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Real Estate Tech News Q&A with Rethink Founder Vijay Mehra

Recently Micheal Beckerman of The News Funnel sat down with Rethink founder Vijay Mehra to discuss Rethink’s business and how he got into CRE Tech.

What does your site do?
REthink CRM is a CRM and Deal management software tool, powered by Salesforce.com, built for CRE brokers and agents.

Who are your customers?
Our customers are the leading CRE brokers in the nation.

What are the core benefits of using your site?
For a nominal monthly fee, REthink provides our clients with a flexible, cutting-edge platform that allows our clients to streamline and automate their business, while providing intelligent business insights to grow their business.

How’s business?
We are more focused and dedicated than ever. 2017 has been our greatest year so far, with our strongest partnerships and product releases.

What are your future plans?
REthink has several very exciting product updates slated for Q1 2018. We continue to stay dedicated to our clients’ success and growth, while continuously improving our product. Our goal is to continue to be the number one commercial real estate platform for the modern CRE broker.

What’s your background?
I studied Electrical Engineering and Mathematics in college. After graduating, I worked for Bluewolf in NYC, which later became Salesforce.com’s largest implementation partner. It was here where I gained a tremendous amount of experience and knowledge in delivering Salesforce.com for a wide array of industries and businesses, from non-profit organizations, to large enterprise corporations like NBC and DuPont. Living in NYC, I got the itch to join the ranks of my former classmates and friends who were working for the world’s largest and fastest growing financial institutions in Manhattan. I had the opportunity to join the largest industrial REIT in the U.S., and because of my passion for real estate, I decided to make the leap to join First Industrial. I joined a team of two responsible for underwriting and acquiring several hundred million dollars worth of industrial real estate across the U.S. It was here where I observed the inefficiencies of the CRE industry. This was almost twelve years ago!

What was your “aha” moment that led your into CRE tech?
While at First Industrial, I would call on brokers across the country to help me underwrite deals we were evaluating, whether it was soliciting comps, local market data, or additional intel to help me better understand the dynamics of the deal. I couldn’t believe how inefficient brokers were when it came to managing their data, or even sharing it. I remember one instance when one broker from a brokerage in California sent comp data that was literally written on a sheet of paper and scanned back to me. Even at First Industrial, the largest publicly traded industrial REIT at the time, we were using Excel spreadsheets to manage our deal pipeline, consisting of over $100M in assets. Because of my background with Salesforce.com, I knew there was a better way.

What’s your elevator pitch to someone you meet about your site?
REthink is the leading CRM and deal management platform built on Salesforce.com and designed to help CRE brokers close more deals.

What’s been the most rewarding part of your journey to date?
I have enjoyed getting to help drive that paradigm shift that is taking place in the CRE ecosystem today.

What are you most excited about for the future of your site?
I am most excited about some of the integrations we have in our product roadmap for 2018!

How would you characterize where we are in CRE tech overall?
My thought is that we’re just getting started. So often we compare CRE to other industries that are far more advanced technologically, stating how we are just now coming up to speed. I think CRE is still far behind the status quo, but the industry as a whole has been moving quickly over the last 24 months to catch up. We like to use words like “disrupt” for the movement that we’re seeing, however, I don’t believe that accurately portrays what’s happening. It’s not disruption. CRE is finally realizing that innovation is needed to take place in an antiquated industry. If it’s not adopted, jobs and people are lost or replaced. We haven’t seen the Uber of CRE yet. When we do, we’ll definitely know and many will say “holy shit, why didn’t I think of that!”

As a founder, what is the one piece of advice you would give someone thinking of entering CRE tech?
Constantly solicit feedback from your intended users/audience. And stay focused on executing against your vision.