10 Feb 2020 Spotlight on REBCA
Describe your company and its product.
REBCA is a Proptech startup based out of Vancouver. We are a team of young passionate individuals dedicated to improving the way the real estate industry functions. Our product is designed to allow real estate agents to streamline the home purchasing process. By providing a robust platform in which to better manage a purchasing agent’s home showings with their buyers, we allow them to free up valuable time and effort so that they can focus on what matters, their clients.
What year did your company start?
Which city (or cities) are you located?
Describe your company culture in three words.
Focused, Fun, Family
How do you celebrate company or employee wins?
We try and do shoutouts to the team whenever accomplishments are achieved. We also celebrate these at our monthly company meetings. We held our first annual Rebbies, where we gave out trophies to our team.
What is the problem that you are trying to solve?
The biggest problem we are trying to solve is that the current process for real estate agents to find the perfect home for their clients is tedious and cumbersome. They often have to go to multiple platforms such as MLS listing sites and CRM databases to get the necessary information to the buyers. They also often use multiple channels of communication, such as email, text or instant messaging to connect with their clients, which can cause confusion and miscommunications. We also aim to address the archaic method of paper feature sheets by providing them in a fully digital format.
What is your biggest milestone to date?
We have recently launched our beta and currently in the process of gathering crucial feedback for launch.
What is your biggest challenge?
There is a perception in the real estate industry, specifically with agents that Proptech is aimed at eventually replacing them. This is not our view. REBCA believes that the service provided by real estate agents will never be replaced by technology, but in fact, can greatly enhance them. Our biggest challenge will be to prove that our app was truly designed to improve and elevate an agent’s level of service.
What is your motto?
“Tech will never replace Realtors, but Realtors that utilize tech will.”
How are you making an impact?
Our product was born out of a necessity recognized by one of our co-founders who have been in the real estate industry for many years. He has been overseeing the development every step of the way, ensuring that we are constantly asking the question, “how does this help agents?”. We believe that by keeping focused on addressing their key pain points, we will ultimately improve the way home purchases are conducted, not just for agents but for their buyers as well.
What is your hope for the future of tech in BC?
We already have such a full appreciation of the massive amount of talent and ideas in BC’s tech industry today. Our hope is that one day the rest of the world will take notice and realize what an amazing place this is for tech.
Lightning Round with Sam Lui, Founder & CEO of REBCA
What excites you about your job?
I think the most exciting moments I have at work happens during the 1:1s I have with my team. Nothing beats the sense of accomplishment and joy I get when my team tells me they feel motivated at work, they love working with their coworkers, they are challenged and engaged with their work. I am really proud of the culture and relationships we have in our company; Play hard, work hard, and love one another.
What was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome?
We are a very young team. And while we are young, energetic, and full of passion, we are also very aware of the difficulties that can come up due to our relative inexperience as a team. Our inexperience means gaps in our knowledge and missing tools in our tool belts. So we have to make the best use of our strengths to compensate for our weaknesses. We make sure that we always actively support and contribute to each other’s success, always be hungry to learn and grow ourselves, stay humble and seek for advice and inspirations wherever possible, never settle and never let ourselves be complacent, and, last but definitely not least, dream big and shoot for the stars.
If you can give advice to your 20 year-old self, what would you say?
I grew up as a huge perfectionist and an analyst. I used to believe that there is one perfect solution to every situation and I expected myself to be able to find and execute on it. However, from experience and growth, I have learned that is simply not true and that my hesitation to perform any imperfect solution is my ultimate excuse for inaction and procrastination. So my advice to my 20 year old would be to “stop wasting time thinking about the perfect solution, but execute more good solutions.”
What are your pet peeves?
I think my biggest pet peeve is hearing people say things like “this is who I am” or “if I change, I am no longer me”. It’s quite upsetting for me when I come across clearly intelligent and talented people who are limiting themselves because of beliefs like that.
Words of wisdom to other tech CEOs or founders?
Surround yourself with people who pushes you to become better. Never underestimate the importance of having a good support system around you. The journey of running a startup is tough and there are tons of ups and downs. You will need people who can help lift you back up on days where you are down and vulnerable. And on your good days, you will want to have people who will celebrate your successes with you. These people will fuel you with good energy and keep you going even when facing the biggest challenges. However, you must remember that all relationships are mutual. You have to remember to give back and support your people. You get what you give.
Favourite city you visited?
San Francisco. This was the first time I have gone on a trip with a girlfriend (who is now my wife), and it was just so much fun and carefree. Also, I have taken a number of self-development courses that are headquartered in that area, so every time I flew in and out of the San Francisco airport, I always experienced great growth. Lots of really great memories in that city.
What is your formula for success?
Integrity + Accountability + Vulnerability = Success. Integrity is one of the most important values that determines character, and character dictates actions, actions create results. You will inevitably go through testing moments where things will get rough. You will be tempted to cut corners or make decisions that you will ultimately regret. Your integrity helps keep you in check and stay the course even through the stormy days. Being accountable means being able to answer and justify your actions or decisions. Always question your own actions and decisions, so you are clear that what you are doing is still relevant and appropriate in the ever-changing world. Vulnerability. I started my journey thinking that a leader should always only show his strong confident side. What I realized is that the “invulnerability” builds a wall and weakens transparency in the organization. Opening up and sharing vulnerability are great ways to build trust, culture, and strong bonds in the organization.
Name one book that everyone should read.
The Gift of Imperfection by Brene Brown is definitely one of my favorites in recent years. It brought me much more clarity and awareness of my perfectionism and actually how detrimental it may have been in my life.
How do you decompress?
I am a big gamer, especially for strategy or resource-management games. I love that it helps my brain going and keeps training my analytical side. It’s amazing how often I come up with new work ideas while I am in a gaming session. Plus, it’s a lot of fun!
The Greatest Showman. First of all, Hugh Jackman, absolutely amazing. The songs and performances are great. But aside from all that, the movie just resonated with me on so many different levels. I could relate to a lot of the emotional struggles that the characters experienced. It helped me see my own struggles in a different light and gained clarity in my own life. My favorite scene, in particular, is the one with the song “From Now On”.