was founded on the belief that the real estate industry was, in some respects, broken. Specifically created to address the traditional commission model of home buying, the company is “reconstructing how real estate is bought and sold.” connects home buyers and sellers directly and offers a range of professional services to help make transactions go smoothly.

Nearly 20 years after its founding, the Moncton-based company has grown to include 120 franchise units across Canada. During that time, CEO and co-founder Ken LeBlanc became the youngest person named to Atlantic Business Magazine’s Hall of Fame.

Ashly Bickford, Manager of Communications and Content, says the company now believes it’s time to bring their service—which they refer to as the Future of Real Estate—to the rest of the world.

ONB spoke to Ashly to learn more.

ONB: First, tell us about the relationship between ONB and your team.

Bickford: ONB has been a great strategic partner helping us grow our international footprint. Your team has helped with our trip to Australia to support our Master Franchise and better understand that export market. They’re also helping us with the U.S. Franchise Expo, as well as workforce strategy at head office in Moncton to support our growth and scale.

We’re also really excited about what your organization is doing to foster entrepreneurship here. That entrepreneurial spirit is very ingrained in our business model, so we love seeing ONB encourage that mindset.

Tell us about the company’s big Australia news.

We are really excited about the Australia announcement. We have found a terrific partner in Marcus Cann, who operates from Sydney. His unit will serve as a new Master Franchise, with Marcus serving as CEO of PropertyGuys Australia. We will mentor and guide his team from New Brunswick, but once they have their franchisees up and running they will act as a mini corporate location.

He is now looking for his foundation franchisees and we will support him in that pursuit. We know from building this in New Brunswick that those first 10 franchisees are really important. Fortunately, we had the right people at the right time in the beginning, many of whom are still with us all these years later. It goes to show that if stakeholders are on the same page, and are the right fit, this business model has real longevity.

It’s great to see this business go global and doing it all from New Brunswick.

It was always important to our founders to stay in New Brunswick, contribute to the provincial economy, and employ more New Brunswickers. This is their home and where it all began. Often, people think a national franchise like ours would be managed from a larger city like Toronto or Calgary but we’re proud of our roots. We’ve built a great team here in New Brunswick, and it’s easy for us to manage 120 franchise locations across the country from Moncton.

The support we’ve received from New Brunswick has been tremendous.

So this is your first major export activity outside of Canada?

Outside of Canada, yes. It’s our first Master Franchise ever, in fact. We have our sights set on the U.S. as well. We’re not there yet but we’re working on things like trademarks and other legal paperwork to make the process as smooth as possible. We expect to lock down our first Master Franchise there by the end of 2017.

You mentioned people being the right fit earlier. What do you look for in a franchisee?

Our ideal franchisee believes what we believe as it relates to our sector. They feel there is a better way to buy and sell real estate. They recognize how ripe for change the industry is. They’re not anti-agent, but very pro-consumer. They believe there should be more transparency and flexibility in the process of buying and selling homes.

Aside from that culture fit, we need people that are really connected to their local community. Real estate requires that local touch; when someone is already involved in their local community it makes starting a new business there a lot more successful from the beginning. Franchisees have come to us with different backgrounds, of course, but oftentimes they’re looking for something fresh, and want more flexibility in their day rather than a standard 9-to-5. They like setting their own hours and being more in control of how much they make.

Any opportunities in New Brunswick currently?

We have limited territories available in the province, but a handful of great opportunities remain in Bathurst, St. Stephen, Fredericton/Woodstock, and the Campbellton area. If anyone is interested in being the next New Brunswick-based franchisee, they should contact us ASAP. We would love to talk!

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Written by Jason Boies