What’s the inspiration behind Realtyna?
The inspiration behind Realtyna is a motivation to make the real estate industry simple, ethical, and transparent. Property is a place where we spend most of our lives and we are very attached to it as a result. Therefore, we need to make sure that while dealing with real estate issues, we have the best experience. It was clear that the real estate industry was lacking tech solutions that could help customers easily find the right professionals and at the same time help professionals become more productive. I started this business with my partner to address these gaps.
You’re a successful inventor! What does your creative process look like?
When I think about a problem that I want to solve, I can easily look at it outside the box in order to identify the gaps and flaws. Because of my background in engineering and control systems, I can easily zoom in and out to see how the smaller parts interact with one another, what are the processes and feedbacks, and how they can be improved.
After some back and forth, the key high-level elements and requirements will be identified. From there, I spend a considerable amount of time going into details. Usually in this phase, before going through the technical details and architecture, I start with the design and UX. I have a brilliant team of designers, and we work meticulously together to produce a perfect design and user experience. Only then, when the vision is complete, I start the technical backend architecture with my team, again going through every detail from the DB design, choosing the right technology, workflows, documentation, etc., until the project is implemented completely.
How did you meet your co-founder?
We met at the head office of an internet service provider. I was a system administrator and he was a consultant. When we met each other we started talking about different things and we decided to work together. We discussed spam messages that nobody could prevent and started talking about inventing GVCP to have rules and regulations to prevent spam. We realized we had many similarities, so we got married. Together, we started several small companies, including Realtyna. We are currently separated, but the vision that we share and our work has been keeping us together for several years now, and we are good friends and partners in the company.
How do you handle risk and competition?
Risk and competition are things that you cannot avoid when you aim to bring changes and innovation to a certain industry. I am a risk-taker by nature. When I make a decision, I do not see it as a risk. I see it as a challenge I need to overcome. When I have a certain vision, I go for it, and even if something unforeseen happens, I never blame it on risk. It is a challenge and I have to handle it.
When I have a certain vision, I go for it, and even if something unforeseen happens, I never blame it on risk.
Regarding competitors, I should say that I do not worry much about the competition. I never check competitors and I never look at them. I do not see them as a threat. I only look to competitors to help my own creativity and to make sure I'm building something authentic.
How has your work overseas influenced your leadership approach?
To date, my favorite location is my home office near the Paris suburbs. I love the environment that I created for myself here.
I also love having the freedom to work from different places while traveling. With clients in over 96 countries, I can work from anywhere with a laptop and a good internet connection.
What’s been the #1 (or two) top challenges you’ve faced while launching your company?
The number one challenge was starting everything from zero. We started from scratch, bootstrapping without any external investment. It was not easy. It took time and a lot of effort, but we made it and reached success.
The number two challenge (one that I actually liked working on) was managing a distributed team. We have always worked from different places, so we had to create a lot of tools and procedures to make working remotely very efficient. When COVID-19 hit, we could easily adjust to the new work-from-home environment.
Have you learned anything new or surprising about yourself through this process?
I learned that I’m very resilient. Bootstrapping the company without $1 of external investment, while expanding constantly and developing new products, helped me realize just how resilient I am. The business started with just one employee. Now we have more than 45 team members and are continuously expanding.
What was the decision behind launching RealtyFeed during a pandemic?
We have been developing RealtyFeed for a while now, and COVID-19 has only accelerated the need for these kinds of tech tools.
During the past year, there have been no real networking events, which used to help all professionals find B2B clients. With RealtyFeed, we provide a platform to facilitate networking between professionals and with end customers. It is a B2B2C business model. We know the real estate industry could benefit form this, especially during a pandemic, so we pushed ahead with the launch.
What’s your superpower?
When I see a very sophisticated and complex movie (like Inception) and go to sleep at night, I wake up the next day identifying all the flaws that the story or the screenplay has. I unconsciously see these flaws and try to piece them together while sleeping.
It's the same for my work. When my team presents a design from the database or workflow diagrams about how different systems work, no matter how complex the database or the system is, I look at it and can easily identify the issues. This is my superpower.
What’s your kryptonite?
If I had one, I wouldn't tell you :)
Do you have any unusual routines or habits?
In the morning when I drink my coffee, I do nothing for 30 minutes. I pet my husky and my cat. It is not meditation, journaling, etc.—it is just doing nothing and being present in the moment. I cannot start my day without this little gap.
Do you have any other hobbies/things you like to do in your spare time?
I like watercolor painting when I have the time to paint!
What’s your experience been like as a female founder? Any advice for women looking to start their own company?
Honestly, I never think about it. It’s not a part of my thinking paradigm. I never think that because I’m a woman I’m treated differently and less than a man, and I never see being a woman as a restriction. I am not a female founder, I'm a founder and my gender is not something that gets in my way.
It does not matter if you are a male or female founder. It is about how determined and resilient you are to succeed. I am not saying that gender restrictions do not exist, but I think that if we believe being a female founder is a challenge, it becomes a challenge.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?
“Never wait for things to happen, do it yourself.” That’s why we did not wait for investments, we just did what we wanted to do to get our business started.