Austin Allison sold his college startup for $120M, after raising just $14M. His latest venture has already brought $1.7B in capital onboard and is growing. He has raised funding from top-tier investors like Fortress Investment Group, Kathleen Hale, First Republic Bank, and Acrew Capital.
In this episode, you will learn:
- The difference between raising equity and debt
- Austin’s top advice before starting a business
- How Pacaso works
- A new way of thinking about business, the ‘infinite mindset’
For a winning deck, take a look at the pitch deck template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) that I recently covered. Thiel was the first angel investor in Facebook with a $500K check that turned into more than $1 billion in cash.
The Ultimate Guide To Pitch Decks
Moreover, I also provided a commentary on a pitch deck from an Uber competitor that has raised over $400 million (see it here).
Remember to unlock for free the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below.
About Austin Allison:
dotloop CEO and founder Austin Allison bought his first house at 17, became a licensed realtor at 18, sold residential real estate in the Cincinnati area, and practiced commercial real estate leasing throughout college.
After experiencing firsthand the frustrations and inefficiencies of endless paperwork in the real estate transaction process,Allison founded dotloop in 2009 (then age 24) to eliminate paperwork in real estate transactions.
dotloop is the largest network in real estate, where more than 900,000 professionals come together online to complete entire real estate transactions from start to close.
dotloop gives all parties involved (agents, buyers, sellers) the more collaborative, digital experience they expect in today’s real-time, connected world.
Allison has received several industry accolades, including being named to Forbes’ “30 Under 30,” one of 10 CEOs featured as “Ohio’s Most Talented Entrepreneurs” by CEO Magazine, Inman News’ 2012 “Innovator of the Year,” and “Executive of the Year” for the Best in Biz Awards 2012.
Allison appeared on the cover of the September 2012 issue of Entrepreneur Magazine, which highlighted five young entrepreneurs whose ideas changed their industries.
Austin was also included in the Swanepoel 200: The 200 Most Powerful People in Residential Real Estate in 2013. Austin is the co-author of Peoplework: How to Run a People-First Business in a Digital-First World.
Allison graduated summa cum laude from the University of Cincinnati with a Bachelor of Science in Real Estate Development.
See How I Can Help You With Your Fundraising Efforts
See How I Can Help You With Your Fundraising Efforts
Connect with Austin Allison:
Read the Full Transcription of the Interview:
Alejandro: Alrighty. Hello everyone, and welcome to the DealMakers show. Today I’m super, super excited about our guest that we’re going to have. He’s done it multiple times. Before actually getting into it, just a little plug here. For all of you that didn’t see this, I launched my latest book last week, Selling Your Startup, recommended by over 20 founders that have sold their companies for over $500 million and over a billion each. It is the roadmap for getting your company acquired. I think that people don’t really think about the end goal and reverse-back engineer the process to where you are today in order to take it to that level. It’s all online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, whatever you want. But anyhow, let’s talk about today’s guest, and he’s amazing. He’s done the full cycle, build fundraise, scale, and got his last company acquired too. What he’s doing now is remarkable. It’s a space that not a lot of people have tackled that much, so we’re going to be learning quite a bit—also raising equity and raising debt, and you name it. So without further ado, let’s welcome our guest today. Austin Allison, welcome to the show.
Austin Allison: Thank you, Alejandro. It’s great to be here.
Alejandro: Originally born in Cincinnati, Ohio. What a long way all the way to Napa, where you are now. Tell us about your upbringing there in Cincinnati. How was life growing up?
Austin Allison: Yeah, I was born and raised in Cincinnati. My dad was a carpenter. I mention that because it really introduced me to real estate and caused me to fall in love with this industry where I spent my career. I grew up with a hammer in my hand by the time I was three or four years old. By the time I was 17, I became a homeowner. I bought my first fixer-upper when I was 17 in my parents’ names, of course, because I wasn’t legally of age to be able to buy the home, but my money that I had saved for the down payment and all of that good stuff. I started selling real estate when I was 18. That was the start of what I would describe as my career in real estate entrepreneurship. I sold for about five or six years while I was going to college. I also went to undergrad for real estate development and architecture. Then I went on to law school after that, and in my first year of law school, I started my first company, which was called Dotloop.
Alejandro: Let’s talk about this drive. Where is this drive? Because starting to sell homes at 18, becoming a broker, as you were saying, it’s not the norm. So what do you think created this incredible ambition and this drive that you have?
Austin Allison: That’s a good question. For me, it just felt natural. I’ve always felt energy and ambition to do things and build things. Early in life, it started out with little businesses, such as the first business that I can remember was a birdhouse company I created. I can’t remember the age. I was like eight, nine, or ten, but I was really young. I remember my dad made a birdhouse for my mother with some scrap wood from one of his job sites. My mom really loved the birdhouse, and I just saw how the birdhouse lit up her eyes. Then I was inspired to start building birdhouses. So I asked my dad if I could use his extra wood and if he could teach me how to build a birdhouse. So I started building birdhouses, recruited some friends from the street to walk with me and ride bikes up and down the street and sell these birdhouses to our neighbors. That was one example of many examples that I could share that happened in my early years, where I always found energy in building things, working with people, and learning new skills. I think my best guess is that some of it is just hardwired into who you are. I would say the other thing is the people that you’re surrounded by. In my case, my dad was a carpenter, as I mentioned. As a self-employed carpenter, you’re always hustling. He always had to find his next job; he always has to figure out how to pay the next bill. He had to figure out how to keep his workers on payroll. He was always grinding and working on building the next thing, and I think that probably had a lot to do with me, as well, in the sense that that’s all I knew. I didn’t know that there was any other way.
Alejandro: In this case, you were really business-driven, so why law school. That’s just like so out of left field based on where you were coming from and also where you are now.
Austin Allison: Yeah. I would say there are a few things that have influenced and shaped my life in a really meaningful way. One is around following your passion. I’ve always been a big believer, and over time, as I’ve met mentors in my life, many of them have said, “Find a way to follow your passion in life, and everything else will take care of itself.” I’ve optimized my life around that, following things that I’m passionate about. There have been times in my life where I’d go through phases. There was a period in my life where I was into running marathons. That was a passion that consumed a lot of my time outside of family and work. I would say another thing that has shaped my life is the people that I’m surrounded by. This will get to the answer for your law school question. One of the people that I was influenced by early in my career was this guy named Dan, who was running a real estate company that I was working for at the time called Duke Realty. Dan was the leader of this Duke Realty office. He was 35 years old at the time. I was probably 20. I remember how everybody around the office just really respected Dan. Nobody ever questioned how he got into this big important role by the time he was 35. Everybody always said, “Wow. Dan is super smart. He went to law school.” That always stuck out to me that everybody associated Dan’s work ethic and his intelligence with law school. So I became curious about that, and I got to know Dan, and I said, “Dan, can you tell me about law school. You’re not practicing law. Why did you go?” He said, “Austin, think of it like academic boot camp. There’s nothing you can do from an education perspective to train yourself and your mind and develop the discipline and habits to be great at life and business and whatever it is that you want to pursue than law school.” So I went to law school for academic boot camp, mainly because I was inspired by Dan, and I wanted to make sure that I was investing in myself, in my career, to the fullest extent possible to set myself up for success. So I never planned on practicing law, even when I applied for law school. I only went to further develop my skills as a professional and as an individual.
Alejandro: So, let’s talk about Dotloop because while you were in law school, Dotloop, your first company, really came knocking. How was that process of really incubating the idea of Dotloop and bringing it to life?
Austin Allison: It happened almost like it was due to a process of evolution. It started as a side hustle where I was selling real estate at the time to pay my way through college. This was also true in law school. I was still selling real estate. I found myself feeling frustrated by the inefficiencies associated with real estate transactions because, at the time, digital signatures and electronic documents hadn’t taken off. Even popular services today like Dropbox and Google Drive were around, but they hadn’t really been adopted in a meaningful way. Real estate transactions were primarily paper-based. I wanted to solve that problem, so I started tinkering on it nights and weekends, and I eventually found a co-founder who had technical experience to help me build this software. He and I worked on it over a period of weeks and months. Eventually, it got to the point where it felt like we had something. It felt like we had a software that had the potential to solve a problem for the real estate industry and for consumers who were buying homes. Once we got to that point, we went out, again, on nights and weekends while I was working and going to law school. We tried to start selling the product to real estate brokerages and to trade associations. It got to a point where it was clear that if I was going to make this business work and if I was going to see this passion that I had through to reality, I had to go all-in. I couldn’t just be spending a couple of hours on nights and weekends working on this thing. So I went to my boss at the time at Duke Realty because I was very loyal to Duke Realty. They had been an amazing employer to me, had invested heavily in me as a co-op and young professional at the time. I went to them and said, “I’ve been working on this side project. I think it might have legs, but it needs a leader to go build this business. My loyalties are to you, Duke Realty, but I’m asking for a 30-day sabbatical off of work where I can go find a CEO to go run this business.” That’s what I said to my boss. He said, “Austin, would you mind showing me what you’ve built?” So I walk around his desk, and I showed him the software. At the end of it, he looks at me, and he says, “Austin, we appreciate how loyal you are to Duke. We really appreciate it. You’ve always got a job here if you ever want to come back, but you have to go pursue this dream. He said, “I see how passionate you are. Nobody’s going to be able to represent this company better than you. You have to go pursue this dream and, by the way, could I be your first investor? He became my first investor and is now one of my closest mentors and friends, and has invested in all the companies I have been affiliated with. So that’s how it came together.
Alejandro: Wow. That’s amazing that you were able to have someone like that as your first boss and then also as your first mentor. What ended up being the business model of Dotloop so that the people listening can understand what you guys were doing there?
Austin Allison: We’re a productivity software for real estate agents and real estate brokerages, meaning brokerages and agents buy the software so that they can be more efficient in the way that they do business. We make money as a monthly fee. It’s a Software as a Service. It was an amazing company. We had a really meaningful mission at the right time in the marketplace and an amazing team. That’s really what made it. We built the company over a period of six or seven years before we sold to Zillow. By the time I left, something like 50% of all transactions in the country were flowing through Dotloop. Tens and tens of almost $100 billion in real estate per month were being touched by these transactions that were being facilitated on Dotloop.
Austin Allison: We got to really big market share and became the leader in our space of residential real estate in the U.S. It wasn’t without a lot of challenges, though. It definitely was not an overnight success. There were a lot of lows and a lot of highs along the way.
Alejandro: Tell us about that moment because, talking about the lows, that moment where you had to let go of most of the company, and you had to max out on credit cards.
Austin Allison: Yeah. A lot of companies have these moments. You don’t always hear about those stories when you see the big outcomes. Most of these companies appear from the outside to be overnight successes, but very few are. I would say that one of the lowest of lows, and the one you’re alluding to, there was a moment at Dotloop before we had found a strong product/market fit where we ran out of money. We had hired a lot of people, many who were my personal friends at this point. We ran out of money; we had depleted my credit cards and maxed out my savings, which was not much at the time. It got to the point where we were literally out of money, so I had to sit in front of the company on the day when we couldn’t make payroll and let half of the company go. The other half of the company had to be comfortable not taking a salary until we figured out how to get some more money into the company. So that’s a really bad day when you mess with people’s lives like that, and as CEO, it’s your responsibility. Ultimately, we’re all in it together, but that’s one of the many jobs that the CEO has is to make sure the company is being responsible and is financed. That felt bad. It felt really bad. I knew from that moment on I was never going to make that mistake again because it just didn’t feel good.
Alejandro: Absolutely. When you have half of the company leaving, and then the other half of the company staying, how did you deal with or minimize the impact on culture?
Austin Allison: Well, you know, culture is just so a good culture. It’s so deeply rooted into the DNA of the company and the people of that company that a great culture really shines during the lowest of lows. It’s not like culture is just five values that you put up on the wall and use as lip service. Culture is what defines the character of the company. In our case, we had built a really strong culture. We were all aligned; we had a bunch of really smart people who were all passionate and aligned around the mission of the company, which was about helping people work better together who were all totally bought in and had co-authored the values of the company. Those things bond companies together in moments of low. I think it was just a function of having a good culture and allowing the good culture and clear set of values and alignment around the mission to be able to really shine in that low point.
Alejandro: Obviously, the outcome was fantastic because Zillow ended up acquiring the company for a reported $120 million. Here, up until the transaction, you guys had raised about $14 million, and in essence, you bootstrapped a little bit of it, and then you ended up injecting the capital. So what would you say prompted you to raise money?
Austin Allison: Well, it usually takes money to move fast and to create a category and build a national business. Scale is just hard. It costs money to hire people. It costs money to build software and invest in the scale and the security and all the other stuff that comes with it. It just takes money if you want to move fast. Now, there’s a way to go about it, where it’s less capital, which is to slow down the rate at which you grow. But there are certain types of businesses, and Dotloop was one of those businesses where you need to get to a certain scale for the flywheel to start turning. In Dotloop’s case, the real importance of scale was the fact that Dotloop was in the center of the way that real estate agents work together. If you were selling a house, and I was representing a buyer on a home, we would both use Dotloop software to get that deal done. In order for the software to work, it had to be widely accepted by real estate agents on both sides of the transaction. To introduce a product to an entire industry across an entire country in a short period of time takes money. So that’s why we raised money because it was the right thing to do in the context of fulfilling the mission. In terms of how we raised, we raised in a somewhat nontraditional way in the sense that we raised a bunch of small checks along the way. Our first check was $130,000. Then we did a few more of those, and then we had raised $600,000. Then we do a few more of those, and before you know it, over a period of a couple of years, we had raised a few million. It wasn’t actually until the business was four years old that we did our Series A with a traditional venture investor that was based in San Francisco called Trinity. At that point in time, Trinity came in with $9 million, the Trinity Investment Company. That was four years later when the company was at a $4 million run rate and actually profitable, believe it or not, with customers in a lot of different parts.
Alejandro: That’s amazing. Tell us about the process of Zillow acquiring Dotloop. How amazing. So how did that happen?
Austin Allison: The first thing that I should start with when you say, “How amazing” is when I first started the process, I actually thought about selling as a failure. My vision was always to build a company that we would take public, that would withstand and endure the test of time on its own as an independent business. I viewed selling like a sign that you didn’t make it, that you had to sell because you couldn’t get there on your own. So it took me a while to adjust to the idea of selling. It wasn’t something that I was excited about doing. What I ultimately figured out, and now in hindsight, it’s all very clear to me. But, in the moment, when you’re committed and this company is like your sense of identity, and you’re so passionate about the mission that the thought of allowing it to go to somebody else is pretty hard. But ultimately, what I concluded is that we would be able to fulfill on the Dotloop mission in a bigger and better way if we were part of Zillow because they had more resources, access to more real estate agents, and listings, a bunch of really smart people. I just had to go through the calculus of being part of Zillow would be better for the mission of the company, and what’s better for the mission of the company is better for everybody and independent of what I think. When I went through that exercise and finally became open to selling to Zillow, the way that the process happened, tactically speaking is, it started with just a relationship. I actually met several of the Zillow leaders, including Spencer, who was the CEO and who is now my co-founder at Pacaso. I met Spencer years before we sold to Zillow. I’d reach out to him. We’d meet up at conferences. I’d update him on the business. I did that not just with Spencer but with the other executives at Zillow who, still to this day, I respect to the highest degree as industry leaders. I think building that relationship over time really helped both parties to see the potential alignment between these two companies. That transitioned into a business development conversation, and eventually, that transitioned to a conversation about being part of Zillow. Then, after that, it happened quickly.
Alejandro: Yeah, I know. Of course. After the transaction, you were at Zillow for four years. Then you decided to take a year off to travel a little bit. What did you do during that year off because eventually, that year off was very productive? You came up with the idea of Pacaso, so what were you doing there, and then tell us about Pacaso coming into the picture.
Austin Allison: Yeah, you bet. I stayed on at Zillow for four years to make sure that the integration was a huge success for the employees, but also for Zillow and for Dotloop. Once that job was done, it was time for me to turn the page to a new chapter. I knew I wanted to start another company, but I thought that this might be one moment in my life, potentially the only moment in my life where I had the time and the money and the freedom to take a little bit of time off because, with my next company, which we’ll talk about here in a second, I wanted to create a company that was going to be my lifetime company—the thing that I am most passionate about that I spend the rest of my life on. I didn’t want to do another company and then repeat the process. I wanted to find the thing I was the most passionate about and work over the period of my life to fulfill on that mission. This was a window of opportunity for me to take some time off. So I did that. My wife and I went and lived in Europe, primarily in Italy, for three months. We learned to speak Italian during that period. I pursued some hobbies that had always been on my bucket list, like some car racing and things that are not very practical but pie in the sky—when you’re a little kid, you dream of doing these kinds of things. One of the big ways that I spent my time, though, was thinking about what I wanted to do next. Given that I wanted to spend the rest of my life on this next business, I wanted to be very, very thoughtful about the business that I was going to create. What kept surfacing for me as I was going through this exercise, this experience that I had at the time, I guess, was like five or six years prior, now eight years ago, which was when my wife and I became second homeowners in Lake Tahoe. Prior to this moment, my wife and I were like most families who had dreamed of owning a second home but couldn’t afford one. We didn’t grow up with extra money. We could never have thought about having a second home as a family because they’re expensive and they’re highly underutilized. Most second homes are only used five weeks a year. But we were able to save enough money at the time in 2014 to put a down payment on a second home, and we became second homeowners, and it fundamentally changed our lives. It turned the page to this new chapter, which you can describe as our second life if you will. It’s not like we’re on vacation when we go to our second home. We’re just at this other life that we have in Lake Tahoe, where we’re part of the community. We have some of our best friends living in Tahoe. We are super loyal and frequent the local restaurants with owners we now know and are friends with. It became a special part of our lives, and I realized how special it was, but also out of reach it was, and I wanted to find a way to change that. I wanted to find a way to empower more families to realize their dream of second-home ownership and do it in a socially responsible way because empty second homes, which is the norm, are bad for everybody. It’s bad for the environment; it’s bad for local communities; it’s bad for housing affordability, so I wanted to find a way to connect people to empty homes so that more people could live in a rich life.
Alejandro: Obviously, this took some time to incubate. At what point do you say, “This is very interesting. This is the type of company that I’m going to be able to dedicate the rest of my life to.” What were some of the immediate steps that you took, and then also, how did you bring Spencer onboard?
Austin Allison: To answer the first question around when I knew, I just knew when I was on this little sabbatical. I kept finding myself waking up energized about this idea. In the house where we stayed in Italy, you know those paper—the big post-it notes that you get, and you post them on the wall, and you can use them as a whiteboard. I had the whole wall lined with these post-it notes. It was like this analysis that I had been working on for months and months. Every morning I would wake up energized about this idea. That’s when I knew that it was the one. I cared so deeply about empowering people to realize their dreams and so deeply about solving this underutilization problem because we’ve got a housing crisis in the world that’s largely fueled by lack of supply, so I wanted to make better use of empty homes. I just knew in my gut that it was the one. In terms of what happened next and how I engaged Spencer, Spencer was part of this process with me because he and I, dating back many, many years even before I joined Zillow, always connected with one another and aligned in the way we thought about life and company-building. We were both very mission-oriented. We were both very people-first and passionate about servant leadership. He was at a point in his career where he’s ten years or so ahead of me and has achieved a great deal of success and has a lot of knowledge and experience that I can benefit from with him as my mentor. I had sort of a little more youth and hunger and appetite to go run through walls every morning for a living. So we were a good match in that respect. We had the same values. We were at the right stage in our mutual lives to be able to work on a company in this way where he’s chairman. He’s not active in the business as an executive day-to-day, but he’s a very active chairman, and I’m CEO. We started working on ideas together pretty much after we both left Zillow, and we both left independently for different reasons, but we started working on ideas. This was my idea, and he had a similar idea that was related to underutilization, but it was in a slightly different industry. But the two things that we both connected on is the power of second home ownership because he grew up with second homes, so he got to experience just how meaningful they are to his family, but also underutilization. We were both super passionate about making better use of space. It’s bad for the world for space to be underutilized, and we wanted to solve that problem. So we started working on it and spent a lot of time. Long before we started the company, we spent that year thinking and planning for the business, doing a lot of research, talking to a lot of prospective customers, thinking about who we were going to attract to our team. By the time we were ready to actually start the business at the beginning of 2020, we had a lot of groundwork laid, and we knew who we wanted to add to the founding team. We knew what markets we wanted to start in. We had done a lot of groundwork, and that enabled us to hit the ground running when we officially started the company.
Alejandro: Tell us about the business model. How do you guys make money with Pacaso? How does it work?
Austin Allison: It’s very simple. We provide a platform that empowers people to co-own homes together so you can buy one-eighth or one-quarter of a second home. We manage all the details. The way we make money is twofold. We have a one-time fee that we call the service fee that’s baked into every share price. If you buy a Pacaso for $500,000, for example, about 10% of that Pacaso goes to our company as a service fee. The second way that we make money is we manage the home. We’re basically a property manager. We’re like a tech-enabled property manager, I guess, is a really simplistic way to put it. We charge service fees for that management process on an ongoing basis as well.
Alejandro: Got it. For this, you guys have raised quite a bit of money. I think it’s like 1.7 billion between debt and equity and on the equity side about $90 million. That’s a lot of zeros, Austin, so how has this process of raising money been for Pacaso because it’s not the traditional route of you raise equity money and then you deploy on operations. Obviously, you have all these different things that you need to cover, which you’re doing with raising the debt. Tell us about this process, and what is the difference between raising for equity or raising for debt?
Austin Allison: As a general rule, I’ll say my experience, not independent of Pacaso, which I’ll get to. But setting Pacaso aside, in general, my experience has been that fundraising is generally pretty difficult, particularly for first-time entrepreneurs. When we were raising for Dotloop, it was a total grind. We were always in fundraising mode, and it was always a grind. The Pacaso experience has been very different than that, and I think largely because we have a track record. Everybody on the executive team has been a public company executive. Spencer and I have created and exited a couple of companies, and we’ve got a broader network now than we had before. The Pacaso fundraising experience has been very smooth. We’ve been able to raise equity quickly every single time at fair prices, and I think it’s largely because we have a really big opportunity, a really high-quality team, and we’ve been able to execute very quickly and deliver rapid growth and strong unit economics in a very short period of time. In terms of the debt side, this is a newer world for me, the debt piece. But it’s interesting, and it’s also been—I won’t say easy. It’s real work. It requires a lot of conversations and a lot of spreadsheets and presentations to investment committees and stuff like that. But there’s this whole world out there of debt investors. Basically, they’re underwriting your business model. So you have to figure out, depending on who you’re talking to and how they underwrite the credit that they’re providing. You just have to work with them to get them comfortable with your model. We started out. We now have a combination of facilities. We’ve got a couple of different debt partners, and you’re constantly evaluating those facilities and upgrading them as the company gets more mature, and the track record becomes larger, you’re able to attract better debt at better terms and lower cost over time, so it’s this constant process.
Alejandro: How big is Pacaso today for the people that are listening? Is there anything that you can share in terms of number of employees or anything like that?
Austin Allison: Yeah. We’re growing super-fast, so these numbers change radically from quarter to quarter, but right now, we’re about 120 people on the team. We started the year six or seven months ago with 30. So we’ve gone from 30 to 120 or so in seven months. We’re in over 20 destinations around the U.S., and we’re actively working on expanding internationally, starting with Europe, and then Mexico and the Caribbean will follow shortly thereafter. We’ve got several million users that visit our website and tens of thousands of buyers who we’re working with about buying Pacaso, so it’s growing super-fast. But the days are very early. This is a huge, huge market, and we’re in the very early days of what I hope will be a multi-decade enduring business that we build.
Alejandro: As we’re thinking about the business down the line, imagine that you go to sleep tonight and you wake up in a world where the vision of Pacaso is fully realized. What does that world look like?
Austin Allison: The vision of Pacaso will never be fully realized because we embrace at the company what we call an infinite mindset. There’s a book that I would recommend for everybody that was referred to me by one of our investors, Howard Shultz. The book is called The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek.
Austin Allison: In The Infinite Game, they talk about having an infinite mindset, which basically means that you don’t put a time horizon on your thinking. A normal company that thinks—I guess normal companies think short-term, but good companies think long-term. They think in terms of 10-20 years from now, or at least five to ten years from now. We think indefinitely, meaning we want this business to last forever in a theoretical sense—certainly not in my lifetime we’re not going to be done enriching people’s lives and empowering more people to realize their second homeownership dream. There’s always work to be done. The population is growing. The world is evolving, and we will constantly pursue the mission, which is about enriching as many lives as possible. Right now, we’re doing that through luxury second-home markets, but some day, we hope to enter markets that are a bit less luxury but still desirable for second-home buyers. Like, I’m from Cincinnati, Ohio, as we talked about. Around Cincinnati, there’s a lot of lake towns that are very important to the people who live in Cincinnati that you’ve probably never heard of because they’re regionally relevant but not nationally relevant. Someday, we want Pacaso to be available in those towns as well. Not just the Napa’s and Malibu’s and Miami’s of the world, but the places that are relevant and accessible to all people around the country and eventually around the world. We have a lot of work to do. I don’t think we’ll ever be done, but that’s part of the fun. It’s like we’re able to pursue something that we really believe in, make a positive impact on people’s lives, and a positive impact on the communities where our homes exist, which is great, and it is sort of an infinite amount of work to be done.
Alejandro: I love the infinite mindset. Let’s say that we now put you into a time machine, and we bring you back in time, perhaps during that time when you were still in law school wondering about a world where you could build your own business and put it out to the world to see, and you had the opportunity of having a chat with your younger self, with that younger Austin in law school, and you’re able to give your younger self one piece of business advice before launching a company, what would that be and why given what you know now?
Austin Allison: I couldn’t narrow it down to one. I’d have to narrow it down to two, which are: follow your passion. This life is short, at least here on earth, and it goes fast, so you might as well spend it on what you love, so that’s definitely important. I wouldn’t pursue anything, whether it’s a company you’re building or a job that you’re taking unless you’re passionate about it, and following your passion leads to better work and better results, by the way. So there is a benefit there beyond just fulfillment and getting the most out of life. The second thing is surrounding yourself with the best possible people that you can because nobody succeeds alone—nobody, at least that I’m aware of. I’ve never seen it happen. People succeed together. The bigger the mission, the bigger the opportunity, the more great people it takes. So you cannot possibly surround yourself with great people, and we were fortunate to do that at Dotloop, but because we were just getting started, it happened over time. It’s not like when you’re a first-time entrepreneur; you can’t attract Spencer Rascoff to be your co-founder, for example. So you have to work up to it. And just like Spencer, he had to work up to where he is now. It’s not like he started as the CEO of Zillow. He started as an analyst at Goldman. So you have to work up to it, but you can always surround yourself with great people, and there’s no better time to start that than now.
Alejandro: Amazing. For the people that are listening, Austin, what is the best way for them to reach out and say hi?
Austin Allison: You can reach me at [email protected] I’m also on Twitter—I’m not super active. Or Instagram, and my handles are @GAustinAllison. Thank you all for listening, and please definitely reach out.
Alejandro: Amazing. Thank you so much for being on the DealMakers show, Austin.
Austin Allison: Thank you. Take care.
* * *
If you like the show, make sure that you hit that subscribe button. If you can leave a review as well, that would be fantastic. And if you got any value either from this episode or from the show itself, share it with a friend. Perhaps they will also appreciate it. Also, remember, if you need any help, whether it is with your fundraising efforts or with selling your business, you can reach me at [email protected].