data analysts, a hybrid work style is efficient. Some roles are location-dependent, whereas a data analyst can sit anywhere.
“What matters most to us is bringing in people with the right skills, but also people who can add to our culture, which is always growing,” says Lauren. “That’s a critical approach to how we evaluate candidates. We hire people who embody our H.U.S.T.L.E. values and can add to our culture.”
Fund That Flip Becomes Upright
Longstanding employees have known for years that a brand refresh, or more of a “brand expansion,” would be in order eventually as the company expanded into new construction and a rental product.
Then in 2021 Fund That Flip acquired a software company, FlipperForce; it became even more holistic in terms of the services it could offer to customers, from beginning to end.
Going forward, Fund That Flip (and FlipperForce) will be known as Upright.
The new identity has several meanings related to real estate. Constructing houses and going vertical can be referred to as bringing a project “upright.” On the passive investing side, the company’s goal is to help people grow their portfolio “up and to the right.”
“Our vision statement has always been that we want to be the predominant platform where real estate investors transact their business. And, up until maybe a year or two ago, we had only honed in on the lending portion of that,” Brendan said. “We've just outgrown the name. We are now offering a lot more to the customer base and we want our name to reflect that as well; something that's a little bit more versatile that can be interpreted as many different products all in one.”
Interested in working at Upright? Learn more about their community impact, and check out their open roles now.