We talked to Ron Heiblum of Visitt.io about its tools that help businesses manage workplace and residential facilities with flair.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Ron Heiblum: We’re doing fine, thank you for asking. Fortunately, we hadn’t had any severe cases in our family and friends. But like most people in the world, we would be happy to leave this pandemic behind us.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Visitt.io.
Ron Heiblum: I’m the co-founder and CEO of Visitt.io. In fifth grade, I started my first business, renting and selling servers for gaming. Starting these kinds of ventures is something that continued throughout my studies. Studying itself was too abstract for me, for I’m more of a hands-on type, always looking for things that I can do or improve. Fortunately, Itay, my co-founder, introduced me to Facility Management and the many challenges there. The rest is pretty much history. We’re a 20 people company with customers from all over the world.
How does Visitt.io innovate?
Ron Heiblum: As a startup, innovation comes pretty naturally to us. But if you are referring to Covid, I think we adapted pretty quickly to the new situation. Like many proptech companies, our focus was mostly on commercial real estate. When we understood that this situation was going to stay for a while, leaving a lot of commercial real-estate vacant, we quickly looked for pains in other verticals. We found that there was a pressing need to work more efficiently in healthcare facilities like nursing homes and retirement villages, with fewer people on-site but increased hygiene standards. Running an operation like that is a perfect fit for Visitt.io, so we were happy to make a difference in that vertical.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Ron Heiblum: Thankfully, we’re growing almost as much as we expected to. Maybe a bit less in commercial real estate, but the more so in healthcare facilities and residential real-estate. In our own operation, we’re doing even more digitally, we already had experience with remote work with employees in Europe and the USA, but now our team in Tel-Aviv was forced to work from home as well. We’re actually in the middle of moving to a new office, so at least we can safely work with 50% of the team in the office.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Ron Heiblum: Fortunately, we didn’t have to lay off any employees. But to decide at the time to keep the shop running 100% and invest time and energy to penetrate new markets and moving offices can be difficult choices. But in hindsight, these were great choices. The one thing we could have done better, and therefore also the biggest lesson we learned is that uncertainty also means opportunity, and you just have to double down.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Ron Heiblum: At Visitt.io, we’re all people-people, so not having a 100% occupancy in the office is hard for us. So twice a week, we have digital coffee together, totally unrelated to work. But the best thing we do, and I think we should keep doing, is to have a beach day with the whole office because nothing is better to deal with stress or anxiety than a good sundowner at the beach!
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Ron Heiblum: We have a couple of big competitors in the likes of Yardi and MRI. These companies with big pockets can wait things out and don’t need to adjust as quickly as a smaller company like ours does. But there also lies our biggest competitive advantage. We’re agile and are very involved with our customers. That’s why we can adjust to their needs super quick and deliver value when it’s needed most.