Reali, a real estate and fintech startup, hired Delma Locke as its first ever Chief Legal Officer. Ms. Locke was formerly the associate general counsel at Uber Technologies. She assumed the Chief Legal Officer position at the beginning of December 2021.
Founded in 2016, Reali is disrupting the real estate industry with a technologically advanced second-home buying platform. The San Mateo, California-based startup plans to focus on growing in the California market before expanding across the United States.
“After working at disruptive companies like Apple and Uber, I wanted to join a company that is innovating and reinventing a market, and Reali is innovating the real estate industry,” Ms. Locke commented.
A Goal to Make Second Time Home Buying Easier
Reali’s goal is to make second time home buying a more consumer friendly process. It is creating a one-stop-shop to make home buying and selling a more coordinated, efficient experience. The startup considers itself both a real estate and fintech company. It leverages technology to create a “high-tech, high-touch” approach for consumers.
Co-founders Amit Haller and Ami Avrahami initially envisioned the company as a discount brokerage on a mobile platform. That initial vision has shifted. Today, Reali maintains a range of services that include mortgages, title and escrow services, a property buying team, and a team of its own agents and loan officers.
In August 2021, Reali raised a $250 million Series B round. Zeev Ventures, an early-stage venture fund, led the financing round. Other participants included Akkadian Ventures and Signia Ventures. Reali raised $10 in a Series A funding round in December 2017.
How Reali Works
Reali is one of many startups that uses technology to disrupt the traditional residential real estate market. In the United States, home buying and selling is still primarily facilitated by local agents and realtors. Reali saw a spike in interest in its platform during the pandemic. In 2020, its business grew sevenfold as customers increasingly sought out online platforms.
The company offers two main products: Reali Trade-In and Reali Cash Offer. Both product lines help second-time homebuyers make a purchase even if their equity is trapped in their first home.
Reali will purchase the new home on the buyer’s behalf in cash, which gives the homebuyer a competitive edge over other bidders. The ability to close quickly in cash is especially useful in the competitive California housing market. Once Reali purchases the second home on the buyer’s behalf, the startup works to sell their first home. After the sale of the first home, the buyer will purchase the new home directly from Reali.
New Legal Counsel Brings Innovative Outlook and Insights
“I am thrilled to be joining Reali at such a pivotal juncture, Ms. Locke stated. “I look forward to leveraging my experience and skills working at cutting-edge disruptive companies to help Reali scale and innovate in this space.”
Tony West, the Chief Legal Officer of Uber, expressed the upmost praise for Ms. Locke. “Delma’s been a rising star within our legal organization of over 600 lawyers. She helped push innovation within our legal team, and while we’re sad to lose her, I know she’ll be a huge asset to Reali,” stated Mr. West.
Prior to Uber, Ms. Locke was chief counsel of Apple from 2008 to 2015. Before that, she was an in-house lawyer at Sun Microsystems. Oracle acquired Sun Microsystems in 2010. Ms. Locke earned her law degree from Santa Clara University School of Law.
Ms. Locke has been engaged in diversity and inclusion efforts throughout her career. While at Uber, a company she joined in 2018, Ms. Locke was the founding chair of a diversity, equity, and inclusion council for the legal department. As a woman of color and first-generation college graduate, Ms. Locke has been open about the challenges of navigating the legal world without many role models growing up.
Reali is Poised to Handle Regulatory Challenges
Reali faces regulatory challenges at the local, state, and federal level. There are many mortgage lending and buying requirements. Ms. Locke’s experience on the legal team at Uber will help inform her decisions at Reali. Uber has grappled with numerous regulatory disputes worldwide on topics such as operating licenses, workers’ rights, and controversies over its pricing strategy.
Reali’s CEO Tyler Baldwin is excited Ms. Locke will help take the startup to the next level. “Her extensive legal expertise and rich background across key areas, including M&A and regulatory compliance, will be instrumental as we scale our operations,” Baldwin stated.