RefineRE Turns One Today
As we celebrated my son’s second birthday last week, it dawned on me that there’s reason to celebrate another important birthdate in my life. Our company, RefineRE, officially turns one today. It didn’t get any cake or giant dinosaurs that shoot water out of its nose, but it is worthy of a good blog post to reflect on what we’ve learned over this very important, exciting year.
The first thing that comes to mind is “Was I really crazy enough to launch a new company the same week as my son’s first birthday?”. Maybe crazy isn’t the right word, but I found myself in a situation where I knew it was what I needed to do. Like great spouses, great friends, and great meals, the best businesses just seem to find you at the right time and in the right place. I didn’t really feel that I had a choice in the matter. Maybe I didn’t. The CRE world needed an agnostic data platform built for occupiers, and I had the expertise (and crazy!) to pull it together.
In the beginning it all felt like I was playing pretend; it was all made up. The name, the logo, the awful, terrible “marketing materials” I agonized over in powerpoint for days on end. But when we launched with our first two customers and that first pay check rolled in, it started to sink in. We’re going to do this. The hard nature of creating something out of nothing had the opposite effect of what common sense would tell you; It just made me want it more.
In over 14 years a commercial real estate broker, I never once questioned if I was in the right industry. I’ve loved CRE since before I ever found it as a calling. I did question often, however, if I was in the right role. Was I the type of guy that could force a deal? Was I willing to do whatever it takes to close a deal? If it was the right one, yes, but I just wasn’t that guy that could talk someone into something that I didn’t believe in wholeheartedly. What I did do right throughout my career was align myself with great people and great brokerages. I made my fair share of mistakes and went down some serious wrong paths when it came to partnerships here and there, but overall, I got my MBA and then some in CRE, especially on the occupier side of this crazy, wacky world.
In my reflection of all of this, it’s very hard for me to stay focused for very long on what RefineRE is today. It still seems so unfinished and unpolished, but the truth of the matter is that in our first year we’ve built an incredibly useful platform, an awesome customer base, found some unbelievably talented team members, and joined two of the finest startup communities in the country in both Dallas and New York City. All of this seemed so far out of reach and nearly impossible to grasp as we were once struggling to pay the most basic of bills, let alone pay myself a salary.
Our clients and prospects have taken us all across the country in this short year, leading us to Chicago, Indiana, and Florida. LA, and San Fran. NYC and Toronto. I’ve spent countless hours in airports, on flights, and in my weekly little apartment in Greenwich Village prepping for meetings and hosting customer demos. It sounds exhausting, but I have to say that aside from being away from my family, it’s been awesome!
What I am able to focus on is where RefineRE is headed. Aside from my family, it’s pretty much all I can think about. At 4:00 AM. On Saturdays and Sundays. It’s the most exhilarating and exciting business I’ve ever been a part of, and I promise you that the future is bright. We’re doubling down on our technology. We’re increasing our feedback channels for our customers and prospects. We’re listening to our broker partners and data teams. We’re not just building a platform, we’re building the right platform and we won’t stop until it’s moving the needle for occupiers around the globe.
The opportunity for RefineRE to become the industry standard platform for occupiers of commercial real estate is becoming reality every single day, and it’s all thanks to the wonderful people and organizations that have supported us along the way. My wife and our two year old. Our first clients. Our next clients. Our investors. My family and friends. Our incredible team.
It’s been an awesome journey, but I really can’t help but feel that we’ve just now made it to the starting line. I can’t wait to see what the next year brings.