We talked to Victor Karlsson of Propstreet about its community for commercial real estate investors and this is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Victor Karlsson: We are doing well. Thank you for asking. I am very thankful that my family, friends, and colleagues are healthy. Right now, we are accepting this new normal while staying positive.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Propstreet.
Victor Karlsson: Commercial real estate has been a lucrative industry for many years. Therefore, real estate companies and other stakeholders have not been forced to develop their products and services to the same extent as companies in other industries. In the last 5 years, new tech companies have changed the real estate landscape, but there are still great opportunities for entrepreneurs to enter the market.
Our founding team consists of Henrik Olofson, Joakim Riedel, and myself. We are three different personalities with different skillsets, which makes us strong as a team. We share the same vision – to contribute to a more accessible and intelligent transaction market. Instead of a traditional marketplace-approach, we have curated a community of thousands of vetted real estate professionals in the Nordics.
How does Propstreet innovate?
Victor Karlsson: The commercial real estate industry is in a transition-phase where many actors face a new set of challenges. We are focusing on the needs of the future and the needs of today. We spend a lot of time listening to our members to understand what improvements can be made and what value we can bring to the table.
We have developed a community where commercial real estate investors get direct access to high-quality investment opportunities from brokerage firms, something that previously was a manual and often time-consuming process.
Our mission is to make commercial real estate investments more accessible.
We are constantly trying to understand the underlying dynamics and think holistically, with the aim of offering a new strategic toolbox for both investors and brokerage firms.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Victor Karlsson: As an entrepreneur, you always want more.
Our initial plan was to focus on geographical growth, but we have focused on customer retention and product development. Big corporations are not always able to react to changes fast, but we can. Since March 2020, we have managed to keep growing, and we have also launched a new interface and several product features. It has actually been a great opportunity for us to discuss strategic business possibilities and evaluate existing activities.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Victor Karlsson: We are used to making challenging decisions every day. Sometimes you make bad ones, and sometimes good ones. It is not always about making the right decisions. It is about your ability to constantly deal with change and learn from your mistakes.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Victor Karlsson: Stress and anxiety are rarely discussed, although it is extremely common among founders of start-ups. For me personally, it is important to disconnect from work and do other things. Yoga, fishing, hiking, exercising, and spend time with family and friends are my preferred activities. Or eating Swedish kanelbullar J
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Victor Karlsson: We are extremely focused on our own business and the value we are providing to our members. It is important to understand that change takes time. Building trust is key.
Your final thoughts?
Victor Karlsson: Stay safe and focus on the needs of today and the needs of tomorrow.