Stanford University is well known as a thriving hub of innovation and knowledge for the country’s brightest minds. In light of this, it is probably no surprise that this is the birthplace for many great startup ideas and networking opportunities. One of the most recent examples of this was the story behind Landis. The product of entrepreneurs Tom Petit and Cyril Berdugo, Landis is a platform that leverages extensive property data and machine learning to match owners of single-family homes with large real estate investors to create win-win transactions for both buyers and sellers.
In a recent interview with the pair of co-founders, it became apparent that their combined interest in real estate and data science could serve to fill a large gap within the real estate industry. The pair first met two years ago at Stanford Business school while studying for an MBA. Petit, a Mathematician who graduated with a first from Cambridge and had experience at Airbnb working in data science, along with Berdugo, an experienced real estate entrepreneur with a long list of connection within the industry who has also featured in Forbes 30 Under 30, came up with the idea of Landis.
Berdugo told me that the idea came about when dealing with real estate agents. He relied on them for deals but didn’t want to fully rely on them so he sat down with brokers he liked and explained what he wanted to invest in using data based on what he had bought before and what he wanted in the future. He quickly realized that data science was solving a lot of his problems, this allowed him to close three times as many deals within one year with data science, compared with the year before without the help of data. When the pair met, they brainstormed ideas and Tom came up with fantastic data science applications, pressing algorithms and matching algorithms. This is what ultimately became Landis.
When asked about how they developed the platform and what feedback they have received, Berdugo was quick to point out that customer feedback had been essential in the development process. As ‘Stanford kids’ they believe strongly in the lean startup model so they always go to their users for feedback. Initially, they spoke with 10 buyers every day for the first few months to build the platform to ensure the best possible user experience. This pragmatic approach has resulted in plenty of successes for the platform. They tell me that they now have 30 of the biggest single-family rental owners in the US on the site with a total of $200 billion in assets, which was also thanks to Cyril’s networking skills and contacts, resulting in better growth than expected.
The current situation is very promising, and the pair plan to expand their opportunities in the near future and by mid-2019 they hope to be licensed in 20 states as their team grows. The pair also discussed their plans for the platform stating that single-family homes will be the focus for the next 18 months but they intend to branch out into multi-family homes as well. This is because they behave in the same fashion as single family homes, they can be bought in bulk, they don’t cost a fortune, and brokers in this space really suck. They tell me they have started aggregating the data of single-family homes already to prepare for this next step, so it should be an easy transition.
Evidently, this pair is onto something, having found a gap in the market which is desperate to be filled. With the combined skill set of real estate knowledge and connections mixed with a deep understanding of data science, these two young entrepreneurs are on a clear path to success while making a name for themselves and their business.