When Josh Stech met Andrew Swain in late 2014, neither expected the way their relationship would take off. California native Josh and Welsh-born Andrew held leadership roles at their previous company in sales and finance, respectively. Rather than competing as sales and finance co-workers sometimes do, they quickly formed a bond.
“What surprised me about Andrew when we first met was how hard he pushed me,” recalls Josh. “From the start he was a strategic partner, urging me to think deeply and encouraging the growth of my team.”
Working together on the executive team at a company specializing in hard money lending to property investors, both were already thinking about doing something bigger and more meaningful. But it wasn’t until they started trading ideas that they discovered their unique chemistry and shared future vision that would evolve into Sundae.
Aligned against a widespread problem
Helping bring the two of them together was the realization of a housing industry rife with predatory behavior that takes advantage of regular people. Working behind the scenes to lend money to real estate investment companies, Josh and Andrew both became aware of some of the telltale tricks used by unscrupulous buyers to maximize profits at the seller’s expense.
“It’s kind of the dirty secret of bad actors in the home buying business,” says Andrew. “They make a ‘vanity offer’ to reel you in, then conduct an inspection that turns up bogus issues so they can reduce the offer price. By this time, the seller has wasted days or weeks and is in a compromised position where they sell for way lower than what they should.”
The worst part about it, Sundae’s founders agree, is that this shady behavior targets people who are going through the worst times in their lives. Whether it’s foreclosure, divorce, job loss, or a death in the family, people looking to sell a house fast are often facing desperate times. Addressing this problem was a motivator for creating Sundae, and family values played a part in that.
“My grandfather made a modest life for himself fixing and building houses back in Wales, so the home renovation business is kind of in my blood,” says Andrew. “What drew me to Sundae is not just how massive this industry has become, but how big the opportunity is to make it better for homeowners. When I realized how often sellers get exploited, I wanted to do something about it.”
Josh has a similar perspective. “Working with my father when I was younger taught me some important lessons about how I want to be remembered,” he says. “Honor your commitments because your track record is everything.”
A foundation of complementary skill sets
Another mutual experience strengthened Josh and Andrew’s connection. They both spent time in hyper growth environments, where success depends on being scrappy, creative, and collaborative. Both leaders felt these were environments where they could thrive.
Josh brought operational know-how from several startups, where he picked up hands on experience in real estate investment and private equity. Andrew meanwhile worked in fast-pace environments at Intuit and Airbnb and learned invaluable lessons in managing teams and building digital marketplace platforms. A key to their eventual launch of Sundae, both also spent time in the world of raising venture capital for new businesses.
“Our skill sets are very complementary and gave us the perfect combination of experience to start Sundae,” says Josh. “But more importantly, we both wanted to make a difference for people. Both of us believe that what matters most is what our customers think of us.”
This is the fundamental value that drives Sundae. Focused on homeowners who don’t have the time or resources to get a house market-ready, Sundae set out to change the industry for the better by helping customers get the best outcome when it’s time to sell a house that needs some love. This has become the company’s mission statement, and it’s a direct reflection of the positive impact Andrew and Josh want to make.
Getting Sundae where it is today
Founded in late 2018 and officially launched in January of 2019, Sundae operates with a mentality of relentless customer focus. A common question people ask Josh and Andrew is why they named the company Sundae.
“Our business has nothing to do with ice cream, just as some of the world’s largest and best-known brands have nothing to do with their names,” says Josh, citing Apple and Amazon as examples. “But our name helps to differentiate us with a positive, consumer-friendly connotation. And everyone loves ice cream.”
“What drew me to Sundae is not just how massive this industry has become, but how big the opportunity is to make it better for homeowners.”
After an eventful first year characterized by rapid growth, Josh and Andrew say Sundae is still in the early phases of its journey. But what’s certain not to change is Sundae’s commitment to helping provide a better experience for its customers. After all, this was the shared philosophy that launched Andrew and Josh down a fateful path together as friends and business partners.
“Our coworkers sometimes call the two of us ham and eggs,” says Andrew. “We’re not exactly in agreement on which one of us is ham and who is eggs. We just know that we are two very different things that go well together.”
Starting with heart when it comes to customers
Getting back to the “love story” behind Sundae, Josh and Andrew set out to create a company that doesn’t just respect and prioritize the needs of customers but also treats every house with the love and care it deserves. We’re committed to helping homeowners even if they don’t want to sell to us. In fact, if we think a seller can get a better price by listing a house on the market with an agent, Sundae will make that recommendation.
As the “Homebuyers with Heart,” Sundae’s mission is to help homeowners get the best outcome when it’s time to sell a house that needs some love. Hearing what our customers say makes us proud that our team lives up to this tagline every day.
Contact Sundae to find out how we can help you.
Composed by a team of experienced content, marketing, and real estate professionals, the Sundae Blog is a go-to authority for tips, instructions, and data-driven insights aimed at helping homeowners maintain, renovate, sell, and buy homes, while navigating a complex real estate market.