An ongoing conflict with the real estate association NVM and the recent resignation of CEO Quintin Schevernels has led to an emigration of staff on Funda housing estate. It appears from conversations with NRC with six employees who recently left Funda.
In the past six months, 28 employees have left Funda, more than 20 percent of the workforce. It’s definitely double the regular outflow. Employees say they are leaving Funda, led by interim CEO Joost Dop since the beginning of this year, due to lack of future prospects and the fact that they can earn more elsewhere.
The retirees also say they are disturbed by homework, where Funda employees are required to be in the office at least one day a week. To their frustration, expats outside the EU are not allowed to work temporarily from their home country.
According to a former employee who wishes to remain anonymous, he is “unable to recruit” in relation to the amount of people currently leaving Funda. “At least in this tight labor market, where as a company you have to offer excellent terms.”
Funda (127 employees) was founded more than twenty years ago by a group of brokers and is one of the strongest internet brands in the Netherlands. The Amsterdam-based company is an unwavering market leader in the housing market and extremely profitable: Funda achieved a profit of no less than 16 million euros in 2020 (most recent years) on a turnover of 36 million euros. Real estate agents pay to be able to offer houses through Funda. The company is estimated to be worth around 400 million euros.
Funda has for years been torn apart by an internal conflict between the real estate association NVM and FundaBelang, a group of shareholders from the very beginning. FundaBelang wants the housing plot to be sold, listed on the stock exchange or attract new investments. This prevents NVM, which owns 90 percent of the voting shares on the website.
According to FundaBelang, force majeure from NVM, even Funda’s largest customer, is blocking innovation in the housing platform. For example, Funda does not offer mortgages or insurance because NVM brokers prefer to sell them themselves.
Read more about the conflict at Funda: ‘The affair at Funda is not over yet’
The conflict escalated late last year when the two sides faced each other in the Enterprise Chamber of the Amsterdam Court of Appeal. The judge ruled that there should be an independent inquiry into how the Funda can best be managed. That investigation is still ongoing, the parties involved have not indicated when it will be completed.
NVM’s dominant position also leads to frustration in the workplace at Funda. Upon his resignation late last year, CEO Schevernels stated that “the protracted discussions at the shareholder level” prevented him from carrying out his plans “in the way I believe”. Later, during the meeting of the Enterprise Chamber, Schevernels even described NVM’s involvement as “harassing”. “Brokers tell software developers: you can not. There is a huge amount of resistance and threat.” According to NVM, the collaboration between Funda and the real estate association Fundas is strong because real estate agents know exactly what is going on among home seekers.
Shortly after Schevernels, Marc Roos, the head of commercial operations, also left the company due to “all the developments around Funda over the last six months,” Roos wrote on LinkedIn. “I lack the perspective to perform my function that I strive for and imagine it.” According to former employees, after the departure of Schevernels and Roos, the company has ended up in a vacuum, where it is unclear what the future of Funda will look like. For this reason, employees are more likely to apply for a new job.
Interim CEO Joost Dop says in a response that the bereaved are leaving “due to a mix of considerations that can easily be explained to us. The market is pushing them hard, especially employees between the ages of 30 and 35.” Dop says that in order to keep the workforce up to standard, 24 new employees have been hired this year, and additional freelancers are being hired. “We consider ourselves lucky that many people want to work for Funda.”