30 Under 30: Sean Fox is developing concrete connections with Ovis Group

Fox sold 100 homes in his first year in business

Sean Fox | Age: 29

Founder, Fox Group; co-founder and COO, Ovis Group

Life Story: You’ve seen some version of Sean Fox’s life in movies and on TV. Kid grows up in a poor part of Calgary. He doesn’t know what to do after high school—so he starts working days at Olive Garden and nights at the Keg. His father, who faced racism growing up Chinese in the ’50s and ’60, tells him to go to school. So he enrols at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology and earns a diploma in business administration and management. Meanwhile, he gets a gig at a notorious Calgary establishment called Cowboys and starts working the bar and doing some promoting.

“I knew a lot of people through that industry—got to meet a bunch of NHL and WHL players, and partied at their places,” Fox recalls. “One guy I met was a realtor. He had just sold two homes and made, like, $14,000. I asked him, ‘Do you think I’d do well in real estate?’ He said, ‘Sean, I think you’d make millions.’”

Fox got his real estate licence, but ended up leaving his hometown shortly after his father passed away from cancer.

“It hit me hard. I got depressed and had a lot of anxiety for the first time in my life,” he recalls. “I needed to leave. Everyone in Calgary thought I was crazy because I didn’t know anyone in Vancouver. But I just needed a change. I believed in my social ability, perseverance and working hard.”

It didn’t take Fox long to make connections in the real estate industry. He sold over 100 homes in his first year and was named a Rising Star by Concord Pacific. A couple of years later, he founded his own real estate company, Fox Group, and co-founded a development firm, Ovis Group.

Bottom Line: Fox Group has a team of six, while some 10 people work at Ovis. The latter firm is currently working on three developments, including Ovis One, which is poised to become Langford’s tallest concrete rental building. “I know how intimidating it can be when you don’t come from that [wealthy] background,” says Fox. “You hear about these people and say, ‘How do I compete?’ But if you don’t come from money, you’ll have skills that those people will never have. That stands out to a lot of people.”