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First to market and no fear of failure

Tanner McGraw saw technological shortcomings in real estate and acted with Apto


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Tanner McGraw

Founder and CEO of Apto

Age: 35

When Tanner McGraw realized his industry was lagging in technology, he wasn’t afraid to innovate. 

It pays to be first to market with a product or service. Ten years ago, in the realm of commercial real estate brokerage, McGraw says, “A good portion of the marketplace was still using spreadsheets to run otherwise sophisticated businesses.”

McGraw grew so frustrated with technological shortcomings that he started Apto in 2012 to provide a cloud-based CRM and deal management platform for commercial real estate brokers. Five years later, Apto holds enterprise agreements with five of commercial real estate’s top seven brands, and has 85 full-time employees — up from 27 in 2015.

In McGraw’s experience, “People are the foundation to any great business.” As he puts it, “I want to work with people who are inspiring, stimulating and smart.”

A good leader doesn’t just hire the right people — he or she enables them to succeed, too. At Apto that means engaging workers with monthly team-building activities and yearly service projects and challenging everyone to think outside of the box.

McGraw’s advice to his fellow entrepreneurs goes hand-in-hand with his overarching approach to business:

“Listen more,”

he says.

“As the Type A crowd, we tend to be talk first, action first — and sometimes that prevents the right decision. The answer is always there, you just have to be able to hear it.”   

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Jamie Siebrase

Jamie Siebrase is a freelance writer based in Colorado.

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