022 – Naman Desai of Quo – Enabling Collaboration and Engagement

Real estate agent + client collaboration platform…

Naman Desai, Co-Founder at Quo (which simplifies real estate agent + client collaboration via a platform and mobile app) joins Thomas Kutzman and Scott Pollack in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser. Presented by Prevu.

In this episode:

  • A customer engagement tool that empowered brokers, allowing them to work closer with clients, increasing efficiency
  • How the app allows agents and clients to search and share listings together in one place, as a neat and organized way to keep track of properties they view, with the ability to take notes and store photos, better streamlining the process to make better decisions more quickly
  • Allowing the app to maintain a place as preferred place to engage and track real estate opportunities and clients
  • How Quo gives brokers an app to put in their clients’ hands, positioning the broker as more tech-forward
  • How Quo can help speed up process of scheduling a viewing, with automation, and reduces time lag
  • More feedback opportunities for the client, providing a good data and analytics resource
  • Building out algorithms to suggest properties actively
  • Obvious use case in New York City, but why in Cleveland?
  • Looking to integrate CSS, zero lag time
  • Is the tool more vertical vs. suburban?
  • Markets with a lot of buyer and seller activity
  • How Quo started as a concierge service for renters looking for new apartments
  • How the co-founders realized a lot of people had a similar knack for helping people in the real estate space to help with real estate process; and, as the company grew and looked to scale, it started doing focus groups and one was people helping with what worked for them — and the biggest was when they had a friend that helped them
  • Agents wanted the communication platform, not the concierge service
  • Pivoting to the communication tool
  • Data in which people said what they wanted and so Quo followed it
  • Not so stuck on idea that they wouldn’t listen, letting customers guide where they go
  • Getting consensus on a change in company direction, and how the co-founders were married to solving a problem — not on the way to solve it
  • The importance of continuing focus groups
  • The pushback from brokers — overcoming friction in getting clients to download the app
  • A must-have feature was a team collaboration piece
  • Being comfortable with changes in business, such as pivoting in his previous business ClassPass
  • Real estate as learned behavior vs. in the blood, etc?
  • Taking risk in business and startups
  • How finding one’s passion brings the opportunity to make more than anywhere else by doing what one thinks is right
  • Fear of missing out

020 – Yin Lin of Sage Vacations – Vacation Rentals As a Group Experience

Yin Lin

Short-term vacation rentals for groups…

Yin LinYin Lin, Founder/COE of Sage Vacations (a private real estate company with 10 vacation properties across the country, and partnering with institutions and investors to acquire, develop, and commercialize its property investments) and Founder of SheWorx (global collective of ambitious high-growth female entrepreneurs redefining leadership) joins Thomas Kutzman and Scott Pollack in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser. Presented by Prevu.

In this episode:

  • Lin discusses acquiring and commercializing residential property, undervalued property valuesYin Lin
  • Distributing them on short term rental sites
  • Developing a short term rental portfolio.
  • There is a demand for large spaces for groups who cannot get same experience in standard hotel rooms
  • Looking at lesser known cities with high regional tourism, emerging cities
  • The experience of a space needs to be great, and the people feel the sense of community
  • Creating great experiences, and getting buy-in from the community for creating a network
  • Creating more bespoke developments which cater to the needs of the audienceYin Lin
  • How short term rentals have changed the vacation model, and the future of it depends largely on regulation
  • Why professionalism of short-term rentals reduces risk all around
  • How Lin got into the business
  • Part of Lin’s inspiration in building her business and portfolio is wanting to help women build wealth through real estate
  • What marathons have meant to Lin in understanding herself and her potential
  • Running in 5 continents so far, and what about Ironman competitions

015 – Steven Abd El Hamid of LiveWith – Real Roommate Collaboration

LiveWith

Collaborative roommate and apartment finder app…

LiveWithProblem: Most roommate opportunities are short-term sublets of additional rooms. This can lead to unstable situations with people with whom one might not be the right fit — fitting a circumstance instead of the perfect match, bad for renters and landlords alike. What if one could connect with someone on their same wavelength on one’s search — together. Real roommate collaboration. The demands exists and is resonating so well, there is a surge of early adopters and brand partners.

LiveWithSteven Abd El Hamid, Co-Founder and CEO of LiveWith (a roommate and apartment finder app like no other, which makes it easy to find ideal roommate matches, chat, schedule and collaboratively rent an apartment together – all within one app) joins Thomas Kutzman and Scott Pollack in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser. Presented by Prevu.

In this episode:

  • Abd El Hamid reveals how 88% of Millennials are living with roommates, and have 4% less wealth than preceding generations, not as just a matter of choice or preference, but a necessity in most urban areas in the US and in Europe
  • How those Millennials require a mechanism to find a stable and desirable roommate situations as a matter of importance
  • The traditional process of finding roommates for many was relying on other agents talking to people like the person seeking a roommate situation, hoping that he/she was looking in same location, same budget, and same interests
  • LiveWithAbd El Hamid shares how he was co-owner of a real estate brokerage which matched roommates from Craigslist into situations, how they decided how to automate that process, and how they were looking at the most efficient ways to do that in the midst of carrying out a rental
  • How LiveWith is like date-matching tech mixed with the trend for everything to be available and transacted online, with the added impact of being able to consummate the entire rental through the product without having to leave the product
  • Why more companies don’t take this path – the technology exists but some of the powers that be have not had an incentive to build it out
  • Prospective roommates can chat via the LiveWith app and search all properties that fit preferencesLiveWith
  • How LiveWith uses general first-tier compatibility matching questions along with machine learning
  • The way LiveWith is referring business to various apartment providers, at a cost-per-click
  • What drove people to adopt LiveWith early on, and how most options are sublet-based
  • Societal and macro economic changes are driving symbiotic micro economic trends
  • Co-living situations, and “dorms for adults”
  • Sweden vs. USA, Abd El Hamid’s difficulty in transitioning from on Visa to another
  • How Abd El Hamid found his co-founder through an acquaintance
  • How vision plus effort can lead to success, and reaching for the sky as a an entrepreneur

010 – Ofo Ezeugwu of Whose Your Landlord – Housing In Their Hands

Ofo Ezeugwu

Neighborhood insights, landlord reviews, and quality listings empowering and informing the rental community…

Ofo EzeugwuOfo Ezeugwu, CEO & Co-Founder of Whose Your Landlord (enabling renters to find their next home and to review their landlords and housing complexes, and enabling landlords to provide and use renter references and to target their listings to their desired market), joins Thomas Kutzman and Scott Pollack in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser. Presented by Prevu.

Why it matters, content, and landlord reciprocation

Ofo EzeugwuEzeugwu discusses why the landlord review process is so important, why content is important, the need to educate, a forum called The Community, plus blog and video content blended in with the platform, reviews, search and content—all as key things. Plus, how landlords can reciprocate, and the overcoming fear of being blackballed by landlords.

Acquiring users, growth, and helping with disputes creatively

Ofo EzeugwuHow Whose Your Landlord is getting the platform in the hands of renters, how there are many truths to situations and reviews have both sides, larger companies are controlling larger blocks, the importance of reviews, bigger vs. smaller landlords, and more than 10,000 reviews in the Philadelphia and New York areas over 4 ½ years. Developing significant readership, getting involved in disputes, making content to help renters know how to maneuver out of issues and difficulties.

Diversifying the industry, inspired by off campus living, and expansion

Personal questions cover moving a lot as a kid, female and unrepresented backgrounds in real estate tech and how to change that. If people never had a hand in real estate or understood it, or parents could teach them about it, how will they be motivated to enter that industry? But every industry is helped by newbies looking at it, who are not jaded by that reality, and how can one create one’s own. And when one is looking for people, one may not know where to find them. The need for making a more concerted effort for change, and how that can make a big difference. Ezeugwu’s surprisingly good landlord experience, but as VP of his college student body he was focused on off campus activities, and a lot of housing issues. His favorite city to live in, Philadelphia and NYC, where they plan to expand in the cities growing fastest. What home is, and a crowdfunding opportunity for ownership in the company.

007 – Paraag Sarva of Rhino – Securing Rentals

Paraag Sarva

Security deposit alternative for rentals with Paraag Sarva…

Paraag SarvaParaag Sarva, CEO/Founder of Rhino (replacing security deposits with a smarter alternative that’s better for both renters and landlords) joins hosts Thomas Kutzman and Scott Pollack in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser. Presented by Prevu.

An atypical path, from dating site to the Mayor’s office, and why Rhino was created

Paraag SarvaSarva discusses how Rhino is making renting easier, starting with security deposits and figuring it out after that. He reviews how his path has not been that of a typical real estate entrepreneur, taking a journey starting with financial services, working as a policy advisor in the NYC Mayor Bloomberg’s office, a principal at Grow Real Estate, and his role as Vice President, Media and Partnerships for the dating site How About We. Plus, why Rhino was created, and some amazing donuts.

Insuring the landlord, marketing, and additional applications

Paraag SarvaHow instead of signing a lease with a security deposit, Rhino insures the landlord for damages caused by the tenant, solving challenges and pains from owner’s side. How Rhino marketed it to landlords, being mindful of ignorance of forfeiting security deposits, how the renter/landlord dynamic is adversarial, and why it takes a culmination of experience and learnings to do something in a complex space. The potential of applying this type of thinking to other components of real estate transactions.

Business strategy, customer adoption, and a presidential “prediction”

Business growth strategies based on looking at the concentrations of where people live and want to live, following the population and obvious opportunities, how Rhino achieves customer adoption, and employing geography by geography company-building much like dating sites. Sarva’s favorite industry so far, the implications of being the youngest in an entrepreneurial family, sibling rivalry, and a 2020 presidential race prediction and candidate suggestion.