Interview with CEO of EBTH, Andy Nielsen

Your house is full of stuff that you want to sell, but it’s difficult. CNBC writer Beth Corsentino explains, “Estate sales can be an adventure for buyers, but for homeowners, they can be time-consuming, awkward and emotional. Most people shudder at the idea of strangers traipsing through their home, touching everything and haggling over each item.”

If I were in your shoes, I would not want strangers walking through my home interrogating every item. What if there was a better strategy so that potential buyers could have access to your things without having to come to your house? Everything But the House (EBTH) might be your solution, CEO Andy Nielsen explains to Corsentino, ”You call us when you are going through a downsize or loss of loved one situation, we send a team in, and we’ll coordinate junk removal, items that will be donated and then anything that’s left saleable we actually list to our platform.”

While EBTH provides a solution for your issues, I am also curious how under Nielsen’s leadership the company has grown 1,200%.

So, Andy what’s your story?

Originally from Cincinnati, I graduated from Miami University in 2007 and helped launch Riverstone Development Group, a development and construction company, where I served as Director of Acquisitions & Marketing until 2012.

Motivated by the desire to move fast and build a really powerful consumer brand, my brother, business partner, and I approached the EBTH co-founders with a plan to scale this unique company that helps so many people navigate difficult times. We formalized our partnership in 2012, and since then, we’ve produced 1,200% growth, hired 1,000+ employees, expanded from our local Cincinnati presence to over 20 seller markets in the U.S., and have grown our audience to more than 150 countries around the world.

Throughout this growth process, we’ve raised $84.5 million in funding from backers including Greycroft Partners, Spark Capital, and Greenspring Associates and have been on Inc.’s list of 5000 Fastest Growing Private Companies for three years in a row.

Why should leaders lead, and when they do lead, what is their first responsibility?

Leaders motivate and drive others forward – and I believe the best leaders lead by serving those around them. In the case of business, this means serving your customers, shareholders, and employees. Your first responsibility is to communicate the “Why,” and it means building trust with those you need to follow. Without trust and conviction from your team, you’ll never succeed as a leader.

What is more important to you, the traditional hierarchy (director, manager, the boss, etc) or how teams are formed to get the work done?

While the traditional hierarchy plays a key role in driving decision-making and accountability, you need the right people in the room. Functional silos driven by a traditional hierarchy create internal and external confusion and deteriorate the level of work and overall customer experience. As such, the critical component to delivering impact is actually team collaboration and communication – especially when you’re moving fast.

In this case, it’s less about title and more about fostering an environment where everyone knows they’re “in the room” for a reason and are empowered to act accordingly. To support this, I believe a transparent culture is key – open lines of communication from top to bottom and vice versa. We hold company-wide “Town Hall” meetings to keep the entire company up-to-date on company performance and activities, and assign specific, cross-functional teams to high-level priorities.

We truly value staying connected to each and every one of our team members across the country and always make ourselves as available and approachable as possible. The hierarchy ultimately helps drive a sense of responsibility and accountability, but impact is generated at the team level.