Marcus & Millichap was revolutionary in the real estate industry because it sought exclusive listing agreements. The company took about five to six years to get up and running with brokers cold calling from day one. Marcus holds a 54% stake in the public real estate brokerage, which was valued at $37.8B in 2015, according to Forbes.
Marcus is the son of Greek immigrants and began his career as a broker at Grubb & Ellis in San Jose. He went to San Francisco State University. Now in his 70s, he has become a Bay Area real estate magnate and has founded seven businesses. Among them are Essex Property Trust and SummerHill Homes, both of which are actively developing in the Bay Area. Marcus owns a 2.4% stake in Essex, which owns more than 50,000 apartment units on the West Coast, and also invests in Pacific Urban Residential. He served as director of Plaza Commerce Bank and Greater Bay Bancorp, which Wells Fargo bought in 2007.
SummerHill Homes spun out of a real estate deal through Marcus & Millichap. The firm had sold a building for a client, but the client did not have cash on hand. Instead, the client paid Marcus & Millichap with land. The company took the land and lawyer and general counsel Roger Swanson ended up developing the land and heading up SummerHill. — Julie Littman