Spotlight Interview: Vishu Ramanathan/ CEO, Buildout Inc.

LDCRE is pleased to announce its listing syndication partnership with Buildout! Buildout is a Commercial Real Estate marketing and document creation platform designed to unburden commercial real estate brokers of much of the administrative work that goes into creating marketing materials and listing properties on the broker’s website, as well as on third party websites. This partnership enables Buildout clients to easily post their listings and updates on LDCRE’s Free Commercial Real Estate Listing Distribution Platform via Buildout.


LD: What career path did you want to take when you were in college?

VR: I wasn’t a career-oriented kid. I wanted to hang out and play in a band. I studied physics in college because I liked physics, not because I thought it would get me a job.

When I graduated, I could code and anyone who could code got sucked up into this whirlwind of new development that was happening, so that’s where I got my first opportunity.

What really clicked for me was the first time I did something that a customer noticed and they gave me an “atta boy” in an email to my boss. That customer appreciation was like crack to me and it’s what I’ve been pursuing ever since. What can we do that actually helps people?


LD: What events in your career path brought you to your current position as the CEO of Buildout?

VR: Software developers have a unique opportunity to be entrepreneurs, because we don’t need a lot of up-front investment to build a business. My partner and I wanted to seize this opportunity and basically just got moving, building our business as we went.

When you’re a founder “becoming CEO” is less of an accomplishment than building a team to be CEO of. In this regard I think the most important thing has been creating a working environment where people can take chances and know they can count on each other if they ever need a teammate.


LD: What lead you to develop Buildout and focus in the Commercial Real Estate Technology Sector”

VR: Commercial Real Estate is a great market to work in. It’s a fairly specific niche, so there’s a huge need for specific solutions. And we find the people are really great because they’re entrepreneurial and relationship oriented.


LD: Can you tell us what your “average” workweek is like?

VR: I go bowling on Monday nights during the winter. I started that 16 years ago when I got married. It’s great because it creates a guaranteed time for me to relax and hang out with my friends. In the summer, I play 16” softball once or twice a week. I like to say that you’re only thinking about one thing when there’s a ball coming at your face. Other than that I spend most of my time either working or hanging out with friends and family trying to pretend I’m not thinking about work.


LD: When compared to other industries the Commercial Real Estate Sector has been slow to adapt to technology. What are your thoughts on why the Commercial Real Estate Sector has been slow to embrace technology?

VR: I don’t buy into this idea that CRE professionals are slow to embrace technology. Our experience has really been the opposite – people are excited to work with Buildout as soon as they see the potential.

I think if you look at the tech available in CRE compared to other industries it just hasn’t been as good. CRE professionals live and die by their own production and they don’t have time to mess around with a half-baked technology that doesn’t actually make their lives easier or more efficient.

So it’s not that they are reluctant to embrace technology, it’s that the quality of solutions haven’t been worth adopting. The onus is on us as technology providers to make something people want to use.


LD: Can you explain Buildout’s platform and the benefits it brings to its clients?

VR: Buildout is marketing software built specifically for CRE brokerages. We automated the document creation process, so brokers and support staff can create fully branded documents like brochures, OMs, and proposals in minutes. We work with brokerages to set up their custom brand blueprints, so none of the documents are generic templates.

We also streamlined the listing process–instantly post listing on 12 different listing sites, send full HTML marketing emails, and automatically add listing to your company site, where you can track leads and execute electronic CAs.

The platform was built around the ways our customers actually work. Instead of disrupting their workday with a new piece of technology, Buildout fits right into their daily lives. It enables our customers to save time and focus on closing deals and growing their business.


LD: Everyone has a few transactions or milestones that stand out in their careers.  What is one milestone thus far in your career that stands out to you and what is the significance to it?

VR: When we started working on Buildout we weren’t making any money from it. We were finding other ways to feed our families and creating a product that was starting to get a little traction. The most significant milestone was when we finally got to a point where the product itself was Ramen profitable. It really changed the game.


LD: What advice have you received that has been instrumental in your success?

VR: 3 lessons that I try to pass on are 1) you might as well have a good relationship with your customers. 2) It’s always worth it to take a little longer and completely learn everything and 3) If people are freaking out just stay chill and take care of the problem.

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