- Opendoor is coming out as a proptech leader, with $2.3 billion in revenue in the last quarter.
- The company uses algorithms to put quick offers on homes, before flipping and reselling them.
- Opendoor’s VP of engineering said the company wants to fill 30 engineering roles by year’s end.
In the battle of the property-technology firms, Zillow abruptly shut down its multibillion-dollar home-flipping arm last week, while its rival, Opendoor, is posting industry-leading numbers.
Opendoor recently announced its revenue nearly doubled to $2.3 billion from last quarter and that it had bought more than 15,000 homes in Q3.
This home-flipping business is known as instant buying, or “iBuying,” and it uses machine-learning algorithms to quickly put cash offers on homes before the companies renovate them and resell them. Zillow’s iBuying business represented just one element of the company, while companies like Opendoor and Offerpad work in iBuying exclusively.
Despite the financial risk of iBuying, Carrie Wheeler, Opendoor’s chief financial officer, said in a recent earnings call that Opendoor’s specialization and expertise in the business will allow it to “continuously improve how we model and approach home price valuations.”
Mark Kinsella, VP of Engineering at Opendoor, said the company is hiring 30 engineers by the end of the year to continue working on that algorithm as machine learning engineers. Opendoor is also looking to fill other roles in front-end engineering, back-end engineering, mobile-focused engineering, data engineering, and infrastructure engineering.
Next year, the company is looking to hire for roughly 100 additional engineering roles, primarily in the US and Canada. The company recently announced it’s hiring for its engineering product development team in Toronto.
“The key thing we’re looking for is what we call ‘entrepreneurial engineers,'” Kinsella said. “Meaning engineers that have a strong business mindset, customer focus, and a very strong technical aspect so they can connect the dots and build the right product for the right customer.”
Kinsella shared how he evaluates engineering talent, and some questions candidates should expect during the interview process.
Understanding how candidates react to and solve real world problems
At the heart of iBuying are human expertise and machine learning algorithms that take in millions of data points, like characteristics of homes in the market, challenges to the market, and economic characteristics of the home’s location, to arrive at an accurate price.
Opendoor is currently hiring for engineers to build on its machine learning models to continue developing its pricing capabilities, so it can make accurate and competitive home offers.
Kinsella said Opendoor is also constantly improving its onboarding flow – the process of adding new products and expanding into new markets.
One of the things Kinsella asks senior engineers to do is rework and rewrite the company’s onboarding funnel as the company continues to grow and scale and face new challenges.
Because Opendoor is a small, fast-growing engineering organization, candidates should also have a startup mentality.
“Every engineer we bring on will have massive impact, massive scope, and a large area to own,” Kinsella said.
Making sure engineers stay close with customers
Kinsella said the company wants to interview engineering candidates who have a customer-first mentality.
“When they’re actually on the job, every decision that engineers are making are starting and ending with what’s best for the customer,” Kinsella said.
To keep engineers connected with customers, Kinsella said the company has “call listening sessions” every week, where internal operators share what they’re hearing from customers and how they’re feeling.
“Engineers can understand and internalize that,” Kinsella said, “and include that in future solutions, future code deploys, and to make sure they’re solving those problems for our customers.”