The FORT Podcast: Ryan Broderick – Co-Founder of Darwin Homes – Building the Amazon of Single-Family Property Management

Ryan Broderick is the Co-Founder & CEO of Darwin Homes. Darwin Homes is a real estate investment management platform focused on the single-family rental opportunity, enabling investors to invest anywhere simply with confidence. Darwin has raised just under $50m in venture capital from Khosla Ventures, Camber Creek, Fifth Wall, Canvas Ventures, Tony Xu, Ryan Graves, Ryan Roslansky, and other technology leaders.

Prior to founding Darwin Homes, Ryan was part of the founding team at DoorDash. During his tenure at DoorDash, he built and led the first Launch team, which was tasked with scaling the DoorDash operation from Silicon Valley to over 250 cities in the US. He then went on to build the Merchant Team responsible for Business Development, Sales, Merchant Products, and Merchant Operations. Before DoorDash, Ryan worked at JUMP Investors, an early-stage VC firm led by Randall Kaplan, the Co-Founder of Akamai Technologies. Ryan holds a B.S from the University of Southern California and an MBA from Pepperdine University.

In this episode, Chris and Ryan discuss:

  • Lessons learned from being early at DoorDash and how he applied those principles to property management
  • How they enter a market and all that happens
  • How they’ve approached single-family property management from first principles to building revolutionary tools for owners
  • Future opportunities that can be done when Darwin hits scale, including new resident monetization strategies

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(2:58) – Ryan’s early career with Doordash

(16:40) – What was the initial thesis for Darwin Homes?

(26:55) – What does scale give Darwin that the local PM will never have?

(30:55) – What do you mean by the Surface Area in Property Management?

(32:40) – What does a great engineering culture look like?

(36:13) – How does the best idea win when you’re first building a product that needs to 10x?

(38:58) – What happens from Day 0 of entering a new market? 

(42:22) – How do you source vendors in a market?

(48:00) – What makes a good city for Darwin to enter?

(49:22) – Darwin’s Build-to-rent operation

(50:12) – Why do you have an acquisitions team within a property management company?

(56:38) – Ryan’s vision for Darwin

(1:01:30) – How big is the SFR & BFR market getting?

 (1:04:53) – What do institutional owners care about and what do retail owners care about?

(1:08:11) – Are we moving to a world where people rent homes sight unseen? 

(1:11:38) – Resident Monetization

(1:15:10) – Is there room for managing homes for homeowners?

 (1:19:31) – Do you have any desire to buy property managers in other markets?

 (1:21:06) – Are the people you’re hiring already in the PM industry?

(1:23:11) – Thoughts on construction

(1:27:03) – What are you seeing going on in VC given everything happening in the economy?

(1:36:29) – Thoughts on Blue Collar work

(1:47:19) – Shooting the shit and bouncing business ideas off each other


Episode Summary

Ryan Broderick, renowned for his deep expertise in property management and the Single Family Rentals (SFR) landscape, joined Chris Powers on a podcast episode that delved into the intricacies of today’s real estate and property management industries. Drawing from his extensive experience and insights, Broderick shared a wealth of knowledge on pivotal topics that are shaping the future of property management.

At the outset, Broderick emphasized the challenges of managing vast portfolios, such as those containing 500 units in dynamic markets like Atlanta. He illuminated the pitfalls of traditional property management, which often grapples with data fidelity issues stemming from excessive human intervention. To combat this, he introduced “Origin”, a cutting-edge property management software designed to streamline operations and infuse much-needed automation. This innovation, according to Broderick, is not merely a technological leap but a paradigm shift in how property management is perceived and executed.

The conversation swiftly transitioned to the transformative potential of creating an end-to-end property management infrastructure for SFR. Broderick spotlighted the importance of resident-centricity in this domain, underscoring how Darwin’s innovative approach is setting it apart from traditional models. He elaborated on their strategy to aggregate individual properties, reposition them, and then present them as lucrative opportunities for investors, emphasizing the SFR market’s boundless potential.

Broderick also shed light on the increasing trend of leasing homes site-unseen. He noted that as trust in established property management brands, like Darwin, grows, more residents are comfortable with online leasing, marking a significant evolution in the real estate leasing process. This trend, he suggested, is indicative of the broader shifts in consumer behavior and the real estate market’s digital transformation.

A focal point of the discussion was the pivotal role of vendors in property management. Broderick elucidated how Darwin’s proactive approach in vendor management, tool provision, and timely payments is fostering strong, lasting partnerships. He stressed that vendors are essentially the “lifeblood” of the property management industry, and nurturing these relationships is paramount for sustained success.

The dialogue also touched upon the challenges in the venture capital landscape, especially in the growth business sector. Broderick provided a candid perspective on the public markets’ influence on venture capital decisions and the current state of the VC market. He emphasized the need for recalibration in the industry, given the evolving dynamics and challenges.

In conclusion, this enlightening episode with Ryan Broderick offered listeners a panoramic view of the current property management and real estate landscape. The discussion was a treasure trove of industry insights, with Broderick’s expert reflections guiding the way. For anyone keen on understanding the intricacies of modern property management and the real estate market, this episode stands as an indispensable resource. Through Broderick’s seasoned perspective, listeners are equipped with the knowledge to navigate the complex waters of today’s real estate world, making it an episode not to be missed.

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