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Meet Robert Reffkin, American Entrepreneur Who Co-Founded Compass, Inc.



Robert Reffkin, a pioneer in online real estate, was born in Berkeley, California, on June 7, 1979. His father was African American, while his mother was Israeli. Reffkin’s mother’s parents disowned their daughter after he was born because she had a child with a black guy. Later, Reffkin’s father left his mother as well. Reffkin was thereafter reared by a single father during his childhood and adolescence in Berkeley, California. Throughout his teens, he battled a sense of belonging, and having a dual identity made matters worse.

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Reffkin, at 11 years old, became aware that his mother was having financial difficulties and resolved to find a method to assist her. Reffkin made the decision to pursue DJing as a career partly because of his own love of music after witnessing one perform at a party. He saved for three more years to buy DJ equipment before starting to advertise with his mother’s help. Reffkin worked at bar mitzvahs, house parties, and school dances throughout high school, and because to these efforts, he was able to save $100,000.

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In 1997, Reffkin submitted an application to Columbia University after falling in love with the campus. Reffkin graduated from Columbia in 2000 and went on to work as a business analyst at McKinsey & Company, one of the top three management consulting firms, despite having a less than stellar high school academic record. He was accepted to Columbia despite this and finished its four-year academic program in just two and a half years. He was the firm’s youngest-ever analyst hire.

After earning his MBA from Columbia in 2003, Reffkin went back to Wall Street and started working as an associate at Lazard. Reffkin joined the George W. Bush administration in 2005 as a White House Fellow serving as a special assistant to John Snow, the secretary of the Treasury. Reffkin founded the nonprofit New York Needs You at the age of 29 to assist students who were the first in their families to enroll in college. Reffkin joined the investment banking division of Goldman Sachs in April 2011 and quickly moved up the ranks to take the position of chief of staff to Gary Cohn, the former CEO and president.

Reffkin founded Compass, an internet real estate firm, in October 2012. Compass made it simpler for clients to find houses by releasing mobile apps for both brokers and clients. This helped real estate grow as an industry globally. The company has had tremendous growth since its beginning, making Reffkin the youngest of the eight Black billionaires in the United States. Beyond the realm of business, Reffkin has made his other pastimes into charitable projects. To raise $1 million for charities and nonprofits, he has completed 50 marathons in 50 different states. On May 4, 2021, he released his book No One Succeeds Alone. In it, he shares his life’s journey and lessons learned in an effort to motivate and counsel readers.



Written by How Africa News

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