Despite being half of one of Edmonton’s fastest growing real estate brokerages, you probably haven’t seen Bruno Schiavon’s face smiling back at you from a cookie-cutter “For Sale” sign. Having got his start at a time when the market was dominated by a handful of supersized real estate companies and their legions of arm-crossed realtors, Schiavon soon realized that the traditional real estate model needed to change, and fast.
“Marc and I had an idea that we should make a web-site with an algorithm that pulls properties two to three days before they hit the public MLS site,” Schiavon says, remembering a pre-internet era when homebuyers roamed neighbourhoods aimlessly in hopes of spotting a listing. “We were sharing this idea in the common areas of these offices and these older agents were telling us, Whoa, don’t try to reinvent the wheel.”
Driven by a desire to do things differently, the pair built their brokerage around property-specific marketing, award-winning software, sleek graphic design and, for good measure, a series of tongue-in-cheek billboards that underscore their commitment to selling clients’ homes, instead of their own brand. The Foundry also partnered with Top 40 Under 40 alumni and Earth Group co-founders Matt Moreau and Kori Chilibeck for The #Homeroom Initiative, an initiative that gives the gift of a year’s worth of food, water and education to children in need with every home sold.
“What if a business model was a person and that person hadn’t changed for 30 years?” Schiavon says, reflecting on almost a decade of pushing the envelope in a notoriously rigid industry. “Sometimes people look at it as a negative, but I think change is a good thing. People might say, ‘You’ve changed.’ Well, I hope so.”