Lane Hornung – zavvie – Profile

Highlights:

  • CoFounder of zavvie – Boulder, CO-based real estate tech startup
  • Founder/Owner 8z Real Estate – Top 10 Brokerage in Colorado
  • RE/MAX Hall of Fame, Former #1 RE/MAX Team in Colorado
  • Creator of COhomefinder.com – #1 Home search site in Colorado
  • ZipRealty – one of its founding executives, head of Business Development
  • Researcher (“Chimp 1”) for Jim Collins book Good to Great
  • University of Colorado MBA
  • US Marine Corp Cobra Attack Helicopter Pilot – Persian Gulf War
  • Stanford Grad and UC Berkeley Navy ROTC

Lane Hornung possesses an unexpected combination of technological prowess and real estate acumen, born from the mind of a business wunderkind. As the Founder and CEO of both Lane Hornung zavviezavvie – real estate’s first HyperLocal Marketing platform – and the progressive, top-ranked real estate company to work for in Boulder, Colorado – 8z Real Estate – his path to becoming a respected innovator and accomplished Realtor and broker-owner is both eclectic and impressive.

Raised in Colorado, Hornung’s path into technology was circuitous: he attended Stanford University to pursue a degree in Industrial Engineering, but was stationed at the University of California Berkeley’s Navy ROTC unit, as Stanford didn’t offer an ROTC option. He truly was a born leader, as he was the first Stanford midshipman to become a commanding officer at Berkeley. Ultimately, Hornung would not only graduate with honors from Stanford, but joined the United States Marine Corps to serve as a Cobra Attack Helicopter Pilot during the Persian Gulf War.

After more than six years of U.S. military service, Hornung attended the University of Colorado Boulder to pursue his MBA. During his first year in 1994, famed business author Jim Collins handpicked him as a Research Associate for his legendary book “Good to Great.” Hornung says that Collins nicked-named his researchers “Chimp” and Hornung was proud to bear the title of “Chimp 1.”

Hornung graduated with honors from the University and started his civilian career as a Partner with a private equity investment firm, Greendeck Capital in Denver, which funded seed stage technology companies. He moved on after a little more than a year, and in the fall of 1998, joined an e-business consulting firm – XOR – as a Director of Business Development. It was there that Hornung’s career would be catapulted into the real estate industry spotlight.

Hornung was recruited by Benchmark Capital to help out with one of their investments: the real estate industry’s first online-powered brokerage, ZipRealty. As one of its founding executives, Hornung was Zip’s Vice President of Business Development and Marketing. It was at Zip that he learned “that real estate and the Internet were a good thing,” he says slyly.

As a technologist with acute business skills, Hornung thrived at the Bay Area’s startup and quickly became the firm’s lead generation guru. He helped the nation’s original “e-Brokerage” grow from a handful of agents into a publicly traded company with more than 3,000 agents.

His experience at Zip gave Hornung a business epiphany: It was great to be in technology, but it was better to be in real estate and use technology. Hornung put his theory into practice, left ZipRealty and joined arguably the biggest and best brand in real estate: RE/MAX.

At RE/MAX Alliance in Boulder, Colorado, Hornung leveraged both his technology savvy and business talents to quickly become a superstar broker, achieving RE/MAX Diamond Club Status, heading up the #1 RE/MAX Team in its home state of Colorado and finally, was named to the RE/MAX Hall of Fame.

Uniquely, Hornung was not only a technologist who could talk the talk, he also was a real estate broker who walked the walk. He would leverage these talents in 2002 to create the most popular real estate search site in the state for more than a decade: COhomefinder.com. Remarkably, it was a model consumer-centric site that the conventional real estate industry, nearly 15 years later, is trying to mimic nationally: up-to-date listings, no ads, simple but powerful search tools and consumer contact info that was not sold to five real estate agents.

Then in 2009, Hornung’s thirst for innovation would drive him to create 8z Real Estate with the unabashed slogan: “Real estate is broken. We are fixing it.” Hornung has fostered, over the last six years and counting, a culture of “8zers” that includes Realtors, software engineers, social media marketers and client care coordinators. The 150-plus person strong firm of professionals is “deeply passionate about fixing real estate,” Hornung says.

The company’s “8z Manifesto” touts its consumer-centric principals, and its seriousness about the real estate business. It’s paid off: the firm is consistently recognized for fostering an environment for innovation. Both the Denver Post, and ColoradoBiz, has named the work environment he has carefully cultivated at 8z, as one of the “Best Companies to Work For” in the state. 8z has also been honored with a highly coveted Webby Award for its mobile app, and Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate revered the firm as a data innovator.

But Hornung is anything but finished when it comes to his penchant to innovate: he is taking the technology that powers 8z and is bringing it to the masses. With his newest venture – zavvie – he’s created real estate’s first HyperLocal Marketing platform, delivering a complete system to help local real estate agents build their listing business and become the dominate agent in their neighborhood.

Hornung explains that zavvie’s goal is to make sure every neighborhood in America has a go-to real estate pro. HyperLocal Marketing is the key to making that happening, he says, “because history has shown that the best agents used farming as one of the most powerful ways to grow and maintain their successful real estate businesses. zavvie modernizes what farming used to do offline to an online digital process so agents can continue to do what they’ve been doing in real estate forever: “Provide belly-to-belly service,” he said.

Through zavvie, agents get direct access to potential sellers in their own neighborhood, achieving a success rate that is up to four times faster than traditional farming methods. For consumers, Hornung says zavvie taps into today’s social-media driven communications, connecting potential buyers and sellers with agents.

“Agents use zavvie to showcase their expertise and build credibility with their neighbors,” he says. “It creates a steady, more predictable business for agents because it generates business that is not seasonally sensitive; it’s more effective, because it is HyperLocal focused on an agent’s own neighborhood; and it’s far more efficient because real estate pros spend less time chasing ghost leads and more time servicing real clients.”

Hornung understands the power of connecting to one’s community. His businesses support Greenhouse Scholars as a major donor and he serves on its local board. This non-profit organization takes high performing, but under resourced kids in high school and helps them transition to college. He also created an organization called “Salute Colorado,” which helps veterans transition into the civilian world and helps them to navigate and adjust. Finally, his 8z Real Estate Firm provides matching funds to support the nonprofit efforts of his agents and other team members.

A third generation Coloradan, Hornung is an avid snow skier and endurance enthusiast. He can often be found outdoors, either training for the next Iron Man competition or spending time with his family. Married for 22 years, he and his wife have three children, a daughter at Gonzaga University, a son in high school and a daughter in middle school.

Putting his remarkable life in context, Hornung harkens back to the lessons he learned from working with Jim Collins, when defining what he considers success. “I am a clock builder versus a time teller. I’m trying to build an organization that endures beyond me. I know I’m done when the clock is actually going to keep better time without me than it is with me.”

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