Everything has a start and an end. Today I'm publishing the final episode of Tech Nest, for the foreseeable future. When I started Tech Nest about two years ago, I didn't have any legitimate contacts or relationships in proptech. The original intent was to research the industry, build relationships, and win clients for my agency. It was very effective in accomplishing that original intent. About one year ago, I closed that agency I'd built to join Avail as Director of Marketing full-time. Crazy enough, that was exactly one of the three exit strategies I established when I started my agency: find a client that I'd want to join full-time that also would want me to join them. You could say when I joined Avail, it was mission accomplished for the podcast and the agency. It was when I shutdown the agency that I began to reimagine the purpose of the Tech Nest brand to develop into more than just a podcast. I saw it serving as a sort of hub for the proptech industry. Providing company overviews, product reviews, career opportunities, and more. It's been very difficult to dedicate the time to accomplishing that vision, so it kept getting pushed back. I have detailed what I want to accomplish in the coming years and in 2020 specifically, and it's become clear that building the brand I envisioned doesn't align with my near term focus, nor my long-term focus. So the one question remains is, what's next? Well for one, I still have a big job ahead of me at Avail. Not having the added responsibility of keeping up on the podcast will give me some of the additional time to dedicate to reaching the level I want to get to as a marketing leader. That still requires working with and talking with leaders in the industry, but I'll be more focused on professional development than being a media brand of sorts. I've got my own personal road map of what's next, so there's no new public project to share at this point. Thank you to every guest who's ever agreed to give me their time and share about what they're building. Thanks to everyone who's ever listened to any episode. And especially thanks to every single person who's ever written to me directly to tell me that the show has been interesting, helpful, and entertaining (yes, some have actually said this!). If you ever want to connect on proptech as an industry, share with me what you're working on to get feedback or talk shop as marketers, I'm still very much available for those discussions. Email me email@example.com or message me directly on LinkedIn. Cheers! Email Nate: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: https://TechNest.io, https://realteampanda.com, https://avail.co Twitter: https://twitter.com/natesmoyer Facebook: https://facebook.com/natesmoyer LinkedIn: https://linkedin.com/in/natesmoyer Instagram: https://instagram.com/natesmoyer
When it comes to working with first-time homebuyers, why is it that lenders may avoid, or rather, not work to earn their business? It may have something to do with the time it takes to close. Many first-time buyers take longer to go from lead to actually buying a home. But what if you could better inform, educate, and assist first-time homebuyers through smart content? In this interview, I'm talking with Dan Green, CEO of Homebuyer, about why he's working to help first-time homebuyers. He mentioned the opportunity is big—2.5 million transactions each year kind of big. We talk content marketing, we talk sales funnels, we talk funding, and we talk some industry trends. Dan's built several businesses in the mortgage space over the years and really knows what it takes to attract and cultivate a customer base. At the end of the day, Homebuyer is a lender, but their approach is much different and could offer them the competitive edge many are trying to create in the lending space. Listen in to hear more about what Dan's creating.
Rich Sarkis is as sharp as they come and after you listen to this episode, I think you'll agree. He's the CEO of Reonomy, the breakout proptech data company that is making commercial real estate data accessible and actionable to all other businesses. This is the second time Reonomy has been featured on Tech Nest, and there's good reasons for that. Reonomy has built up a strong company that's seen impressive growth with a lot of buy in from strategic startup investors. We discuss Reonomy's success and Rich revealed very interesting information about their Series C and Series D. I think listening to this episode may have you thinking big. Give it a listen, then let me know.
When you think of the lending industry, you may not think of loan syndication. And that's OK, but up until this interview, neither had I. Annelise Osborne is the Head of Strategy for Metechi. Metechi is, "a Syndication Marketplace providing lenders instant access to CRE, NPLs and C&I loans originated by banks and institutional investors." We had a great time during this interview discussing how this could give the local and regional banks far greater flexibility when it comes to selling their loans. In a world where headlines are dominated by consumer facing companies, you won't often find out about fintech companies like Metechi, and that makes this episode that much more worthwhile to listen to.
When you're looking to buy vacation rental property, you'll want to have a good idea of how well that property will perform and what the costs will be for managing it. But if you're not from the area and don't know the details, how can you know your real estate agent or the property management company you called is giving you the right info? This is where Propersum changes the game. Wes Walker is the founder and CEO of Propersum, a new company aiming to make investing in vacation property much easier by providing better tools to agents and property management companies. We talk about the specific challenges and differences of the vacation market versus the long-term market. We even get into Wes's background and the approach he's taking when it comes to raising funds in order to grow Propersum.
Open houses and showings have been a big part of the real estate sales process for a long time and have gone mostly unchanged. Only recently has new tech-enabled the consumer to tour homes without the presence of an agent. In this episode, Jonathan Martis, CEO of Kleard, shares how agent-less showings can be done well and safely. We talk through some of the challenges he's overcome in bringing smart tech to the agent market. Kleard has been making strides, taking home several industry awards for their tech and now they're ready to unveil their tech and hardware partnership that will enable customers to see more homes without having the agent present. And don't worry, we also talk about if this means the agent will be replaced by tech like this. Listen in to find out the answer.
CREXi has become a force to be reckoned with in the commercial real estate space very quickly. In this interview, I talk with one of CREXi's top directors, Matt Cors. He spills the beans on some of the new tech CREXi has been working on, what they've recently released, and where they're headed. For those who may not be familiar, CREXi is a listings marketplace for commercial properties. Aside from just having properties surface up in an easy to shop grid pattern, CREXi has entered the space of auctions, which given our current economic situation, could end up being a very big business. Don't hesitate to hit the play button. Even if you're not in the CRE space, Matt and I cover a lot you'll benefit from hearing.
No matter how many units a landlord owns, maintaining a low vacancy rate is always a top priority. However, in order to keep low vacancy, this requires knowing if your tenant(s) is/are going to renew or if they plan on moving out. Many lease agreements require only a 30 day notice, which isn't always enough time to market the unit, schedule tours, perform maintenance and cleaning, and get the next tenant moved in without missing a few weeks or a month of rent. And depending on the location or type of unit, the landlord should probably budget 60 days from marketing the unit to filling it. Enter Doorkee. Doorkee was co-founded and is lead by CEO John Fagan. Doorkee is working to help New York City landlords rethink how they turn over units. Doorkee incentivizes tenants to give advanced notice they're planning to move out and handle showings. Doorkee is perfecting the process of aligning the interests of landlords and tenants—and that's awesome. This prevents landlords from facing extended and expensive vacancies, and much more. This is a longer than usual episode but John and I covered a lot and I think you'll enjoy the discussion as much as we did.
Rob Chesnut is the Chief Ethics Officer at Airbnb. He brings a profound array of experience, ranging from his time as an attorney and to working at Ebay. At Ebay, he was the guy who help establish the rules of what you could and couldn't sell (and we talk about that as well!). Not to mention he also has advised for Upwork and Uber. This interview is unlike any other we've had on Tech Nest. Instead of talking about tech revolution, industry transformation, and disruption, we delve into topics like ethics and culture. In this interview, we talk through why corporate ethics is so important, how it shapes culture, and even how internal culture helps the external positioning of a company. Rob is the expert on corporate ethics—he's literally written the book on the topic called Intentional Integrity. We even dig into one of Rob's signature programs he's created for building and growing a culture of integrity. Listen in and then grab a copy of Rob's book for yourself at intentionalintegrity.com.
It's no surprise when you hear top-producing real estate agents and property managers frequently need help in accommodating clients with showings. A known part of this challenge includes finding someone from your brokerage you trust who's capable of taking care of that showing and then compensating the agent. However, with agent to agent tasks, all compensation needs to flow through the brokerage. Accomplishing all of this requires manual task management and could prove tedious for the managing broker to keep track of hundreds of agent to agent transactions. That's why Hannah Gorlick and the team at Doorside are creating a platform for brokerages and property management companies to set up their own marketplaces for agent to agent tasks. This makes it simpler for top producers to find someone to handle a task, gives new agents supplemental income, and provides the brokerage the compliance coverage they need, all in one app.
The need for innovation from real estate brokerages is apparent. Consumer shopping behavior continues to evolve with technology and consumers expect all industries to keep up. With big changes in how a service is delivered, it's no wonder then why price and value are questioned. If one task used to take hours, but now only takes minutes, should it cost the same? This is something Georges and Nicole Fishman Benoliel question with regards to the cost of hiring a real estate agent. Their brokerage, Nest Apple, aims to disrupt the New York and Connecticut markets by redistributing commissions from agents to consumers in hopes to re-align the value to cost perception consumers have.
The time has come for Tech Nest to feature a leader in construction tech and blockchain. Robert Salvador, a veteran of the construction industry here in Chicago, is solving some huge pain points that exist in the construction world. His company, DigiBuild, is helping general contractors save time and money by helping automate tedious processes like scheduling, materials procurement, and paying contractors. Robert shares in great detail the major pain points that delay projects and cost developers and investors money. We also talk about the market potentials for a business like DigiBuild (hint, it's pretty big). Don't sleep on construction tech. The timing couldn't be better to understand this segment of proptech.
"The home is the foundation for every family." How can you disagree with that sentiment? David Sullivan, CEO of Till, joined me to talk about some of the many challenges that exist in the rental market today. We go beyond the obvious issue of affordability and availability of good housing options for millions of Americans. Part of the challenge is people are stretched so thin financially, which pushes them to fall behind on rent, incur steep late rent fees, and this plays into a tough cycle that makes it difficult for people to escape the pattern. Listen to hear exactly how David applies his experience from finance and working with REITs to helping renters avoid these costly fee and the pattern of being behind.
We're talking about commercial real estate, insurance, fundraising and more in this episode with the Co-Founder of a startup based here in Chicago. Aaron Letzeiser is the Co-Founder of Obie. He and his brother started Obie to help commercial real estate owners and investors better manage their portfolios. Perhaps one of the things you'll hear in this interview is how they've worked to flip the model and make their software free. Of course the obvious question is then, how do they make money? Well that's a great question and Aaron explains in detail the business model and why commercial insurance makes this all possible. This interview is jammed packed with valuable insights. Tune in!
Imagine owning a home that could sell for a lot more if only you had the money and/or skill to renovate it. For a lot of people, this is a challenge they face. Unfortunately, how the average consumer doesn't know which repairs to prioritize and if those repairs will actually help the property net more when sold. This is just a snippet of the problem Curbio is in pursuit of solving. In this episode, I'm joined by the VP of Marketing at Curbio, Rikki Rogers. Rikki is a marketing veteran. She breaks down the business that Curbio is building and how they differentiate from other service providers. We get into the details of what makes Curbio different from the average home renovator, what role tech is playing in their business, and the reason why they're expanding nationwide with employees vs. relying on a network of contractors.
LEX is on a bold mission. They want to make it possible for you to buy shares of commercial real estate, similarly to the way you can buy stocks. "Don't buy brands. Buy buildings." That's straight from their website and it's how I kick off the interview with co-founder, Drew Sterrett. We get into the details of exactly how consumers will soon be able to buy and sell shares of buildings, regardless of investor status with as little as $100. No minimum holding periods and very little friction. There's a lot happening in fractional ownership these days, so I asked Drew to share why LEX is totally different than anything else available on the market. You'll need to listen in to hear the details.
Before we even talk about what Compound does, let me tell you about my experience. I downloaded the Compound mobile app, created an account, and reserved 10 shares of a luxury class-A condo in Miami in less than 10 minutes. Janine Yorio, Co-Founder and CEO of Compound, is paving the way to a better and more accessible future for investing in real estate. This is her second appearance on the Tech Nest podcast and we talk through some of the fantastic progress Compound has made over the last 10 months, the challenges they've overcome (hint: they're SEC compliant), and what the future holds. They're coming fresh off a rebrand and have been scoring some incredible press lately including a feature in the Wall Street Journal. Janine shares details of which cities they've acquired properties for you to invest in today and how they'll be working towards their vision of being a global company. Don't miss out on this one!
In this interview, we uncover when culture makes all the difference in building a sustainable tech company. Kenon Chen, EVP of Corporate Strategy at Clear Capital breaks down how they've been able to build a big, smart real estate and fintech company. They've been in operation for 18 years, having worked with 47 of the top 50 lenders, managing 750,000+ valuation transactions monthly, and have 2.6 billion property data records in their database. As we got to talking, Kenon reveals some of their unique strategy to recruit talent and they're super customer-centric approach to growth. Clear Capital isn't the brand name that consumers are likley used to hearing, but don't get it twisted—they're at the forefront—even working with iBuyers on their deals. Don't sleep on this interview. Lots of golden nuggets all throughout!
Let's start with the facts. MetaProp is the most active, early-stage proptech VC firm in the game. Zach Aarons, Co-Founder of MetaProp came on the show to break down how MetaProp has maintained their deal flow, what they look for when making investments and more. Zach is no stranger to real estate. He literally grew up around the business. But his pursuit to understanding the game and digging in to see what the future opportunities are is second to none. If you're a startup founder in proptech and you only have time for one Tech Nest episode to listen to, this one is it.
When you've been operating your commercial real estate business for 5, 10, even 20 years, you might assume there's no need to change with the times (because you know what you're doing and how it gets done!). But if you listen to how CRE veteran, Chris Rising, is looking at the industry, he'll tell you differently. Chris is CEO of Rising Realty Partners. Rising RP is a full-service operator and investor, working in California, Washington, and Colorado. They're leveraging new tech, investing in tech, and building tech to give them an unfair advantage as operators and investors in commercial real estate. We get into the details of what Rising RP is investing into and Chris even shares which tools are part of their tech stack. A valuable interview for proptech companies working with commercial investors, as well as for commercial investors looking to up their tech approach to real estate. Tune in!