Jason Briggs is a mover, both literally and figuratively. Born in Philadelphia, his family moved to Nantucket when he was eleven months old. There he grew up and was deeply involved in the island’s social and fundraising world, including his role as a sponsor of the Nantucket Film Festival. Briggs was also known for his legendary parties like the Bartender’s Ball. His father, Christian Briggs, was a longtime physician on the island, and his mother, Clara, was dedicated to the Nantucket art scene. Since then, Briggs has done stints in New York City, Boston, Manchester, New Hampshire, Northeast Harbor, Maine, Palm Beach and now Miami Beach.
A serial entrepreneur, the Columbia graduate began his career at Smith Barney as an investment advisor. Since that time, he has purchased an ABA basketball team called the Manchester Millrats, set up a poker club in high-end resorts, and invested in real estate in New York City and Miami. His newest venture, Next Step Realty, seizes an opportunity Briggs identified to serve young professionals entering the apartment rental market in the Big Apple for the first time. Briggs recognized that recent college grads are often “frozen out” of the market because of lack of credit history and the competitive nature of the Manhattan real estate world. Briggs and the company’s CEO, Blair Brandt, have focused on a segment of the market that other real estate brokers have intentionally ignored and turned it into a growing enterprise from $30,000 in revenue in 2010 to now looking at $2 million in 2013. As testimony to their success, Brandt has appeared in Fortune and on Forbes list of “30 Under 30.”
Next Step Realty helped Nantucket summer resident Scott Gordon’s daughter transition after graduation to her first New York apartment. “They made her life very easy in finding an apartment and the transition process,” Gordon says. “It was a very challenging market and they taught her how to put deposits down, what to look for, and found her a nice apartment.”
Briggs’ business essentially provides a seal of approval for young renters, giving landlords the confidence to pick them versus those with more established work histories. “Our ultimate goal is to establish a long-term relationship with these tenants, who will either seek larger apartments or eventually become buyers,” Briggs says. “By helping them out of a difficult situation up front, we are looking to create a long-term sense of loyalty, which is unusual in the client realtor dynamic.”
As the summer draws to a close, many parents are wrestling with the exciting prospect of sending their children into the real world, and Briggs’ new business is designed to help mom and dad clear out the house.