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Jennifer Magee, co-founder and creator of UPworld: Takes innovative approach to networking on the web

Jennifer Magee
Jennifer Magee

Shown (from left) are: Magee and Justin Huang at an UPworld marketing event.
Shown (from left) are: Magee and Justin Huang at an UPworld marketing event.

Shown (from left) are: Joseph Patton, founder of Partnerships-for-Profit; and Magee at an UPworld marketing event.
Shown (from left) are: Joseph Patton, founder of Partnerships-for-Profit; and Magee at an UPworld marketing event.

New York, NY Jennifer Magee is the co-founder and creator of UPworld (www.upworld.com), an innovative new platform that currently connects over 2,000 real estate professionals to one another for new business opportunities, deals, and projects. As an emerging new voice in the real estate industry, Magee has a unique perspective to offer on the challenges the industry faces because she understands both sides of the equation - how deals get made and how buildings get built. This is because she is both an architect and a real estate developer. Magee first received a master's degree in Architecture from the University of Cincinnati in 1998 and then a master's degree in Real Estate Development from Columbia University in 2005. This unique combination of skill sets and expertise is what led her to also enter the technology realm and develop a new online platform whose sole purpose is to connect various key players in the building and real estate industry.

Magee named the site UPworld because she wanted it to have a global reach and to remind members that it would help them move up within the real estate network. Its name also references the process of constructing buildings from the ground up. With free access, the site's potential is immediately obvious and the initial push for a large active membership of subscribers is key to it developing a critical mass. UPworld members are able to create online profiles and portfolios to showcase their skills and expertise. They network with one another to establish valuable business connections. It is the first networking website to connect architects, planners, contractors, fabricators, developers, investors, engineers, and suppliers all on a single platform. "It's about creating a community of users that want to share information and make deals," Magee said.

Magee co-founded UPworld with partner Oisin Clancy, who is an urban designer and architect. "Oisin and I both run our own small practices in New York City, and we needed help finding potential project leads and other professionals to work with. There was no online community to support our needs," said Magee. "We created UPworld for professionals in the real estate industry like us - real estate developers, architects, investors, property managers, and others who are seeking knowledge and expertise as well as networking and business opportunities with other like-minded individuals."

Magee finds the real estate and building industry to be highly disconnected, fragmented, and specialized. Yet she recognizes that real estate brokers, developers, architects, and contractors all need one another in order to survive. She believes that there needs to be a more open, integrated approach to development and building because the existing chain-of-communication model is archaic and unsustainable. Everyone needs to be communicating with one another simultaneously, changing the way buildings are designed and developed.

With Magee's focused direction, UPworld has been helping its members make valuable connections across the globe since its launch in February. Serbian architect Vid Bogdanovic, a 3-D visualization specialist, used it to make contact with Marc Ackerson, partner of Fieldlines Design. Fieldlines hired Bogdanovic for visualization work and now because Bogdanovic has ties with engineers and other professionals in Belgrade, Fieldlines is working with a developer to design a soccer stadium for that city. It's a good example of what Magee wants UPworld to do: connect people within a thriving online community and have those connections lead to real projects and deals.

Magee believes it is an exciting time to explore new ways of connecting to people and deals on the web. "Facebook is now in the press almost everyday. Since Facebook opened up its network to professionals, suddenly it's acceptable to be on networking sites and establish relationships. Facebook has fundamentally changed the way people are starting to do business online." Magee believes that a site like UPworld can provide a rewarding networking experience for real estate professionals because it is targeted to that particular industry. Whilst Facebook is a broad networking source that fosters friendships, UPworld is fast becoming the "go to" source for fostering business relationships within the real estate and building industry.

Magee is an entrepreneur by nature. In addition to her active role in developing and marketing UPworld, she also runs her own architecture practice and provides consulting for real estate marketing and development companies. Her architectural practice specializes in custom design work, and Magee has a broad range of design experience, including residential, commercial, hospitality, and retail work. The process of designing and constructing a building or space is a very complex process, and she believes it is the architect's job to educate clients about the process, help them understand their choices, and work with them on budget.

Magee admits that she enjoys the urban lifestyle and excitement that New York City has to offer. Living in the Lower East Side in Manhattan affords her the opportunity to enjoy downtown life and have at her fingertips a myriad of great restaurants to choose from - The Stanton Social is her favorite. She has watched the neighborhood over the last few years quickly transform from an on-the-edge, slightly dangerous area to becoming one of the hippest destinations in the city. "I live, breathe, and work in real estate everyday and can't imagine it any other way," said Magee. And when it comes to her business, she's equally as passionate about growing it and transforming the way connections are made online. "I find extreme value in networking and meeting new professionals all the time. In fact, I tell professionals to search for me on UPworld - that way they can connect to me directly. I am always accessible and interested in meeting others. It's critical to the way I do business," Magee said.