Kalle and the Kodit.io team are building a painkiller for a migraine that switching homes causes

Company:  Kodit.io

Started playing:  Q2/2017

Joined the band:  Q3/2017


Real estate is the world's largest asset class and business that has seen little innovation during the last 20 years. Kodit.io is about to change that using their AI-powered real estate transaction service and eliminating most of the time and money consuming parts of process of selling and buying your home.


Kodit.io Interview


Icebreaker(IB):

Hi Kalle, how is everything going?

 

Kalle:

Hi guys, everything is going great, can’t complain. Of course, I have a lot going on all the time, but that’s the life of an entrepreneur which I am quite used too.

 

IB:

That good to hear! Could you tell us a little bit about your background?

 

Kalle:

Sure. So, I have been an entrepreneur most of my adult life. I started my first business during my studies in Aalto University and since that, I have run this track. So, now I have been an entrepreneur for almost ten years in different industries and companies operating in eight different countries in Europe and Middle East. My main knowledge is in the media industry, in which I have founded a few quite successful companies. I came into the real estate field through private investments, and it was through that, I got to know Martti, one of the team members of Kodit.io.

 

IB:

So, how did you come up with the idea of your latest venture, Kodit.io? And when did you start it?

 

Kalle:

Well, I have been actively involved in the real estate business for the last seven years, and I have seen how painful it is for people to manage the whole process of switching apartments. You know, finding the new home that you like, selling your current home, buying the new one, maybe doing some fixing and renovations in both apartments, probably staying a month or more in temporary rental flat because you couldn't get the moving dates to match, and all the other little details that you need to juggle with. It also occurred clearly to me when I moved with my wife last year. Even though I have been involved in hundreds of real estate transactions and the distance from our old apartment to the new one was like 300 meters, we still faced a lot of difficulties and the workload was like having a second full-time job. Fast forward, at Kodit.io we're building a painkiller for a migraine that switching homes causes.  

We started Kodit.io in the beginning of this year and since that we have pushed hard to develop our service. At the same time, we have also focused a lot on strengthening our team, and I'm happy to say that we've succeeded in that game. 

 

IB:

So what is the painkiller that you guys are building?

 

Kalle:

The problem today is that, even if you find a nice apartment that fits your budget and your spouse's list of "must-have-features", you still need to sell your current home. And you want a fair market price for it. This is where Kodit.io helps you.  

The whole process is normally expensive and time-consuming. It gets even harder when you add small children and a hectic career to the equation. It is a chaotic process that most of us must go through. We directly give our customers a fair cash offer that is based on our AI-based valuation model. After that, the customers can either sell their home to us or choose and extended offer and try to get a price from the market. For home buyers we offer fully renovated and move in ready homes where they can trade in their old home for a market price. Basically, people save months of their time and thousands of euros. Not to even mention convenience. 

 

IB:

You mentioned that you have succeeded in team building – could you elaborate? 

 

Kalle:

As mentioned earlier, we have Martti Suomela as the Head of Real Estate. Martti has a long background in the real estate field and we have worked together for years. Our CTO is Nico Rotstein and he joined our team in the summer. Nico has PhD in AI and background in fast-growing startups. All team members are super experienced in their respective field. Latest addition to our team is Tero Tiainen, our new CMO, a former Chief Digital Officer of Omnicom Media Group with 20 years of experience in digital marketing. I have taken part in many projects, and I believe that the key to building a great team is to keep the bar high, do your homework well and hire only the “best of the best”. A good guideline is to think that could someone else do the work better? If yes, go to that guy.  The culture fit is, of course, critical aspect as well.

 

IB:

Where are you now with Kodit.io and what are the plans for the future?

 

Kalle:

We are on a good way for reaching our goals for the first year, continuously developing our product, closing deals with potential partners and of course actively buying real estate. Now, we operate in Helsinki but our vision is much bigger. We aim to quickly start operations in other growth areas in Finland followed by an internationalization of the business to other European countries. We are building an AI-powered residential real estate data platform and home transaction service is just a starting point. 

 

IB:

How is the competition in this niche market? In Finland or abroad?

 

Kalle:

There are competitors, but none of them are active in Finland or the Nordics. In the US, there are few competitors in Europe only one that I know. The real estate market differs from other industries regarding localization. In other words, the market has its unique characteristics depending on the country and the city. 

 

IB:

How do you think Kodit.io will change the real estate market? Are you making real estate agents obsolete? 

 

Kalle: No, I don’t think so. We have a lot of cooperation with real estate agents and I don’t see their position being at risk because of our technology and service. I believe that real estate agents have significant role in successful real estate transactions. Role that is not easy to automate or replace. I see Kodit.io as a dramatic overall improvement to the market increasing the level of efficiency and flexibility. 

 

IB:

How has Icebreaker helping with your project?

 

Kalle: I have known the Icebreaker guys for a long time and they are a bunch of cool guys. Besides the financial support, they've been mentors along the way. Even though I have experience in building businesses from scratch to scaling, I strongly recommend every startup founder to constantly get feedback and input from other professionals and peers. 

 

IB:

As a serial entrepreneur as you are, would you recommend it as a career to other people? 

 

Kalle:

Well, I don’t recommend it to everyone. For some it suits better than for others. If you are risk averse and scared for unknown difficulties, then you should not consider it. On the other hand, if you have a great idea, life is too short for nonsense so do stuff that you are passionate about. If you work hard and believe in yourself, you have a good chance to succeed.  

I think one of the most essential characteristics for founders is the "just do it" attitude. Without trying you will never get the chance to see what it will come out of it. Of course, you also need something that keeps you motivated to work hard and tackle the shitstorms that every founder will experience.

My tips to people who are thinking of starting their own business; come up with a business idea that could work, find a great team and get the team to work hard for mutual goals. Nothing rarely ends up as you have planned, therefore it's important to be highly adaptive when it's time to make changes – even radical ones.