Each week, Female CoFounder features a female founder in the community. Follow along each week and learn from different founders and their journeys.
FCF: Tell us about yourself.
Khushboo: I did my undergrad in Civil Engg & Architecture from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur and my MBA from Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, US. My first job was that of a Strategy Consultant at Accenture, where I was managing and leading projects such as new business launches, global expansion, Mergers and Acquisitions and I learnt the ability to build deep knowledge really quickly. Post my MBA I decided to join Amazon where I worked in multiple roles across US, UK, and Canada and got to launch and scale two marketplaces-an Electronics Trade-in business in the US, and a hazardous materials marketplace (e.g.perfumes) which I launched globally. I also worked on the launch of Alexa Offline service and other machine learning projects. During my time at Amazon, I learnt the value of customer obsession when building and launching a business, the ability and value to moving at a really fast pace, and a very high attention to detail while building technology products.
About my personal background: I grew up in India and studied in an all girls schools that believed women could do everything (the only men in our school were the receptionist and the gate-security guard, everyone else from the plumber, electrician, to teachers was a woman) and so was constantly surrounded by very driven & ambitious women.
My mom is a lawyer and my dad a doctor and hence constantly refreshing your skills and knowledge through regular reading was an integral part of everyday- almost like brushing your teeth. I feel that these aspects of early life have strongly shaped my worldview and approach in life.
FCF: What is BuyProperly?
Khushboo: BuyProperly is a marketplace for micro-investing investing in real estate deals. We allow people to invest in fractional ownership of rental properties, starting as low as $2500.
On the supply side, we are sourcing from:
1) Syndicate leads (curated ) who bring in deals and lead the deal with their own investment plus tag-along additional investors
3) Agents (referrals)
On the demand side, we have two types of customers :
1) Looking to invest in passive income through rental properties without taking on additional mortgage liability and huge minimum down-payment and hassle of managing
2) Looking to sell out equity in the house for down-payment to increase affordability (Phase 2)
FCF: How did you come up with BuyProperly?
Khushboo: I was struggling to invest my own savings of $30K last year, and I did not want to invest in the roller-coaster stock market. Real estate is a great asset, but I could not participate in it with such a low amount. Plus, having only recently finished paying off my student loan, and already under a mortgage for my personal residence, I was afraid to take on more debt.
FCF: What were the first 3 steps you took after you knew you wanted to pursue this idea?
1) Research: I spoke to a lot of people about the idea to gather feedback, searched the internet for what options the customer can potentially have, and how big the problem is (turns out it is a global problem).
2) Write a Press Release: I wrote down my vision for the product in the form of a mock Press Release in a newspaper (with date, location) and all Frequently Asked Questions I may get if I were to do a real press interview (something I learnt during my 5+ years at Amazon). This allowed me to get into my customers shoes to think what they would look for, and what problem am I really solving that can be captured in the headline.
3) Built a prototype/go- daddy website - and participated in Collision conference-getting to see real customer interaction. We had a huge positive response and had 100+ customers sign-up in one day but more importantly tons of questions and feedback before we built anything.
FCF: How did you meet your Co-Founder? What do you look for in a Co-Founder?
Khushboo: I met my co-founder at Amazon, where we had together launched a hazardous materials marketplace for Amazon and hence had gone through the entire journey of a business case, funding rejects, getting funded (yes- you need even within the company), building a small team, and then delivering on crazy tight timelines.
Choosing your co-founder is exactly like choosing a spouse. You need complementary skills, but also common values, and ideally, you should get to know each other well enough to know how to navigate through problems, difference. And, definitely have a Founders agreement detailing how each founder's roles and compensation might change under various scenarios before you start, so that even if you do part ways or things change within the startup, there are no hard feelings.
FCF: What advice do you have for other women who have a start-up idea or side project idea?
Khushboo: 1) Be very Stubborn on your Vision ( and tons of research early on helps build that confidence and get to the right vision) but be very Flexible on the execution (as new situations, gaps, opportunities would unfold as you start walking the path, but you may miss them if you are not open to various paths to get to your vision.)
2) Be ready to teach yourself new skills at a maniacal pace [ The latest topic I am learning about is building Sales funnels]
FCF: How can people get in touch with you?
Khushboo: Female CoFounder Slack
or Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I usually keep my Friday second-half free for giving back and connecting with people who need any help or advice from me - everything from resume/ interview tips/ b-school application to product management/ AI/tech roles and their requirements.
We at BuyProperly- believe in giving back- and have launched a monthly education series on investment. We have a combination of Professors and Industry experts come in for the talks. Anyone interested should sign-up with us for more info at https://buyproperly.ca/