The Journey from Adfenix to Realforce

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Adfenix and Realforce CEO and Co-Founder André Hegge shares the Adfenix story from start-up to rebrand.

André Hegge
Mar 29, 2023
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This week we announced that Adfenix is no more. 

The work towards this day started already in 2019 and we’ve finally reached the point where the capabilities and mission of the business has outgrown the name Adfenix. Adfenix carried the torch from 2015 to 2023 and from here, the mission will be continued by Realforce.

Leaving a brand you founded behind you is a personal experience for a founder. I remember the search for the name Adfenix, how the $500 .com domain left a painful void in my bank account that month and the experience of since then seeing the name spread across the globe. 

After years of hard work we’ve reached a breakthrough. Last year we increased logos in the US by +300% and revenue by +92%, but it has not been an easy road. 

A decision like this deserves a deeper dive into why it happens and the journey we’ve been on to get here. 

The first signs that Adfenix as a brand may not last.

The first signs that Adfenix as a brand may not last the test of time was back in 2017 when we raised money for the first time. 

The most common rejection in our initial outreach was “great traction, but we do not invest in ad tech”. Of course, you do not build a brand for investors but it triggered thoughts on the long-term direction of the company. There was an underlying reason why we got this feedback: it was important to understand its relevancy beyond investor conversations. 

The next signs of the limited longevity of the brand came when we started to build out the strategy for the business with our new investors in 2018 and 2019 and the main question was “how do we create a resilient business that can last through the decades?”. A point solution within adtech was not the right answer to that but at the same time; a great point solution within adtech was what customers bought and loved with Adfenix. And you don’t build a brand for the shareholders. 

The last and most important signal was in 2020. The tech stack had outgrown us and was challenging to work with, we did not innovate at the pace we wanted and the competition was catching up. Customers were asking us what’s next and without being able to show a clear plan, several strategic customers churned. 

At the time, it was hell to go through but in hindsight, it triggered a soul searching process that created the north star that is Realforce. 

We found our purpose. 

Poor marketing in real estate is abundant and negatively impacts the professional lives of millions of agents and tens of millions of homeowners going through the most important financial transaction in their life. And the root cause of that is that there’s a gap in the market - no solution exists for the professional marketers in real estate companies to actually organize the marketing solutions used in their network. Without a solution like that; amateurs roam free without guidance and people suffer. Adfenix had to evolve to become the solution to that problem. 

But it would not be easy and much had to be done.

  • We initiated a complete rewrite of our tech stack to move away from the old codebase that slowed down innovation. Today not a single line of code in production is older than 3 years. 
  • We acquired Quedro; the best solution in the real estate industry for managing customer data, integrations and lead conversions.
  • We acquired Brandkeeper; the best solution in the real estate industry for managing brand assets, templates and direct mail marketing. 
  • We completed milestone 1 in the integration of Adfenix, Brandkeeper & Quedro and have customers making full use of the Realforce capabilities.
  • Our presence in the US has exploded from working with 6 to +35 large brokerages in little under a year - largely driven by their belief in our vision.

Success was far from given but we’ve now reached the point - 6 years after initial investor thought was seeded - where the capabilities of our solutions and the mission of the business has outgrown the Adfenix costume.Today, we turn into Realforce not because of investors or shareholders; but because it better matches the capabilities our customers are using, and because we believe it will accelerate our mission in the real estate industry.

Our mission is to simplify and modernize the technology stack for marketing teams in real estate.
Our mission is to simplify and modernize the technology stack for marketing teams in real estate.