Washburn was still in high school when he came down with dot-com fever. E-commerce was the coming thing in the mid-1990s and Washburn and his buddies were, like, totally into it. “It was extremely exciting,” he recalls. “We would write a new business plan every day.” A decade later, Washburn is living the dream as CEO of ActiveRain Corp., a blogging network for real estate professionals that he cofounded with a high school buddy.
DAD LOSES DARE: When the spec homes his father was building weren’t selling, Washburn—who was only 18 at the time—took matters into his own hands and obtained his real estate license. A year later, he founded yNotOwn.com. His dad said, “If you can get two or three leads a week, I’ll come work for you.” The site immediately generated five to 10 leads a week. Two months later, Washburn was his dad’s boss.
E-VOLVING: Before launching ActiveRain.com in 2006, Washburn founded Brio Realty Inc., a combination online and bricks-and-mortar brokerage with sales of $90 million in 2007. Washburn is exploring various revenue streams for ActiveRain.com, named Most Innovative Media Site by Inman News last year.