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Compass opens West Coast tech hub 2 blocks from Amazon’s headquarters

CEO Reffkin handed out cake pops to passersby, including some Amazon employees

Compass, a real estate brokerage and tech company, opened an office in Seattle that’s two blocks from Amazon’s headquarters and a mile from Zillow’s main offices.

New York-based Compass now has three floors of a new building at 503 Westlake Avenue that will eventually house over 100 engineers and 70 operations staff. The Seattle campus will be Compass' West Coast technology hub and will be the nexus of the company's six regional offices in Washington, the company said in a statement.

"We designed this space to foster collaboration between our brokers, product, engineering and operations teams," said Paul Peterman, president of Compass Washington. "This gives us the unique opportunity to quickly test and launch products and services to benefit brokers, sellers and buyers here and across the country."

Compass CEO Robert Reffkin handed out cake pops to passersby, including some Amazon employees who happened to be walking by, after a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday, according to GeekWire. 

“This is a city of Amazon, where Jeff Bezos started his company out of his garage and it became something that really transformed the world we live in,” Reffkin told GeekWire. “Effectively what books are for Amazon, the brokerage model is for us.”

Compass has made a splash in the last seven years, raising millions of dollars from investors such as Fidelity and SoftBank while billing itself as the “first modern real estate platform.”

In July, the company settled a pair of lawsuits in which Zillow had accused it of poaching employees and data theft. That same day, Realogy, the nation’s largest owner of real estate brokerages, filed a lawsuit alleging Compass engaged in illegal and unfair business practices. 

In a Sept. 6 filing Compass denied the charges and told the court that if Realogy’s suit wasn’t dismissed it would file counterclaims based on “a meeting arranged by Realogy CEO Ryan Schneider in which Schneider discussed that he had considered selling the company.” That led to the unusual step of Realogy filing an internal memo with the SEC on Sept. 9 from its CEO, Ryan Schneider, to employees saying the discussions never happened. 

Compass was co-founded in 2012 by Ori Allon, who sold previous startups to Google and Twitter, and Reffkin, who had risen through the ranks of Goldman Sachs to become chief of staff to the investment bank’s president.

In late July, Compass announced it had raised $370 million in its latest funding round. The investments valued the company at $6.4 billion sparked speculation it was nearing an initial public offering.

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