FCF: Tell us about yourself.
Khushboo: I did my undergrad in Civil Engg & Architecture from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur and my MBA from Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, US. My first job was that of a Strategy Consultant at Accenture, where I was managing and leading projects such as new business launches, global expansion, Mergers and Acquisitions and I learnt the ability to build deep knowledge really quickly. Post my MBA I decided to join Amazon where I worked in multiple roles across US, UK, and Canada and got to launch and scale two marketplaces-an Electronics Trade-in business in the US, and a hazardous materials marketplace (e.g.perfumes) which I launched globally. I also worked on the launch of Alexa Offline service and other machine learning projects. During my time at Amazon, I learnt the value of customer obsession when building and launching a business, the ability and value to moving at a really fast pace, and a very high attention to detail while building technology products.
About my personal background: I grew up in India and studied in an all girls schools that believed women could do everything (the only men in our school were the receptionist and the gate-security guard, everyone else from the plumber, electrician, to teachers was a woman) and so was constantly surrounded by very driven & ambitious women.
My mom is a lawyer and my dad a doctor and hence constantly refreshing your skills and knowledge through regular reading was an integral part of everyday- almost like brushing your teeth. I feel that these aspects of early life have strongly shaped my worldview and approach in life.
FCF: What is BuyProperly?
Khushboo: BuyProperly is a marketplace for micro-investing investing in real estate deals. We allow people to invest in fractional ownership of rental properties, starting as low as $2500.
On the supply side, we are sourcing from:
1) Syndicate leads (curated ) who bring in deals and lead the deal with their own investment plus tag-along additional investors
3) Agents (referrals)
On the demand side, we have two types of customers :
1) Looking to invest in passive income through rental properties without taking on additional mortgage liability and huge minimum down-payment and hassle of managing
2) Looking to sell out equity in the house for down-payment to increase affordability (Phase 2)
FCF: How did you come up with BuyProperly?
Khushboo: I was struggling to invest my own savings of $30K last year, and I did not want to invest in the roller-coaster stock market. Real estate is a great asset, but I could not participate in it with such a low amount. Plus, having only recently finished paying off my student loan, and already under a mortgage for my personal residence, I was afraid to take on more debt.
FCF: What were the first 3 steps you took after you knew you wanted to pursue this idea?
1) Research: I spoke to a lot of people about the idea to gather feedback, searched the internet for what options the customer can potentially have, and how big the problem is (turns out it is a global problem).
2) Write a Press Release: I wrote down my vision for the product in the form of a mock Press Release in a newspaper (with date, location) and all Frequently Asked Questions I may get if I were to do a real press interview (something I learnt during my 5+ years at Amazon). This allowed me to get into my customers shoes to think what they would look for, and what problem am I really solving that can be captured in the headline.
3) Built a prototype/go- daddy website - and participated in Collision conference-getting to see real customer interaction. We had a huge positive response and had 100+ customers sign-up in one day but more importantly tons of questions and feedback before we built anything.