Ori Allon and Robert Reffkin’s Urban Compass, a tech-driven real estate platform that puts technology at the fingertips of its agents and clients, is being sued by entrepreneur Avi Dorfman for stealing his idea. This according to a report in The Real Deal.
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Dorfman claims in the suit that Reffkin, Urban Compass’ co-founder and CEO, knowingly used his business model as the basis for Urban Compass. He also maintains that his “neighborhood ninjas, ” which refers to expert local brokers who provide information, was also stolen by Urban Compass.
He alleges that this happened after the two men had met, in 2012, when Dorfman was looking for funding for his now defunct business RenJolt, The suit alleges that Reffkin promised to team up with Dorfman by bringing in funding from firms like Goldman Sachs while the plaintiff would provide his real estate knowledge and expertise.
According the accusations, Reffkin had promised Dorfman that he would buy RenJolt and that the two men would then form a new company in which the later would be a co-founder with a 2.5% share and a job with an $80, 000 a year base salary. They also signed a non-disclosure agreement. Dorfman asserts that he then gave Reffkin RenJolt’s proprietary software code and data.
Mr. Dorfman further alleges that he accompanied Mr. Reffkin to a meeting at Goldman in which $6 million in seed money was secured for Urban Compass and that he also helped to bring Ori Allon into the company.
The lawsuit states that, “Without Dorfman’s input in the early stages of the company, Urban Compass never would have been in a position to grow at the speed and to the size it did.”
Urban Compass is denying Dorfman’s accusations as an attempt to horn in on the firm’s success.
Urban Compass executive Sofia Song told The Real Deal that, “any time a company experiences success, there are going to be individuals attempting to opportunistically exploit it. We believe this claim does not have any merit, and we look forward to the opportunity to substantiate that.”
The lawsuit was filed in a New York State Court on Wednesday.
Launched in May 2013, Urban Compass is now valued at $360 million as it recently brought in $40 million in new funding.
Prior to Urban Compass Robert Reffkin worked at Goldman Sachs as Chief of Staff to the President and COO. He received a B.A. and M.B.A. from Columbia University.