Co-founder & CEO
Featured on Forbes’ 30 Under 30, entrepreneur Blair Brandt is the co-founder & CEO of the real estate brokerage, Next Step Realty.
Brandt has appeared as a consultant on multiple business news networks including Bloomberg TV and Fox News Live, and is a regular contributor to The New York Times. Brandt has been featured in national outlets such as Town & Country and Business Insider. In addition, he has visited The White House to collaborate with The White House Business Council.
In July 2011, CNN and Fortune featured Brandt and Next Step Realty in their list of “The Top 6 Dorm Room Start-Ups in The U.S.” In 2012, at the age of 23, Brandt was highlighted in the first ever Forbes Magazine “30 Under 30” list, as the most notable young real estate entrepreneur in the world.
Brandt is a graduate of Deerfield Academy and the University of Richmond. He spent several years in his native Palm Beach, Florida, working as an assistant to one of the town’s premiere luxury real estate brokers. During this entree into the market, he learned the value of trust, credibility and personal recommendations in the real estate business. Brandt observed a lack of emphasis on these values in residential rental markets and the problems this posed to recent college graduates as first-time renters in a new city. In 2010, as a response to this deficit, Brandt co-founded The Next Step Realty in New York City.
The company’s mission is to provide recent graduates with a professional brokerage team who exemplifies Brandt’s ideal and unique combination of honesty, expertise, and compatibility. Brandt spearheads the broker admissions committee and review process, and he has built the company’s roster to include an impressive list of twenty of Manhattan’s top up-and-coming rental agents.
To this day, Brandt is hands-on in almost all aspects of the organization, from overseeing Director-level employees to managing corporate communications. In particular, he is responsible for the firm’s corporate partnerships, which include many of the largest banks and employers around the world, who all recommend Next Step as the premier apartment search provider for all of their entry-level employees relocating to New York City.
With Next Step helping thousands of clients per year find their first homes in New York City, Brandt recently formed a new partnership between Next Step Realty and Habitat of Humanity, to help provide housing to those who do not have the same opportunity. Brandt and his team join Habitat Humanity in their mission to transform lives by building quality homes with families in need and by uniting all New Yorkers around the cause of affordable housing. The partnership will include a number of events, fundraisers, and donations throughout the year.
Brandt enjoys tennis and golf, and is known to have the secret talent of being an expert ping-pong player.
Follow Blair Brandt on Twitter at @BlairBrandt and Instagram at @blairbrandt.
A native of Philadelphia, PA, Jason Briggs also spent much of his childhood in Nantucket, MA. He attended the Fay School during elementary years and ultimately graduated from Tabor Academy in 1989. Briggs continued his education as an undergraduate at Oxford University (Keble College) in the U.K., where he achieved national deans list.
After receiving his diploma from Columbia University in 1994, Briggs worked as a portfolio manager in Smith Barney’s wealth management division until 2005. During his 11 years at Smith Barney, Briggs made substantial, quick, and prompt progress, improving his rank to Senior Vice President by the age of 24.
Since leaving the finance industry in 2005, Briggs has pursued his passion for real estate through a number of development and investment projects across various markets. His ventures since 2005 have included 8 successful development deals in Manhattan and Nantucket, MA, where he realized sales of over $26M. One notable project, in particular, took place at 6o West 9th street, a 7,000 square foot townhouse development, which sold for $12M in 2011.
In his role as Chairman at Next Step, Briggs serves as a special advisor to Co-Founder & CEO, Blair Brandt, frequently consulting the company on major strategic initiatives. His contributions include locating and securing Next Step’s new flagship location in Manhattan, playing a lead role in the development of our London office, and personally vetting many brokers who have applied to join the Next Step organization.
While not working with Next Step, Briggs currently has $12M of ongoing residential development projects in Miami Beach, Fl and Nantucket, MA.
A New York native of Westchester county, Erin is a graduate of Convent of the Sacred Heart in Greenwich, CT and the University of Richmond, where she earned a B.A. in Communications with a minor in Business Administration.
After graduating Erin immersed herself in the Manhattan Real Estate market, working for one of the city’s top luxury residential real estate brokerages, Brown Harris Stevens. As a licensed real estate agent and the Client Relations and Transaction Coordinator for one of Brown Harris’ highly esteemed brokers, she facilitated the sales of nearly $10 million of real estate in well under a year. Erin is now working as a Client Relations Specialist at The Next Step Realty, where she interacts with hundreds of clients a week to ensure that each client is matched with the perfect Next Step Broker for them, and booked for their own personal Next Step Apartment Tour.
Tess grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and began attending the University of Michigan at age 16. An active member in her sorority, Delta Gamma, Tess graduated in 2012 (after just three and a half years) with a B.A. in Biopsychology Cognition and Neuroscience. She then moved to New York City to work in TV production for NBC Sports, focusing on NFL, college football, and the Winter Olympics. Following NBC, Tess worked in a client-facing role at Equinox, including working on many important Equinox Chelsea partnerships such as their primary relationship with Google whose headquarters is nearby. These experiences, especially in production and corporate partnerships, along with her strong work ethic and positive attitude, earned her a role on Blair Brandt’s team at The Next Step Realty, where she’s excited to be a part of a rapidly growing company.
Kristina, a San Francisco native and Saint Ignatius alumni, recently graduated from the University of Arizona in 2016, earning a degree in Communications and a minor in Psychology. Throughout college, she spent her summers working at SC Properties, a Bay Area residential and commercial real estate developer. In Summer of 2016, Kristina interned at Guest of a Guest in Montauk, writing articles and covering New York City based events, as part of their editorial team. This inspired her relocation to New York as Guest of a Guest’s Hampton’s Correspondent where she was in charge of selecting and reporting on featured events and products, including hosting Facebook Live and other interactive social media efforts. Joining Next Step in September of 2016 as a Communications and Social Media Specialist, Kristina is responsible for brand management, Client Hospitality, events, strategic partnerships, public relations, and social media. Kristina also contributes to all event planning and campus outreach priorities.