Interview With Vanessa Alvarez
Describe your product or service:
“Nexme is an on-demand real estate marketplace that connects homebuyers with instant access to homes and agents, at the click of a button. We eliminate the downtime of searching and waiting around for an agent and scheduling to see homes. Think of it like Uber for real estate.”
Describe your company values and mission:
“We give everyone instant access to their forever home.”
How are you funded? I.e. venture capital, angel investors, etc.
“$500,000 angel round.”
How big is your team? Tell us a little about them (I.e. co-founders, freelancers, etc.)
“Arian Abdulkader — CEO, mortgages industry, real estate expertise; Vanessa Alvarez — COO technologist, Amazon, Microsoft.”
How did you come up with and validate your startup idea? Tell us the story!
“I was looking to buy a home when I moved to Seattle, where I didn't know anyone. The more I went through the process, the more I realized how broken the process was. I met Arian as my loan originator and asked him, ‘why is this process so broken?’ He said, ‘That's how it's always been.’ Those are fighting words for any technologist. We went through iterations before we pinpointed the exact problem we wanted to solve: getting in to tour homes right away.”
How did you come up with your startup's name? Did you have other names you considered?
“‘Nexme’ comes from looking at the next generation who is consumed by ME, it's all about me, access to anything at my fingertips, on my time, on my terms.”
Did you always want to start your own business? What made you want to become an entrepreneur?
“Yes, I worked at a few startups in Silicon Valley and got the bug to start something. I was in B2B tech for a long time, so most people thought I would start something in B2B tech, but I wanted to go into a new space with a fresh pair of eyes and reimagine the experience. The real estate industry sparked that fire in me and Arian.”
Did you encounter any roadblocks when launching your startup? If so, what were they and what did you do to solve them?
“Yes, money is always a factor. We're first-time founders, so getting someone to believe in your idea is hard — even harder as a Latina and as underrepresented founders. We also got a lot of backlash from real estate agents until they actually listened and realized this was a win-win for everyone.”
Who is your target market? How did you establish the right market for your startup?
“Forward-thinking buyers; first-time homebuyers, millennials, Gen Z.”
What's your marketing strategy?
“Organic, word of mouth. we're raising our next round for customer acquisition.”
How did you acquire your first 100 customers?
“Word of mouth and organic social media outreach.”
What are the key customer metrics / unit economics / KPIs you pay attention to to monitor the health of your business?
“DAUs; number of instant tour requests.”
What's your favorite startup book and podcast?
“‘Zero to One’ by Peter Thiel.”
What is a song or artist that you listen to for motivation?
Is there a tool, app, or resource that you swear by to help run your startup?
What is something that surprised you about entrepreneurship?
“How fulfilling it is, you don't realize how much you're willing to work for something you've created and makes people's lives easier.”
How do you achieve work/life balance as a founder?
“When you do what you love, there is no line between work and life. Your startup is your life. It just is.”
What is a strategy you use to stay productive and focused?
“I'm a morning person, so getting up at 4 a.m. to get some deep work time is important.”
Did you have to develop any habits that helped lead you to success? If so, what are they?
“Yes, maintaining a schedule to do even the smallest things and sticking to it.”
What was your first job and what did it teach you?
“I was an interpreter (Spanish), and it taught me about people and how money made a difference in the quality of service you received. I want everyone to have the same access to great service regardless of how much they're paying (and that's what we're doing at Nexme).”
More on Nexme
Nexme, founder of proptech startup Nexme, shared valuable insights during our interview that will inspire and motivate aspiring entrepreneurs.