Check in with VP of Engineering, Mark Kinsella: One year after joining Opendoor
Mark Kinsella reflects on the past year at Opendoor and what he’s looking forward to most.
8/17/2021 · 4 min read
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It’s been one year since Mark Kinsella joined our team as VP of Engineering. And since then a lot has happened. We caught up with him to hear about what he’s learned over the past year, what we’ve accomplished as an engineering organization, and what we’re still working toward on the road to simplifying one of life’s biggest transactions.
It’s been one year since you joined the Opendoor team. What have you learned in that time?
For starters, I’ve learned that real estate is incredibly complex. Though that’s something I knew coming into this role, it’s even more true today. The problems we’re working to solve are challenging and exciting, and we’re just starting to scratch the surface. Over the past year, we spent a lot of time addressing how to modernize the antiquated traditional way of selling your home. We introduced new product and tech updates to make the process fully digital and more seamless for our customers. A few examples include the expansion of buying capabilities and virtualizing the home assessment process.
On a more personal level, I found onboarding and working from home for an entire year wasn’t as abnormal as I thought it would be. While it was still a challenge, we learned as a team how to connect and collaborate remotely, and how to foster innovation, even in separate rooms.
We know one of your goals was to level up the engineering org’s visibility, and scale the team. How’s that going?
This past year has also been a tremendous year of growth, especially for our eng teams. Since going public in December 2020, we’ve been in scaling mode and grew our Engineering team by 50% to support our business growth. And because of this, we’ve had to reevaluate some of our processes. For example, some things that worked for us last year now need tweaks and improvements to support our growth and scale.
We’ve hired—and are still hiring—across all levels, while also focusing on retaining our incredibly strong Eng team. I’m proud of that and am looking forward to growing even more.
What has evolved over the past year? What were some of the challenges?
While working from home has its benefits, it was still a challenge. I interviewed and onboarded completely remotely last summer. It was in the height of the pandemic, so not being able to see people in-person was tough. I still have yet to meet 99% percent of the company in real life!
Another challenge has been to scale with the company. As Opendoor continues to expand its footprint across the country, we’ve had to rapidly scale up with the increasing demand. In the hottest real estate market in a generation, we are seeing record demand and engagement on the Opendoor platform. Over the past six months, we’ve launched 20 new markets and are running national TV commercials, all driving more volume and traffic that we need to prepare for.
While it was a rollercoaster of a year, can you tell us what you are most proud of?
Absolutely. There are a lot of things to be proud of over the past year. But, if I had to pick just one, it has to be our people, our team. The resilience, the innovation, the hustle, and the growth has been incredible. And we’re hiring to help meet our record demand and growth.
I’m also really energized by the work we did on Opendoor Backed Offers, which we launched earlier this year. It helps enable anyone to be a cash buyer — something that is pivotal to compete, especially in today’s market. A cash offer increases the chances of winning a dream home, making homeownership more accessible. This product alleviates so many pain points for our customers, including both buyers and sellers, as well as our agent partners.
So what’s ahead for Opendoor’s Eng organization? What do you want to accomplish in year two and beyond?
A lot. But I think the main focus is to continue growing and scaling our team. Looking ahead, I see multiple product lines will be a big focus — finance, home improvements and renovations, personalization and more. Our vision is to build a one-stop shop that allows people to move with the click of a button.
As I said in the beginning, we’re just starting to scratch the surface. And if my first year at Opendoor is any indication of what’s to come, we have an exciting future ahead of us. Stay tuned!
Interested in joining the team? We’re hiring engineers! Check out our careers page for open positions.