WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH — William Friend, a British émigré who lived a life worthy of a Horatio Alger novel, becoming one of the youngest leaders in commercial real estate media, has died. He was 33.
The native Londoner moved to the U.S. at 15, against the wishes of his parents. “I just fell in love with America — I could feel the American Dream,” Friend recalled on a podcast with real estate investor Chris Powers in 2019.
He dabbled in entrepreneurial ventures through high school and college, including as a club promoter and as a seller of fake IDs.
Friend was the CEO of Bisnow Media for the last seven years, overseeing its growth to include 650 annual digital and live events in 50 international territories, 11 million news readers and more than 250 employees across the U.S., Canada, the UK and Ireland. During his tenure, Friend transformed the company from a local events business into a multichannel data, events, news and intelligence platform for the multitrillion-dollar commercial real estate market.
William Alexander Goodwin Friend was born in London, England, on July 9, 1988, to Tony and Antoinette Friend. He attended Garden House School before enrolling at the prestigious Harrow School, an all-boys boarding school that counts Winston Churchill among its famous alumni. Friend was prone to quoting Churchill around the office and named a conference room in Bisnow’s New York City Financial District headquarters after him.
Friend’s thirst for new experiences led him to pursue a life of adventure outside the office. He loved flying planes and secured his pilot’s license. He was passionate about bikes and motorcycles, especially his Yamaha YZF-R6, and was prone to go on scuba diving trips in Mauritius with his brothers, John and Tom. He competed in two Ironman races, one half-Ironman and ran a marathon.
He was most passionate about his family, especially his wife. He married Bevin Prince, an actress on One Tree Hill and a SoulCycle instructor, in 2016, and the two moved to Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, when the pandemic hit to be closer to her family. The two launched a local fitness business together in their new town, although Friend was traveling to different Bisnow offices and events as often as he could.
Friend had such a vivid personality and was so full of life and can-do energy – he will be missed immensely.
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