Interview with Homie’s CEO Johnny Hanna
Johnny Hanna has always loved technology. While at BYU-Idaho, he was part of a team whose business plan won a competition for real estate software. In 2003 he co-founded Entrata, turning $50,000 into a 1,500 person company with over $100 million of revenue. Fast forward a few years, Hanna is now co-founder of Homie, a technology company that automates and streamlines real estate transactions. Homie is on a mission to prove home buying and selling can be inexpensive and straightforward.
How did you initially get started in the industry?
I always wanted to take a crack at disrupting the real estate industry using software automation. At Entrata we were pioneers in building tools for renters to be able to pay rent online, search for apartments online, schedule an in-person tour, and sign a lease agreement using technology.
At Homie we are disrupting an even more significant part of the real estate industry by using technology to change the business model of buying and selling a home. We believe that six percent real estate commissions are outdated and fundamentally unfair, especially with the technology we use every day.
What are the top two most recent professional accomplishments you are most proud of?
Homie is zealous about measurement and growth. Changing an industry isn’t easy to achieve, and I’m very proud of our team.
Homie sells homes faster than the overall market and for more money than the traditional agent. Our average customer is saving more than $10,000 in commissions.
What drew you to Utah?
I moved to Provo and joined a few friends to found Entrata in 2003. I met my wife a few years later, and we moved to Philadelphia. Not long after that, we realized how awesome Utah is, and moved back home. We now live in Orem.
What do you like most about doing business in Utah?
I love the amazing teams we’ve built at Entrata and now Homie. The people in Utah are ambitious, self-starters, hard working and have high emotional intelligence. I’m very impressed by the quality and caliber of Utah’s talent pool.
What advice do you have for individuals considering starting a business or relocating their business to Utah?
It doesn’t seem like a lot of convincing is needed for Utahns to start a business here; it’s happening at a record pace. Save yourself some time and just make the move. Utah is exceptionally well managed and business-friendly, the network of technology leaders is very tight and approachable, and you can’t beat the quality of living.
What’s your primary challenge of doing business in Utah?
Utah’s tech secret is out of the bag. Several technology companies outside of the state are opening offices here, making it more competitive to hire top candidates and putting upward pressure on salaries. Because Utah is growing so quickly, there’s also a housing shortage, which is driving up home values and prices.
Tell me a fun fact about yourself.
We have a pirate ship in our backyard. I love basketball more than technology and still secretly hope to get a day contract from the Utah Jazz.
Is there anything else you would like the reader to know about you?
Go and create! Don’t let fear hold you back. There are so many resources available to help you build a successful business. The Governor’s Office of Economic Development has a great program Homie took advantage of early on and we received a grant pivotal to our success.