One key element of zipLogix as described by Chief Operating Officer Lisa Mihelcich, is the company’s belief in “the interoperability of data”. She describes it simply: input data once, and then use it many times. Not only has zipLogix helped real estate professionals to simply their paperwork by eliminating it, but the company has changed the real estate industry by creating true electronic digital transactions from listing the real estate to closing the sale. The company is also supported by the collective expertise of two dynamic and charismatic leaders; former CEO Joel Singer and current CEO Scott Strong.
1. More than 700,000 real estate professionals across the United States use zipLogix software.
The transactional software was designed to simplify complex and repetitive transactions by automating the transactions. COO Mihelcich, who has been with the company for nearly 30 years, made simplification her goal. Through the years, she’s worked to create industry alliances which have lasted. The company has grown significantly as a result and has expanded its services to include agents in Mexico, and Canada.
2. zipLogix is a subsidiary of Real Estate Business Services Inc. and a joint venture between that company and the National Association of REALTORS® .
Because zipLogix works closely with local and state realtor associations, the company can keep agents and brokers up to date with the most current forms. COO Mihelcich describes the platform and services as helping real estate professionals to be fully compliant with current regulatory standards, offering software solutions which capture data directly. This keeps information correct from the very start and maintains the proper information from the purchase agreement to the closing documents. Data entry redundancy is eliminated using technology.
3.The comprehensive zipLogix platforms automatically eliminate outdated forms in favor of the latest compliant versions.
Within the design process, zipLogix maintains existing transactions created with old forms and includes a version control integral to the software which ensure that those using the software have the most recent forms. The digital solution includes a mandatory access date which immediately updates everything digitally. This ensures full compliance upon input of data.
4. A customized Learning Path is available for professionals who join zipLogix Academy.
The company offers the opportunity to attend live webinars and access the Training Video Library. Educational resources are comprehensive, and the training is vigorous. An Education Library offers downloadable and printable PDF’s, a variety of guides, and step-by-step instructions in the Training Library. The company’s Video Playlist includes training videos by product, but it’s also possible to access information about the digital suite of products by visiting the company’s YouTube channel.
5. zipLogix is currently a controversial Member Benefit of the National Association of REALTORS®.
Members have access to the transaction tools suite which includes zipForm Plus- the Electric Forms Software; zip TMS-the Transaction Management offering seamless integration with zipForm Plus; and zipVault-the document storage tool which stores necessary transaction documents online in one central location with 24/7 access. The deal to provide all member Realtors with the software suite took place in November 2015. The National Association of REALTORS® board of directors made the software suite available at no cost to members, but the deal has resulted in more than $38 million in expenditures over the last three years and has contributed to the association’s reserves being depleted by 45 percent. The board of directors is proposing to raise the association’s dues in 2019 by $30, with part of the increase going to continued funding of zipLogix software for member’s benefits. Because the increase will result in an expenditure of some $7.5 million per year, there has been plenty of dissent and controversy within the association. Some local and state associations still provide their members with transaction management products which are competitors to zipLogix.
6. The technology company was created by and is owned by real estate professionals.
One primary aim of the company is to improve the efficiency and productivity of those who use it, and to do so throughout the real estate industry. The concern over data-sharing was reflected in the Center for California Real Estate Executive Report in 2015. The Round Table Series for 2015 included Data Sharing Dilemmas: Ownership of Real Estate’s Future. The round table discussion included discourse over “the incongruity” between “real estate industry’s restrictive and outdated infrastructure and technology advancements”. Former CEO Joel Singer was a member of the round table panel that year.
7. zipLogix lists its parent company as Real Estate Business Services, Inc.
While zipLogix was founded in 1991, Real Estate Business Services, Inc. was founded in 2006 and is a subsidiary of California Association of REALTORS®. In 2015, the California Association of REALTORS®, a 501(c) (6) non-profit corporation, reported its Form 990 current year revenue as $33,450,126 and its End of Year Net Assets as $57,648,213. The company’s mission statement is listed as “Enhance members’ ability to conduct their businesses successfully with integrity and competency.”
8. zipLogix grew out of a company based on paper forms.
At one time, paper forms were the backbone of the real estate business. The California Association of REALTORS® was the largest association of its kind and maintained forms for member agents use. Real Estate Business Services Inc. was the for-profit subsidiary of the California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.). It is based in Los Angeles, California. Joel Singer developed the original company and served as its president. Singer was the chief economist for C.A.R., having joined the organization in 1978. He also was the head of its public affairs department. He became the CEO of C.A.R. in November 1989 and eventually became the CEO of zipLogix. Singer was the zipLogix CEO for 18 years. During his tenure, the company became the leading forms management software solution for North American realtor associations and Multiple Listing Services. A primary growth spurt occurred when the National Association of REALTORS® chose zipLogix as its official software provider of real estate forms.
9. On January 25, 2018, zipLogix announced that Scott Strong was appointed its CEO.
Previous CEO Joel Singer has continued as a member of the board of directors and his endorsement of his successor included acknowledging Strong’s significant background in marketing, sales, and technology. Before Strong joined zipLogix, he was an executive with Siemens, the CEO of BLUE Software, and the Senior Vice President, Global Operations Director for the Software Division of Matthews international. His extensive experience within the SaaS enterprise software space is one key area which zipLogic prizes because it positions the company as the real estate industry’s transaction management solutions leader.
10. In 2018, Joel Singer was again listed as one of Swanepoel’s Power 200; The Most Powerful People in Residential Real Estate.
He also was included on Swanepoel’s Power 200 list in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017. His educational background was listed; including his BA in Economics and History and MA from UCLA. zipLogix was described as the largest real estate forms software program in the real estate industry. Singer was also noted as CEO of the California Association of REALTORS®; with more than 165,000 members- the largest statewide association.
11. On November 2, 2018, zipLogix announced its new partnership with Profit Power by Lantrax.
zipLogix’s zipForm Enterprise-Connect, its newly developed back office solution, will be fully integrated with Profit Power. The new partnership is expected to make the payment process for commissions simpler because brokerages will be able to access information from zipForm Plus. The company also announced that it would enter other new partnerships with weeks. This first integration is expected to create a real estate business hub which will centralize and simplify the management of all real estate business aspects.
12. Indeed.com published revealing employee reviews from zipLogix.
Six former and current employees posted reviews and rated the company with a total of 2.0 out of 5 stars. A former employee left a 1-star review stating that the atmosphere and management were horrible, though there was a decent amount of vacation and sick time, plus benefits and 401K. Another 1-star rating came from a former employee who cited an unusual, uncommon or unique work environment with 12 specific areas of corporate disfunction. A 2-star rating was due to terrible management and pay. A 3-star rating came from a former employee who listed only pros including a wonderful manager, a relaxed home office environment, and the chance to work with and help many people. A 4-star rating came from a current employee who noted that real estate agents in Mexico and the United States use zipLogix products and receive support around the clock Monday through Friday and from 10:00 A.M. to 10:00 P.M. on Saturday, Sunday, and holidays.
13. Glassdoor listed zipLogix salaries for 2 job titles on May 4, 2018.
The average estimated salary for the position of Help Desk Agent ranges from $24 K to $26K annually. The average estimated salary for the position of Sale Associate ranges from $38K to $42K annually. A former employee noted that benefits included a good 401K, health and dental.
14. In a recent Inman article, zipLogix acknowledged that Real Estate Business Services Inc. owns 57.4% of the company.
The National Association of REALTORS® owns 30.2% of zipLogix, and 11.6% is owned by the company itself. That leaves 0.8% interest owned by several local and state Realtor associations, but both zipLogix and the National Association of REALTORS® decline to name these.
15. There are three competitors to zipLogix which claim that the National Association of REALTORS® has never allowed firms other than zipLogix to compete for its business.
These competitors include Form Simplicity, dotloop’s owner Zillow Group, and Instanet, and the three stated to Inman that a request-for-proposal (RFP) process including information and pricing about their products has never taken place. Bids for business were not part of the process when zipLogix was first selected and no RFP process has been implemented as the National Association of REALTORS® board of directors considers a dues increase which will, in part, support the zipLogix software as a member benefit.
16. In 2018, Owler estimates zipLogix’s annual revenue at $6.3M.
The estimate is based on the expectation that zipLogix generates $87.4K per employee in revenue and that the company has approximately 72 employees. At the time Owler’s estimates were published, Joel Singer was still CEO, with an approval rating of 89%.
17. Joel Singer was a Fulbright Fellow at Albert Ludwigs Universitaet in Freiburg, Germany.
He spent one year and two months, from August 1976 to September 1977 as a Fulbright Fellow. In an interview, he noted that he was conducting his doctoral research on proto-industrialization in southwest Germany. He said that the southern Black Forest region was among the first to move toward industrialization, but ultimately failed to sustain its transition to an industrial economy. Singer believed it was an interesting case study focusing on social change, demographics and economics. He also noted that he was most influenced by the leadership of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill who guided Great Britain through World War II and its challenging times.
Prior to that, he was the Chancellor’s Intern Fellow at UCLA from September 1973 to June 1978. He also was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. He’s been a member of the California Association of REALTORS® for 40 years and 5 months, serving as Vice President of Public Policy and Chief Economist for 11 years and five months, followed by his current 18-years as President and CEO of zipLogix.
18. Scott Strong was an Aircraft Engine Design Engineer for General Electric Aircraft Engines and a graduate of the Edison Engineering Program.
He designed military fighter plane turbo machinery components and developed a preliminary design for a software tool which produced blade design simulations and performed design calculations. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan State University, a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Cincinnati, and a Master of Business Administration in the Executive Management Program from the Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management. He specializes in Organizational Turnaround & Growth and Software Development & Operational Alignment.
19. On November 5, 2018, the California Association of REALTORS® announced their 2019 leadership team, which includes Joel Singer as CEO.
The team began their term when the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® Conference and Expo closed in Boston at the end of that week. Also notable in the team is President-elect Jeanne Radsick, who was appointed to the Board of Directors for zipLogix; serving for several years. Significant information included Singer’s term as president and CEO of zipLogix from 2000 to 2018, and his position of the board of directors for the California Association of REALTORS® nonprofit Housing Affordability Fund, which produces, distributes, and promotes affordable housing. Since its inception, the nonprofit has raised $2.3 million.
20. New zipLogix CEO Scott Strong was motivated to take the position because it merged him and his wife into a common work world.
In a Real Estate Magazine interview, Strong was asked to reflect on his nearly completed first year with the company. He noted that he was an engineer before he transitioned into the deep software industry. With 25 years of experience in that industry, he became passionate about creating simple technology which makes complex problems easily solved repeatedly. His wife is a REALTOR®, and successful. After 14 years of living with her in the real estate business, he stated that he “jumped” at the chance to merge their worlds.