Conquering Columbus Podcast interview with giri

Conquering Columbus interview

This is conquering Columbus Hey! What’s going on everybody? Welcome to the conquering Columbus podcast. This is Andy. The show editor, and mixer. In this episode- Mike and Josh got the chance to talk with Giri Devanur, CEO of reAlpha. 

A Fintech company whose mission is to marketaising in the real estate market. During their conversation, Giri spoke about his desire to become a trader early in his career. But a friend actually gives him a piece of advice. That ultimately pushed his career in a different direction.

Giri Devanur 00:31

So I was in Montgomery securities. I was on the trading floor all the time in San-Francisco, 25-26 kind of. I wanted to be a trader. But you know that one of the trader friends of mine, now he is  CEO of a large investment bank in the Bay Area. He advised me. He said: Giri! You know technology well, don’t bother about coming to finance. Stick to Tech. That was such great advice. And then I have remained in tech a long time since that. 

Conquering Columbus 00:57

Next, He talked about the power of learning from business failures. And how an investment from the Lehman Brothers taught him some very valuable things. 

Giri Devanur 01:04

So we failed, not because we wanted to fail right. The failure happened in 2007 – 2008.    When Lehman’s brother collapsed. Our investor for that project was the Lehman Brothers. They were about to put 300 Million in equity, and 900 Million in debt.  We were  5 weeks away from getting that money.  And then you know, when they collapse, we become collateral damage.

Conquering Columbus 01:26

And last he offers some insight into what he’s learned about the entrepreneurial journey,  and how it’s always changing. 

Giri Devanur 01:31

In the entrepreneurial journey, One thing that I’ve learned is: You can’t possibly put in all the details of a roadmap. Building a startup is like you know, creating a map. There’s no map. You know that you’ll have to figure out yourself right. Even when you do it a second or third time, every time; products would have a change, the market would have changed, customers. Literally, everything changes every single day. So there is no map.

Conquering Columbus 01:56

There are so many great takeaways from this episode. We hope you enjoy it. Hey! Everybody. Welcome to another episode of the conquering Columbus podcast is your co-host, Mike. We got me in josh a bit today. Josh! Hi,

Conquering Columbus Josh  02:10 

Good evening. It’s almost Christmas time.

Yeah, lows in and whether highs were extra cold as expected XFS street. When it was 65 degrees or whatever that was so, how it’s cold in this warm in this cold and then eventually to get warm again.  And all have laws to get snow on Christmas right.  So I’m going to let you know that I will not be seeing any snow on Christmas. I’ll be in the palm desert.

And you’re from San Diego CA, we just let you know you are never going to get everything.  I need to go out in the open so today on the show we’ve got Giri Devanur.  Giri is the CEO of reAlpha, a fintech company with the mission of democratizing real estate, where they find the best potential properties for investment.  And those properties are listed on their digital marketplace. Where you can invest in them. We’re excited to talk with Giri about his journey reAlpha. And a whole lot more on the show today. 

Welcome to conquering Columbus Giri. 

Giri Devanur  2:57

Hi, Mike, Hi Josh.  

Conquering Columbus 2:59

Thanks so much for joining us.  And we’ve really I mean we kind of made a run around this evening. So Preciado is sticking with us. Despite the mix-up on occasion. 

Giri Devanur 3:08

Hey, that’s okay, it happens all the time.

Conquering Columbus  3:11

Yeah, so we’re the first places we like stargazers to get a little background on yourself, your journey kind of how you got to where you are today.  Maybe the key highlights in your career really brought you to this point. 

Giri Devanur 3:20

I was born in India, a small town. Probably like the Dublin off India kind of situation,  South of India. I did my computer engineering there at the University of Mysore.  And then I came to the U. S. in 1991. Those days you know, any good programmer could come to the US very easily. I was one of those early ones that came in. 

Then you know, I’ve been an entrepreneur since pretty much 97. So built all kinds of companies. This is the 6th venture I’m working on. The first one you know, I built it for about 1000+ people between the San Francisco Bay Area, and Bangalore.  Made some good exit. And then moved back to India. I attempted a very large $1.2 Billion project there. Failed! Failure teaches really good lessons.  We’ll talk during the course. 

Then you know, in 2010 I decided to move back to the US.  I came back to the New York area. Went to Columbia University, did my master’s there. And then you know, like, launched another company. We took it from 0-50 Million in revenues in under 4 years.  Got it listed on NASDAQ. Once I rang the bell, I said:  I’m going to do something else.  

Entrepreneurs hate. So I invested in a bunch of companies. And then coming to Columbus is an interesting story.  Will talk about it.

Question 4:42

So going back to creating a listed company. Maybe the first talk about the first one, 91 of 97. You’re kind of taking that typical corporate route. You had your degree, you came over to the United States.  What made you decide to be entrepreneurial, even when you decided to take it? How did you go about being successful? 

Giri Devanur 04:56 

Yes, a very good question.  My entrepreneurial journey started when I was in school I think.  When I was in fifth or sixth grade.  My brother and I started dabbling in entrepreneurial activities in childhood. Like we ran a newspaper route, you know we did the milk route all those days.  You know, selling milk was a big thing in India. Yes, we did that. And you know like, during some festivals- We also used to retail crackers.  And all that kind of stuff. So the entrepreneurial journey had begun very early on in my life. 

When I came to the U. S, I was really lucky to get my first break. At first jobs are normally defined for a long time. When I landed in LA,  my first flight out of India. My first flight in life out of anywhere was to LA. I landed in LA. I worked for a year with a great entrepreneur. His name is Alan Dabbiere, I work for him.  

I was employee number Two. Now that company has become a multi-billion dollar company. So I was employee number Two. So morning 8-5, I used to technically be an executive assistant kind of. Those days you know I’m talking 91 right. You know you didn’t have cell phones etc. It was always with somebody on the phone. So I was the assistant and during 5 PM to almost 2:00 AM, I was the programmer kind of. So you know, it was a crazy day.  

But in that first year, I learned so much. I said I’m going to be an entrepreneur. So I kept trying a bunch of things. And then 97 is when I really launched myself into becoming an entrepreneur. 

Question 6:38

What was that product focused on?  

Giri Devanur 6:39

So before fintech became popularly known as fintech. Those 97 to 2005 are still called financial services technologies. So you know, we were providing tech for banks, and securities companies and insurance companies, etc. Anything related to finance, those are some of the technologies that we were building. 

Question 6:59

How did you notice that market opportunity? 

Giri Devanur 7:01

So by 95, I had moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. I used to work for a company those days called  “Montgomery securities”.  Which went to become bank of America securities after bank of America bought it. So I work there.  So while I was there, this was the really early stages of the internet revolution. You know like  Browsers and you know like Netscape and all those days right. And there was a loud noise every time you logged on the internet and all that stuff right. Dial-up the internet.

Yeah, I was one of those early tech geeks playing around. I was, you know, probably one of the first ones to write a JDBC connector and all that good stuff. And all those good old days. That’s how you know, I got fascinated with tech.  

But I was also trying to be a trader sometimes. So I was in “Montgomery securities” right.  I was on the trading floor all the time. We had hundreds of traders on the trading floor in San Francisco.  So I thought I’d become a trader. I was one of 25 – 26 kinds of. I wanted to be a trader. 

But you know, like one of the trader friends of mine. Now he is a CEO of a large investment bank in the Bay Area. He advised me, his name is Scott Kowali. He said: Giri! you know technology well, don’t bother about coming to Finance, stick to tech.  And that was such great advice.  And then I have remained in tech a long time since then.

Question 8:28

And you move on this $1.2 Billion If I got the number right venture over back in India.  And you mention Failure. How does one fail and yet come back from a $1.2 Billion venture?

Giri Devanur 8:38

See, again failures happen you know like, for your own reason or external reasons.  So we’ve failed not because we wanted to fail right. The failure happened in 2007-2008 when the Lehman Brothers collapsed. Our investor for that project was the Lehman brothers. They were about to put 300 Million in Equity, and 900 Million in Debt. We were 5 weeks away from getting that money. And then you know, when they collapsed, we became collateral damage.

In Asian societies the entire India, China, Japan, Korea, etc. Your business failure is taken as your personal failure. That is the hard part. One thing I love about America is: America gives you second chances, and third chances, etc. As long as you don’t do wrong stuff right. Ethically, Morally if you don’t do stuff.  Society is ready to forgive.  And if you try a big and fail, society even rewards you for that. 

So for me you know, that was the biggest thing. In India, it was a public failure. So I failed in the front page kind of failure in the newspapers. 

Conquering Columbus 9:47

So and then that failure I would assume impacts your ability to go and get another loan for a business or you know to raise money for another like.

So how is that?  I guess I’m curious about; How an Asian society likes that personal side of this failure. Has that impact? Entrepreneurs’ ability to continue after that.  Because like in America right it’s like.  Hey, you’re not an entrepreneur who lets you fail once or twice. Yeah right. So you know in other countries it’s like you have to like about 1000 basically. 

Giri Devanur 10:16

A very painful memory.  

Conquering Columbus 10:19

Sorry! We don’t want to go there, he feels that.

Giri Devanur 10:16

It’s a good question. You know, as you rightly said, in the US, failure is treated as a lesson. And then you learn from it and scale. And you know like I jokingly said, I’ve done a $1.2 Billion MBA kind of program. You have to pay the fees to get that kind of education. 

So in most Asian societies, you don’t get second chances. The US is very forgiving, I love that part of the entrepreneurial nature of this country. If you fail as long as you work hard, you can make it again. So when I came back I was sure. Because I had already tasted the success and failures of America.  

I mean if you’re-call America online you mentioned, AOL and time merger was considered as the biggest merger. You know, like about a $100 Billion kind of Merger and that fails. And you know like Steve case went on like build successfully other funds and stuff like that.
So I knew that that’s going to happen in the U.S. When I came back I was confident that as long as I don’t lose hope. You could make it big. And you know like to prove that you know when I went back to Columbia and then you know as part of the capstone project. We started working on a product. I wanted to do something else. 4 years later to learn to hold. I was ringing the bell on NASDAQ.

Conquering Columbus 12:03

So throughout that process, when you were building that capstone project right now, the product where you were always envisioning that is like. How did you end up getting to that point of going public?

Giri Devanur 12:12

In fact, “No”. See you know like in the entrepreneurial journey, one thing that I’ve learned is; You can’t possibly put in all the details of up the roadmap.  Building a start-up is like you know, creating a map. There is no map. You know like, you will have to figure out yourself right. 

Even when you are doing it a second time or third time, every time products would have changed, the market would have changed, customers. literally, everything changes every single day.  So there is no map.  

So when I was working on the capstone project, the product idea you are in sales. So the idea was: How do you hire the right salespeople? Because they know good questions.  

Conquering Columbus 12:52

I’d like to know the answer to that one.

Giri Devanur 12:54

The University of Chicago has done an interesting study. The cost of hiring a bad sales guy is $1.2, Millon. Yeah, The cost of hiring, the costs are training, one year, etc. If you add all that up.  And the damage somebody creates can be $1.2 Million.

And how do you avoid that? 

So that was the thesis. Can we use technology to overcome biases?  There is an interesting bias. Called 14 seconds syndrome. When we do a handshake, first you know glance 14 seconds.  Your subconscious mind decides whether you want to hire a guy or a girl. Then you know the next half an hour, your entire interview is leading to that decision your subconscious mind is already done.  

So my question was; How do  I overcome that, when I’m hiring? I had hired all kinds of wrong people, made millions of dollars from the wrong hire.

How do you overcome that?  

That was the product. But you know like when I did it, “Lean Launch Methodology” under Steve blank. He came and talked to us. He told in your idea seems interesting.  

Why don’t you go and get 50 purchase orders?  

So I started calling all the heads of sales. Every head of sales, like you, mentioned that it’s a great idea. Every head of HR said. Not a good idea. Because you know people really discriminate against you.  Right. 

So I had to drop the idea that people did go into an SAP etc.  And build the company. So that was the Pivot.  So it was based on a pivot.

Conquering Columbus 14:26

So as you pivot you know I want to get to reAlpha.  And I don’t want to double down too much on some of these things that are further back.  However, I think of your repeated success.  Tell me you have the ability to not only identify problems but continue to figure them out.  

How to solve them in an entrepreneurial way.  Not everybody can make that gap. So when you said, okay this isn’t going to work in the markets time it’s not going to work I’m going to pivot.  How are you even able to find a like-out pivot? Can you take me through a little bit on how you look at problems?  And realize whether they’re worth solving or not. 

Giri Devanur 14:54

So you know I will since you brought the reel Alpha as an example. I’ll give you the reAlpha example.  So you know, one of the questions that you know you may want is like, why am I in Columbus?  I used to be you know in the Bay area or in the New York area. 

I used to live in Princeton till last year.  Covid everybody’s plans were disrupted.  We were supposed to be at home. My wife and I were planning to go to Santorini for our 25th wedding adversity etc. Everything that was disrupted. And accidentally you know we picked Columbus as a place to meet.  As our son was in Chicago. So We picked this location and landed here in Dublin, Ohio. And then I wanted to know how to build a business here. That’s how I came last year. 

So I’m new here in Columbus right. So the way you spot an opportunity is Vince.  I mean it can be serendipitous. I do need them for various reasons: You know your throne and opportunity or a challenge.  

What happened was when I came here. One of my friends from Princeton called. She was trying to buy an Airbnb property. That was about $400000 kind. If you want to buy a vacation rental kind of property, you have to put in a 25% down payment. So $1000. 

She did not have $100000. She called me saying; Giri! Either give me $100000 or solve the problem. Enterprinialize said: Interesting problem.  Let me know and look into it. So when I started looking deeper into the problem, I realized that you know like; wow $100000, 65% of Americans don’t have 1000 Bucks for a medical emergency. That is the reality of life.  

How will they bring in $100000 if they have an aspiration to have vacation rental property? That was the question that triggered me. Okay, let’s solve the problem.  That’s how the reAlpha idea started.  

Conquering Columbus 16:49

Sort of keep probing on that.  You identify what the problem is and you understand that there’s a massive gap and then your mind starts to probably go to total market size. In terms of, How many people actually, want to buy a $100000 property? But then, How do you start to realize that this is a big enough problem? Where do enough people probably want to do this?  There’s a viable product: Do you take the M. V. P. route and start testing the market?

Giri Devanur 17:10

Yeah, A very interesting question right.  How would you know jumping into an MVP is not.  “Steve Blank” is my mentor and teacher in Columbia.  He is considered the “Lien launch guru. Ary Cries was a student of US Steve blank.  

What they proposed was; What is known as a customer discovery process. Don’t jump into MVP. But do one more step of customer validation. So that means you know you talk to 50,100 customers to see: Whether the problem is real, and it is a solvable problem? 

The harder the problem to solve, the higher the probability of success. Everybody thinks another way around. Things that they like if it is easy to build it and it will happen. No, it doesn’t happen. 

So what I did was when my friend called me, with that one question: Can you solve this problem? 

I said okay, let me know or start talking. So I spoke to at least 90 odd people. How do you day by Airbnb properties? I became curious and then you know like now our  Co-Founder and my dear friend Monaz. She has done hundreds of properties herself right. So I asked her. Hey Monaz! This is the problem. What do you think? 

She asked Giri, your tech guy.  Why are you asking a real estate question? 

Okay. If I had to buy you know what I do. She said, Do you even know how to buy a property?

I didn’t know how to react to that.  I said yeah, I go to a realtor, or go to Zillow.  And then figure out whether to buy or not. What I did not know at that time, was there is this massive wholesale real estate market. I don’t know that you guys know about this. 

So it’s big. Every city has wholesale dealers. But you and I, as retail customers, don’t have access to it. They won’t be the wholesale market guys.  Don’t sell it to retail guys. To visualize a  cost-Co kind of for buying homes. Cost-co you can go and buy a coke can.  But you know you can buy 300 Coke cans. Something like that right. 

So similar analogy, they don’t sell it to 1G and 2G  property buyers. If you buy 25, 50, etc. Then you will be into the privilege claw. But how many individuals can afford to do that? 

That is when you know I got more and more curious and then I interviewed a lot of people over a few months. And then you know I talked to Brent Crawford, of Crawford Hoying here locally. So I pitched to him.  Saying that here is an idea. He said yes. Let’s do it.  And that’s the beginning of reAlpha.

Conquering Columbus 19:43

We’re gonna take a quick break here, to thank one of our sponsors, the Burr let family foundation. The Berlin family foundation is committed to serving as a trusted partner and resource to organizations striving to improve our community here in Columbus.  All right, let’s get back. 

Conquering Columbus 19:58

So when you go about you know you start to focus on developing a product.  Do you start bringing a team together? Do you start working on it yourself? like, How do you go about actually building this M. V. P. and? I’m assuming there’s probably a lot of legal issues involved with building out. What’s almost like I  know I do the way when I read it is almost like an R. E. I. T. It’s still a financial asset. So there’s a lot of regulation around. 

Giri Devanur 20:23

So two parts of that question were made. One is: How we built the VP part and know that reach part of it. So I completely reach later. Let’s talk about the product itself right. 

So as  I told you, instead of jumping onto M. V. P, I  in order focused very heavily on the customer discovery process. So what are the customer needs, what are the pain points? I have to understand. So no like largely to be narrowed down on 3 core customer pain points. 

The first one is obviously 25% down, $100000 kind of money right. How many people really should be sitting with $100000 invested?  Not many. 

The second part was, nobody has time and energy to buy a short-term rental property and then manage them. Somebody called at 3 Am and said that: My toilet is not working, the door lock is not working.  Those are the kind of pain points.  

And a third pain point is The complexity that is there about the mortgage process.  Actually pulling your teeth is much easier than getting a mortgage by the way.  Nobody has the time, energy, or you know like that process is so painful.  It’s just nobody wants to deal. 
So we said, Can we address these three pain parts?  So then we walked, what we did before even writing the first-line of code, I’m a software guy.  The tendency is to jump into writing code. I said “No”. Let me know how to solve it on paper. So we went through the entire first few properties manually doing step by step. When we figured that out, then I said okay.  Now we have to go on right the code.  In reAlpha, we did the manual M. V. P. And then jump into technology.

Conquering Columbus  21:52

And with reAlpha, there’s kind of really 2 pieces to the system right.  There is the user interface implied. The form allows people to purchase properties and work through managing their assets.  But then there’s also the AI. on the back and that’s helping you find the right properties.  And evaluate different properties when there are thousands of properties.  Yeah.  On sale right. 

Giri Devanur 22:12

Very good to know a point there right.  On artificial intelligence versus human intelligence. Again I’ve been a techie for a long time. I know in-depth what happens at the nuts and bolts level. People you know want to overhype saying that  AI can do everything.  We haven’t reached the artificial general intelligence level. We are still at the AI

And we are still at the early stages.  What AI can help you with is;  When you have thousands of properties to analyze. It can give you a smaller list. Let’s say in very recently a very large bid for some 1500 properties all for a company which is going through a lot of you know interesting challenges. You know you guys know. I’m an NDA,  So I can’t disclose anything about it.  

So they are trying to sell thousands of properties and it’ll be bid in that process. What we did was we suddenly had some 7000 properties data. How do you analyze 7000 properties in 3 days? Humans cannot. That is where that technology will be very useful.  

So what we did was we have a product, we call it “reAlpha Brain”. That’s a real flat form. So we ran it through that.  And then it gave us a much smaller version. And then we have another app, called HUMINT. (Human Intelligence). 

So on top of the AI, you know through HUMINT, which will give you a much narrower list. That is really what the investment committee will do manually. You know like buy are not buy kind of decisions. 

So a combination of your tech and human intelligence is a great combo at this point in time. Sometime in the future. I don’t know is it going to be a year or 5 years from today when it’ll become fully automated. Till that time we have to leverage humans and technology.

Conquering Columbus 23:57

Right and a little bit of sidetrack here. But you mentioned artificial general intelligence versus civil artificial intelligence. And for those of us that might not know, as far as I’m aware artificial general intelligence is the concept of an AI. That’s not only.  So right now we have an AI. For example, with there’s just say, I called 0 that is extremely in stockfish as well that could be any human at chess.  Correct. AI is very good at one thing right now.  but artificial general intelligence would be as smart or smarter than humans at everything. Right.

Giri Devanur 24:29

Yeah. And that is still years away.  Even though you know there are experiments that are happening you know like multiple companies are attempting.  Google bar Tech company called deep mine. A couple of years back.  That is one example.  And then you know that technology will evolve in different ways obviously. Quantum computing is One area, mixing with the AGI.  I think that will be a  great place. 

I mean you know like see, even Elon Musk has been talking about fully automated driving, etc. It doesn’t happen at the scale that day one would have expected. 

20,25 years back when we started. I mean you know that I was doing my engineering, some 30 years back; we all thought that by 2020 we all have flying cars. Right. 

I mean we still had to drive.  Even come into this podcast. So I think you know technology is evolving in really interesting ways.  But AGI  hasn’t happened yet.

Conquering Columbus 25:30

So when you compare it against the other options you have out there is an individual like Mike mentioned, like a real estate investment trust.  Why would reAlpha be superior? What problems softer people might consider? 

Giri Devanur 25:39

So now we have solved it. As I told you in three different ways. You know from one of its down payment issues. See I truly believe in property ownership.  Especially short-term rental property ownership.  Must be democratized.  And we are the leader in democratizing. 

When I say democratizing, I want to see, can I be allowed to invest in a vacation property, short-term rental property, or Airbnb property in Florida. With the down payment as low as $2500.  How do we bring that down? 

Our vision is to eventually bring you down to zero. With Zero down, can you get the fractional ownership of a property? That you can say: Hey mom and dad, Why don’t you go and stay at my property? That’s a matter of pride. 

See millionaires are investing in all kinds of digital assets. And that it is Crypto, NFTE, and Doll, Constitution doll.  And like the latest craze right. 

But you know, real assets are also a must.  And what we are saying is while you are investing in technology and advances etc. Do investment in real. That’s our tagline.  Invested in real. So our tagline is: to invest in real, real people, real assets, real moments.  

So what we want to do is: Democratize that entire investment process. Where it is low.   Today at $2500, you can pick up twelve and a quarter percent of a property.  That’s what you know we have achieved so far.

Conquering Columbus 27:06

So it’s a much more sophisticated elaborate version of a mix between, what you would get almost from a financial perspective except more lucrative in a real estate investment trust plus the benefits. The kind of timeshare type product Machin wonder. I’m totally missing the mark on that. 

Giri Devanur 27:20

To a large accident, you are right. See the difference between I mean you both are talking about REIT(Real Estate Investment Trust). The difference is:  REITs are blind pooll of money. When you put the money, you don’t know what properties they’re going to buy, etc. So you have no control as an investor.  What we are saying is let us reverse that. See, using the democratization world is one thing, and then making your building a business model around it right. So what we are doing is: you will get to stay in the properties that you are investing in.  

So our business model is, 65% of the year is when short-term rental happens. Airbnb bookings. So we are seeing Airbnb data, that you know like when you put a property on Airbnb. The bookings happened for about 65 – 70 %.  30 -35 % it’s empty.
So we are building algorithms. Almost like frequent flier miles of an airline. So you know like they throw you a free seat now and then, right.  So similarly what we believed was 35% of the unoccupied part of the short-term rental property. You should go and stay. That is the difference between REIT and our model.

Conquering Columbus 28:30

And so then it sounds like you did that 35% of time up as a timeshare amongst all of the people who have contributed on that particular property.  But what I’m curious about is if I want to go on to reAlpha right now and I said Hey I want to do is there a list of properties that I can invest in or is it, Hey you know here is the do you invest this much.  we’re going to buy a property and we’ll tell you what it is later. 

Giri Devanur 28:59

Yeah.  So that’s going to come in the next year. What we did was, we took the democratization process to the next level. On March 15th of this year, the SEC allowed companies like us to raise up to $75 Million through a  process called us regulation A. (reg A)  it’s called popularly.  So we created a fun deep fake video of Elon Musk. 

So if you want to go to YouTube and search for the reAlpha channel. And then you will see Elon Musk, in the bathtub kind of video. It’s fun, better than we did. Where his character explains regulation A. How we know it is devolved. So we went to the SEC process.  So on October 15th, we went to live with that process.  

What shocked Mike is:  we have got your investor interest. I am blown away. We got investor interest from  56 countries as of today. 8900 investors from around the world. Including Mongolia. I never thought that our campaigns would reach such levels. 

So you know, we are kind of overwhelmed you know by their response that we are seeing. That 8900 investors are already you know come on our platform and they want to invest.  So the Regulation A,  the share you know like we are priced at $10 a share.  And you know come in at the company level. And then we will be you know like next year once we buy 100+ properties, we will allow individual investors to invest at the property level as well. 

So, either you invest in all properties, by becoming a shareholder of the company. Or you come to an individual property level. Where there are four shareholders.  There we have limited to twelve and a quarter percent.  4 members so 49%. Because 51% has to be held by the company. Otherwise, nobody would finance it.  So that is why you have two classes of owners. One at the company level, where you have access to all the properties or individual properties. 

Conquering Columbus 31:10

If you have access to all properties, How does it look from a return standpoint over time? Like when you talk about when you looked into individual property level, obviously you can kind of map out in more detail level you can see the usage of the property. How does that change the dynamic change, we just looked at it at the company level?

Giri Devanur 31:23

So when you invest at the company level through this regulation A offering. You are going to get the benefit of all the properties that we will continue to buy, right.  See this  $75 Million that we are raising within the next year or 18 months. So we will be owning almost $1.5 Billion worth of properties. 

And then you know it will continue to add more and more properties without diluting these shareholder classes. So you will see multiplying of the benefits. That keeps occurring at the company level. The valuation of the company etc will hopefully go up. That’s the way I have a legally compliant way I’d not disclose.

So what will happen is: As you move up the chain, you know as we buy more and more properties you’ll see the benefit of a shareholder. Because the valuation of the company tends to go up. 

Conquering Columbus 32:15

Do you have to be an accredited investor to get at the shareholder level?

Giri Devanur 32:17

That is the beauty of the regulation A offering. You know like this is under the jobs act. That got passed in 2015. So the SEC made a bunch of revolutionary changes in March of this year. This allows both accredited investors and non-accredited investors to participate in this.

See otherwise you will never have a chance to invest in a high-growth company at the ground floor level. The only choice is the IPO.  Why shouldn’t only VCs and high net worth individuals and private equity guys invest in companies?  Why not individuals?

So we have put a minimum of $1000.  With $1000 you can be an early shareholder.

Conquering Columbus 33:02

And what about growing and scaling the company in Columbus? You know you’ve been to these major cities and tech hubs of the world. What’s it been like trying to grow the company here? 

Giri Devanur 33:10

Very interesting. You know, I’m very impressed with the quality of the talent that we are seeing. The support we are getting, you know like, it’s just amazing on a lighter note. I think you know like the marketing of Columbus and Ohio has to be, you know like tweaked a little bit.  

The tagline Ohio is finding it here right. It should be fined IT here( Information Technology). See every industry is going through a transformation and Tech. So find IT here.  

Conquering Columbus 33:42

I like to find IT here.  We’re heading towards technology and I think that you know when you see the community and I think our tech community is growing rapidly.  At the same time right. In seeing people recognize Columbus is a place that you know is more than just a countdown. As we were known for that for the last 30 years.

Conquering Columbus 34:02

Hi everybody, Mike here. We’re gonna take a quick break to talk about one of our sponsors one Columbus.  and we are very excited to partner with one Columbus. They really really share the same vision as us here at the conference on this podcast which is that really building up.  

The Columbus region to be one of the most prosperous regions in the United States.  And one Columbus serves as the business location resource for companies across central Ohio. And around the world, those companies grow, innovate and compete within the global economy. And they help us lead a regional growth strategy that develops and attracts the world’s most competitive companies. And grows a highly adaptive workforce and prepares our communities for the future in inspiring innovation across the board. 

Their mission really is just ensuring the Columbus region is a vibrant place to build businesses and careers. So again we really appreciate all of their support. You want to learn more about it go check out the website Columbus

Thanks so much for tuning in, we’ll be right back in the re-episode.

Conquering Columbus 34:56

What initiatives are you working on right now, that is you guys can look ahead into 2022 and beyond?

Giri Devanur 35:02

So we are working on 6 major initiatives as we speak. One is further developing the artificial intelligence piece of it.  How do we make it better?  You know like every time we throw-in a 1000 new properties, the system becomes better and better. How do we improve the accuracy and the quality of the output that comes under AI? That’s the first part.

The second one is:  Because of the product that we started building. We observed another major area, like getting an opportunity.  So we are going to launch a product early next year. So we are almost done. We are testing you know with a bunch of users now. So that’ll be about the next big thing. 

The third one is: You know we are working on what we call “reAlpha hub”. This hub sees one of the biggest challenges in the Airbnb properties is, Four people, Let say book houses. 50 people show a party, trash the place etc. That’s a common complaint across Airbnb properties. 

By the way, a quick stat on Airbnb.  Airbnb today operates in 220 countries. In the US alone 660000 homes on Airbnb.  It’s a big market.  So what we believe is:  Some of the technologies that we can integrate can be sold to all the 1.8 Million short-term rental homes on Airbnb itself.  

We are working oConquering Columbus 36:48n the call as reAlpha hub. We may change the name at some point in time.  But in the next year, those are the three and then there are a bunch of other what we call this skunkworks kind of products. So who knows.

Conquering Columbus 36:48

What personal goals in the future do you plan on being in Columbus long-term? Anything else outside of the business that you’re really focused on

Giri Devanur 36:54

Hey! No. I came to mind just one year back. And you know like I’m in the Dublin bubble part of the city. And you know like so many things are happening. I’m meeting really exciting people, genuine people. I mean I have lived in New York. So that’s a different lifestyle compared to here. I have great conversations with people. I love it here, so far. On the personal side you know, My son has already moved to Seattle.  He works for Microsoft. And my daughter is in Urbana Champaign, so we are enjoying ourselves here.

Conquering Columbus 37:26

That sounds great. And I think that a good place to pivot towards our last question show here on conquering Columbus is centered around the theme of the show which is to live uncomfortably.  And without telling you too much about why we chose that particular phrase for a show about entrepreneurs, business owners, and leaders. What do you think of when you hear it how’s it apply to your life and career?

Giri Devanur 37:45

I mean I’ve always lived on the edge of everything. I never had a regular 9-5 kind life. See, I believe in Ikigai, I don’t know if you heard of the term ikigai.  It’s a  Japanese term, you know what you are passionate about, what you know like make money off, and then you know what brings you joy. Right, Creating new products and new technology is my ikigai. So every year I will do some experiments at a personal level. 

The last few months back I became a vegan to an experiment further. So like that, you have to keep experimenting. One of the things that I’m fascinated about is a concept called “Biohacking”. I don’t know if you have ever done any interviews on your podcast.  This is a movement which is picking up momentum in Silicon Valley. How do you hack your body?  So the future is stuff Google. 

He says that you know how about a generation of people, we have an opportunity to live up to 130 years. So if you’re going to live that long you better find really exciting stuff to build right.  So maybe we are the generation that is going to Mars maybe. So if I get an opportunity to go to no mas, I’ll be the one other. Probably don’t even fly to Mars. 

Conquering Columbus 39:07

Would be a good trip. I’d say yeah that’s a great answer Giri. And we appreciate your taking the time to talk on the show. It’s been great talking with you.

Giri Devanur 39:12

All right, thank you very much, yeah.

Conquering Columbus 39:17

And listers next tune in if you want to learn more about reAlpha, check out. Giri helps me out with the website.

Giri Devanur 39:20

Conquering Columbus 39:21 Very easy, and if you enjoyed that interview, you want to hear more just like it, go ahead and hit that subscribe button whatever podcast app.  You are listening to those descriptions really do help support the show. So we appreciate it and we’ll talk to you next.

Mr. Giri Devanur is a Serial Tech entrepreneur, from India, who is currently based in the US. Born in a small town called Chikmagalur, Karnataka, India Giri went later went on to ring the Nasdaq Stock Market Closing Bell in New York City. Giri holds a Master of Science (MS), in Technology Management • from Columbia University in the City of New York, and Executive Education from Harvard Law School, and an Executive Education in Innovation at MIT in Computer Science. He was a mentor of – the Executive Master Program-Columbia University. He is an E&Y Entrepreneur of the year award winner and has successfully completed the Nasdaq IPO of AMRH ( He has helped raise multiple rounds of capital, executed M&A. Giri Devanur is currently the CEO & founder of ReAlpha Tech Corp.

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