How to go from writing ringtone apps to getting Series-A funded

3-minute read

“Confessions of CEOs” is a series on how business owners are changing the service landscape. Today, we’re chatting with Martin Mao, co-founder and CEO of Chronosphere, a big data monitoring solution targeting large enterprise. He’s taken time out to share how to get Series-A funded and then succeed as a VC-backed entrepreneur.

Martin Mao, CEO of Chronosphere. Photo Credit: Beaze, a B2B vendor procurement platform for service providers.
Martin Mao, CEO of Chronosphere. Photo Credit: Beaze

So, Why Chronosphere?

I was working with my co-founder Rob Skillington at Uber pre-IPO on M3, an open-source distributed metrics platform. We figured out that most platforms available on the market at the time were unable to scale cost-effectively nor reliably. So, we decided to build it ourselves piece-by-piece and we shared it with the world while doing so. From there, we realized that most enterprises are just as demanding as Uber when it comes to metrics and that they needed better monitoring and overall reliability. That was how Chronosphere was born. 

Wait, is that an Aussie accent we detect?

Yeah, I was born in Shanghai but I grew up in Sydney, Australia. Growing up in Australia was great. They have beautiful beaches and walking trails and everyone is so laid back over there. It’s also a very multicultural country, so growing up there teaches you to be accepting and to treat everyone equally.

How did you break into software?

My first foray into software was a high school programming competition. I had no idea how to write code, but my friend did and he needed someone to help him figure out some of the algorithms. He ended up teaching me how to code and we ended up winning a scholarship to study Software Engineering at the local university.

Then, back in 2008, near the end of my college studies, Apple finally launched the iPhone in Australia. It was a massive deal to me because I could write an app, publish it and then reach millions of people around the world. It was so different; I decided to write a bunch. One app that was memorable for me was the one I wrote to generate ringtones. It would take a song from iTunes and create a ringtone. Being a poor student, it seemed ridiculous to pay for a song twice (once for the song itself, the second time for a shortened ringtone version).

What was it like getting funded by a VC?

Exhilarating yet terrifying. Rob and I knew we had to do something because of the traction M3 was receiving in open source. The real question was, could we build a real business around open-source technology that didn’t just end up as enterprise support? We wanted to retain our ability to innovate and so wanted to focus on building the perfect product for the needs of many. It took four to five months to complete market research in order to see that there was a genuine gap in the market. We wanted to differentiate ourselves and ensure we delivered a product that enterprises would care about – one that was not only more scalable, performant and reliable, but also more cost-efficient than our competitors.

We ended up with a 60-80 page business plan (which in retrospect was probably overkill). I don’t think many VCs expect such extensive research for an early-stage company, but it was more to convince ourselves we were making a good bet rather than to convince them. We didn’t have the budget to purchase market research, so we were leveraging the research our competitors have published as well as public documentation such as S-1 filings.

We started by raising a small pre-seed round with a few independent angel investors, before raising a Series-A led by Greylock when we needed to expand the team.

How has it been pursuing enterprise customers?

Surprisingly good. Our customers have been quite supportive of the product and company we’re trying to build. They know we’re still early, but the differentiators are valuable enough that they decide to switch over from competitor products. The fact that we have solved the problem before at Uber definitely helps as the customers are not just buying a monitoring product, but also the experience and expertise of the team.

Any key lessons learned up until now?

1. Business plans change. Our original plan doesn’t even closely resemble what we’re doing now. Our financials and projections went out of the window after a month or so of starting. We don’t regret doing it though, it was good to go through the exercise and while we knew the plan would change, all the competitor and market research remains valid.

2. Only talk to VCs when you’re ready. When a few major VC firms first contacted us, we were not prepared and so came off as “rookies”. It’s better to hold off on those conversations until you are ready.

3. Use the time before competitors know about you wisely. Once they understand what you’re doing, they’re going to react, so it’s critical to figure out your differentiators and how your product is going to compete before you announce anything.

Have there been any partners to help you get to where you are today?

Yes, it’s been a very pleasant surprise to see how supportive the tech start-up industry has and continues to be. Some of our best partners have been our pre-seed investors: one has been our primary recruiting resource while others have given valuable insights and advice. 

They have also introduced us to other founders, who have been very helpful as well. Most of these folks are super busy but will take the time to help. Many of them view it as paying it forward for the help they received when they were getting started.

Tell us about how you give back and why that’s so important?

For the last ten years, I’ve been supporting ChildFund Australia. This organization works to reduce poverty for children in developing communities in countries including Uganda and Kenya. When you donate, they distribute those funds to support the whole community surrounding that child. I’ve been sponsoring a boy named Ashiraf since he was six years old. This organization is important because it gives people an opportunity to give back in such a direct way that isn’t as possible with many other organizations.

What words of wisdom can you share?

Fire yourself whenever possible. By this, I mean always prioritize; if any given task is taking up more than 20 hours of your time per week, it’s time to start looking for someone smarter and more suited to that task than you. As an entrepreneur, your to-do list is perpetually growing and you need to constantly shuffle things around knowing that many tasks won’t get the attention it requires. Find the right people to help you so that things don’t just get dropped on the ground. 

Also, make sure you have a great support network. For me, I’m most grateful for my wife, Wendi. I couldn’t possibly be doing a startup without a supportive partner like her. She’s taking care of 3 kids – our firstborn, our pup Pepper and me. 🙂 Because of her, I’m able to survive the entrepreneur life and co-lead the organization’s brilliant team with Rob. 

What’s it like being a working parent?

I’m more sleep-deprived than I’ve ever been before 🙂 It’s tough juggling a start-up and a newborn child because there is even less time and even more things to do, but it’s worth it. Again, it wouldn’t be possible without a great support network and when I’m at home, I prioritize time with my family above all else. 

Being in the internet age, everything we say or do can live on the internet forever as a record of us, a record that our children and grandchildren will use someday to learn more about us. This reminds me to set the best example I can for my son every day. I also want him to see that there are many paths and choices in one’s career and that you don’t have to follow the traditional 9-5 path taken by the majority of people.

When all is said and done, what do you hope for Chronosphere to achieve?

Chronosphere has so much potential – we’ve put together a fantastic team and we’re building game-changing software that has already been proven at the largest scales in the world. I hope we continue to execute and fulfill that potential by delivering products that make an impact on enterprises and help run with greater reliability as they scale up.

Chronosphere is a preferred partner on Beaze Beta.

Use poker and piano to read clients

3-minute read

“Confessions of CEOs” is a series on how the leaders of vendor companies are changing the service landscape. Today, we’re chatting with the co-owners of CMIT Solutions of Bothell & Renton, a Microsoft Silver Partner in managed IT services. This power couple, Michel Abraham (President) and Amal Alissa (Vice-President) took some time out to talk about tackling diversity in B2B.

CMIT Solutions of North Seattle, Bothell, Lynnwood, Sammamish, Issaquah and Redmond. Beaze, an IT vendor procurement marketplace.
From left to right: Michel Abraham and Amal Alissa from CMIT Solutions North Seattle. Photo Credit: Beaze

So, Why CMIT Solutions?

Amal: We both worked at Microsoft for most of our professional lives. We had so many friends who owned small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs); they came to us often with questions and issues. We found out that because of their size, they couldn’t receive personalized support from any large corporations because they prioritized enterprise businesses. These SMBs were left behind. 

Michel: I received many support tickets from SMBs while working in a large corporation. Often, the problems had straightforward solutions but would get ignored for 6+ months before being fixed even though the fix itself might take a trivial amount of time. I kept thinking about how not resolving them was harming their productivity (which has a much more significant impact because they were under-resourced compared to larger organizations). They needed the right enterprise-level approach to SMB. That’s what we decided that jumping into CMIT would be a better way. 

How did you break into technology?

Amal: I started in technology at Microsoft. It was a massive shift from being a musician with the Syrian Symphony Orchestra. While music was and continues to be a major passion for me, I was offered a position as a technologist and native speaker of both Arabic and Russian speaker. 

Michel: My dad bought me at a Commodore 64 when I was 14. It was mind-blowing how much time it could save doing math calculations for school. I could see how computers could save people time and accurately as well.

What’s your philosophy?

Michel: Deal with customers as if you’re dealing with friends. Be vested in their businesses and help them succeed.

Amal: We believe in karma. Whatever good you do comes back to you.

Tell us about how you give back and why that’s so important?

Michel: I’m a big advocate of Wonderland Child & Family Services based out of Shoreline, WA. They provide a considerable array of services, including occupational and physical therapy, speech-language pathology, special education, and infant mental health. They provide early interventions, and that makes all the difference when it comes to development in children with disabilities. We’ve offered them IT services at a deep discount so they can continue supporting the community. We also promote their organization with our clients to help get the word out. 

Amal: The war in Syria is terrible.  Imagine your hometown, which contains thousands of years of history and culture, being reduced to a pile of flaming rubble from bombs landing overhead every other day. Being a refugee from the Middle East makes it especially hard to immigrate to the US. We support Syrian refugees through donations in the form of money, computers, school supplies and clothing. In 2015, we did a fundraising event that raised $20K with the office of the state governor. More recently, it’s through Salaam Cultural Museum (SCM) (a Seattle-based non-profit). Child refugees and their families in Amman in Jordan, Turkey and Seattle receive school supplies and computers. SCM also has a program to settle the refugees in Seattle. I’ve also performed in a piano concert with Nadar Kabbani (VP of Amazon Flex) to fundraise on behalf of SCM. 

Syrian orphans of war. Photo Credit: Salaam Cultural Museum

What does success look like to you?

Michel: Making a difference to a client. We had this one non-profit client that had terrible infrastructure by every metric possible. We helped turn things around 180 degrees to the point that they are now officially HIPAA compliant. We gave them way more IT vendor services than they had paid for, and it was so worth it to both us and the families they support.

What can’t you live without?

Michel: The right team with the right motivation. You need to trust and delegate because time is scarce. You have to find the right people to help you with your business and that means finding vendors who care about providing value and returns. Money chasers are a huge turnoff.

Amal: Two things:

1) Solid infrastructure. Humans tend to be the weakest link in any operation. 

2) Best practices. Update them often and ensure everyone follows.

What’s it like being part of a minority group in business and technology?

Michel: We’ve always been part of minority groups, both as Christians in Syria and as Syrians in the US. It’s taught us to be more careful; people tend to hold grudges more. It’s best to always proceed with an open heart and mind. We do our best to give everyone the benefit of the doubt and be supportive at all times. We teach our kids the same.

Amal: As a woman, it’s about being consistently underestimated. Unconscious bias is still alive and well, unfortunately. I use it to my advantage by allowing others to think I’m less qualified than I am, and then impressing them with better ideas and solutions than they thought possible.

What’s it like being a working parent and a spouse team?

Amal: Seeing our kids growing up, we want to do better. We feel a compulsion to match their success and make them feel proud of us. We also want to make them happy. When they see our drive, they know how difficult it is to be successful in life. They understand the importance of hard work. Success doesn’t just fall in your lap; it teaches them self-reliance. We want them to accomplish more than we have in our lifetime.

Michel: I feel so lucky to have someone like Amal. We complete each other. At home, without her, the house will collapse. I’m able to relax about our home life, whether its about school work, ballet or football. Because of her, I’m ready to focus on work. At work, she’s our resident strategist. She’s also excellent at reading clients and situations. As an IT vendor company, communication is 90% non-verbal and what people say with their faces and gestures is often more informative than their words. I would never want to play poker against Amal.

When all is said and done, what do you hope for CMIT Solutions to achieve?

Michel: We want to have contributed to the growth of every single client and with zero IT problems to boot.

CMIT Solutions (of Bothell, Renton, Lynnwood, Sammamish, Issaquah and Redmond) is a preferred managed IT and software development vendor on Beaze Beta.

How military-grade data on bacteria helps you shed 100 lbs

3-minute read

“Confessions of CEOs” is a series on how business owners are changing the service landscape. Today, we’re chatting with Cesar Amaral, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MX360 Fitness, on getting health and business back on track.

Cesar Amaral of MX360Fitness, a health and wellness vendor based out of Bellevue, WA. | Beaze
Photo Credit: Beaze

So, why MX360 Fitness?

It all started 7 years ago when my mom passed away from diabetes. While she was alive, I had lost and regained huge amounts of weight nearly a hundred times through every fitness fad you can imagine. She saw me struggling and taught me how to sustainably and intentionally lose weight by watching my diet and exercise but more importantly, how to maintain a positive attitude towards life. Through her watchful lifestyle battling this terrible disease, I learned how important it is to choose healthy habits. 

Cesar Amaral of MX360Fitness, a health and wellness vendor based out of Bellevue, WA. | Beaze
Cesar Amaral (before and after). Photo Credit: MX360 Fitness

How did you break into the fitness industry?

I jump-started my own personal health journey by losing 100 lbs and keeping it off. Through her memory, I’m motivated to help others become the best possible versions of themselves. She helped me realize the importance of learning to love and accept yourself for who you are. This revelation has shaped my emotional and physical well being and allowed me to support my current audience of 9 million viewers on social media. 

What’s the best way to help people get started on a transformative journey?

Take on goals in 5 minutes increments.

Whether you’re reading to become more informed on a topic, or meditating for stress-relief, or working on your business side-hustle, revolutionary change requires a step, any sized step, in the right direction. If you do anything for 5 minutes a day, 365 days of the year, you’ll become an expert. This is true both in health and in business.

Transformation is painful. How do you battle complacency and exhaustion?

Ask a friend to join you. 

Whether it’s for a workout or a business brainstorm, the perfect person to do this with is someone who is more “fit” than you in these areas. Working out and masterminding with someone who is further along in their journey will help you break out of your complacency in a heartbeat! 

When I’m feeling burnt out, I find it extremely helpful to take a day off. This will do wonders for you, your creativity and your business. 

What advice would you give to small business owners who are getting started?

Be frugal 🙂 

One of the things I have learned to minimize expenses on things that aren’t important to my mission. For example, I downsized my living space, I don’t buy clothes/shoes/etc. Unless I absolutely have to, I won’t even buy a cup of coffee or pay for internet service anymore because my WeWork office space provides it. I’ve cut all unnecessary expenses out of my life so that I can invest everything back into my business.  

Tell us about how you give back and why that’s so important.

I’m a strong advocate of non-profits within the multiracial community, one, in particular, is El Centro de la Raza. Within this group, there are 42 different social justice programs that help low-income families with housing, childcare, small business, and community events. I was part of the steering committee that helped raise $45 million for one of their building projects, MCee multiple of El Centro’s events and continue to be involved regularly.

What does success look like to you?

A world in which everyone has an opportunity to succeed in life. My dad taught me how to love and how to work. His life showed me the importance of responsibilities and how to hone in on what’s most important. He set the example by never missing a day of work and yet always being there for our family no matter what.  He grew up without a father himself and that spoke volumes to him and us. I aspire to be like him in every way that I can. I want to make him proud of all the people I help daily on their journey towards self-acceptance and happiness.

Do you have any trade secrets? Please share!

Data, data, data. 

I’m a huge fan of Viome. It’s this service where they analyze your gut-bacteria to determine what foods are actually good for you. They also use data and artificial intelligence tech from the military that was originally developed to fight bio-attacks. I found out that foods like spinach, lentils, and bell peppers are inflammatory for me.  Clients are super stoked when they find out that there’s hope in getting scientific answers as to why they may be more successful at times in their health journey than others. It shows the power of technology and evolution.

When all is said and done, what do you hope for MX360 to achieve?

My dream is to positively impact the lives and health of millions for people through MX360 Fitness. I dream of one day, being the go-to place for holistic health for our members. From the moment our members wake up, they will check their MX360 Fitness App/Member site for the healthy breakfast recommendation for the day, they will receive their 10-minute meditation, their 15-minute workout video, their 10-minute reading excerpt for the day…

From the moment they wake up until they go to sleep, we will be there to guide them in making healthy choices. 

MX360 Fitness is a preferred partner on Beaze Beta.

The best marksman is sometimes an Asian mom

3-minute read

Beaze: Meet the Team is a series on the respective individuals building out Beaze, a vendor procurement marketplace that replaces traditional advertising. Today, we’re chatting with Joanna Hamai, our Chief Operating Officer (COO), on navigating the business landscape as a military veteran, mother and visible minority.

Joanna Hamai, COO of Beaze | Photo Credit: Beaze

So, why Beaze?

Historically, I’ve always sought out projects that have both a creative and practical side. I also love the idea of helping the business community at large and meeting new business owners. It’s important to find new and interesting ways to stop wasting time and money, especially when it comes to vendor procurement.

How did you break into tech?

Way back in high school, I took an animation course. At the time, that class’ professor had a mysterious way of disappearing into his office for long periods of time; no one knew what he was up to in there. I also had an annoying lab partner, Kyle. To keep things interesting, I decided to focus the plot of my animation sequence on what the teacher was possibly doing in his office. In my mind, he was sunbathing; then, when Kyle came to him looking for help, alien visitors captured him for their own research purposes. The professor adored the fact that Kyle got kidnapped in the kit. Kyle decided his animation would be of me getting run over by a lawnmower. You win some, you lose some.

What is it about technology that inspires you?

Simple technology, done well, can save lives.

While deployed in Iraq, the front vehicle in our convoy had broken down while under fire. Our super-high tech MTS (movement tracking system satellite technology) was on that vehicle but we had to keep the convoy moving towards the nearest marine base while minimizing additional civilian casualties. We had a choice of trying to save our MTS and risk the lives of those civilians or blow up the truck with the MTS and stick with old-school communication, i.e. the walkie-talkies. We decided in favor of the latter and were able to make it safely out of that town. It was the right call because without the walkie-talkies we wouldn’t have been able to coordinate across the convoy.

What’s your philosophy?

1. Work your hardest even when no one is looking. That way, you can live your life with no regrets.

2. Be prepared for anything. If your ducks aren’t in a row, you don’t have the capacity to help others.

My dad raised my sister and I as a single-parent who then turned to my grandmother for additional support.  It was very hard growing up in a strict household of an immigrant family. I was expected to get straight A’s, cook and clean at home and translate everything for my grandmother.  Serving in the US Army also drilled into me the importance of integrity, honor and again, hard work.

Wait, does that mean you speak another language?

Yes, I’m fluent in Korean. I was also a translator in Fort Lewis.

What does success look like to you?

I like when things go smoothly and to completion. It’s important to prepare for any possible detour. I wear many hats that require different skill sets and it can be hard to focus if I’m thinking about other tasks. So, every morning, I go through the laundry list of things we need to tackle. I ruthlessly cut out the ones that aren’t urgent or impactful. Then, I get to work. Luckily, I also have a great team with me to help me work through problems and tackle them from different angles. Sometimes when I get blocked, I just context-switch for a while, let my subconscious do some of the heavy lifting and come back to the problem with fresh eyes. I also like a good plan B comprised of smart, competent consultants for those occasional peak demand times. Good vendor partnerships are hard to come by; I work every day to build out more.

What words of wisdom can you share?

1. Dream big. Every great accomplishment started as a seemingly impossible dream.

2. Persevere. Everything can and will go wrong. Life is not fair and that’s ok. Two steps forward and one step back is still one step forward. 

3. Prove them wrong. The best payback is to live an amazing life.

What’s most important to you?

Compassion towards others. 

Other people, often complete strangers, helped me get to where I am today. When I had first left Hawaii after joining the military, I was switching to Ohio to attend Kent State University in the dead of winter. I was grossly unprepared for this, there was 3 feet of snow on the ground and I was basically wearing flip-flops and shorts. This military recruiter graciously picked me up at the airport and took me shopping for a hooded parka and boots so I wouldn’t die of frostbite. Then, while I was living at the school campus, my unit was actually 2 hours away by driving and I had no transportation. This major who happened to live near my company, drove me to and from campus almost every month for a year out of his own generosity. During this time, he also invited me to his home with his 2 kids and his wife to stay for the weekend. It was like having an adoptive family.

I want to pay it forward to small business owners everywhere so they can have some shelter in the storm.

What’s it like being a minority-visible minority woman with a career?

It’s been really humbling. I had to work twice as hard as the men in my military intelligence battalion to be accepted.  I always volunteered to do extra duty or training or another certification which is why I’m certified to drive all kinds of vehicles, including buses, 18-wheelers, humvees, 2-tons – basically, everything short of a tank. As a sergeant, I gave safety briefings on weapons and taught marksmanship. Like when you’re holding a rocket launcher, it’s important to say “Back blast area all clear!”, which is also a nice euphemism for flatulence (in addition to just fitting in with the crowd).

It empowers me to know that at that time I could change the perception of women in the military for a few people. People are often surprised that an Asian woman like me could’ve possibly served. I relish when their jaws drop upon hearing about my experience.

Seems like being in the military changed you.

There is comradery with being a veteran that doesn’t translate with civilians. 

Being a veteran, there are values that everyone upholds and experiences that everyone went through. For example, the portrayal of drill sergeants in basic training comes off as ridiculous, aggressive and stereotypical for the benefit of their own amusement at the belittlement of a trainee; in reality, however, it teaches new recruits real-life survival skills. I saw a new recruit being yelled at to not jump but he jumped anyway. He then unluckily acquired the exclusive attention of 3 drill sergeants who were yelling at him so ferociously, spit was flying in all directions. Most of us couldn’t help but laugh (and then wound up doing hundreds of pushups as well).

Also, since my tour in Iraq, I still check my shoes for giant camel spiders.

Camel spiders. Photo Credit: US Military

What’s it like being a working parent?

Being a mom has actually made me stronger. Without my son, I wouldn’t have taken a risk in changing careers. He’s helped me put into perspective what’s important.  He motivates me to do better so that I can be a role model for him in the future. I want him to see the value of hard work and to be smart and thoughtful about it.  

Tell us about how you give back and why that’s so important?

I work with a wildlife animal shelter named PAWS located in Lynnwood, WA.  I rehabilitate injured/sick animals (including triage, vaccination, giving fluids) and educate new foster parents. Inexperienced foster parents often don’t know how to deal with traumatized animals in their homes, especially when the animals have already acclimated to the shelter. I help answer any questions that might come up and provide additional medical attention whenever necessary.

When all is said and done, what do you hope for Beaze to achieve?

I just want the underdog businesses to prevail.

Awarded State Contracts – 2019-Q4 Update

Hello Beaze Beta Program Participants!

Below are the awarded state service contracts for 2019-Q4. Please sign into the Beaze Beta Portal for more details.

  • October 1, 2019 – $1.9M – CA State – Marketing Services (#386926)
  • October 2, 2019 – $7.8M – CA State – Software Licenses & Maintenance (#872861)
  • October 14, 2019 – $168K – CA State – Stationery Wholesale (#492619)
  • November 1, 2019 – $96K – CA State –  Custodial Services (#696293)
  • November 4, 2019 – $677K – CA State – Ticketing System Support (#862783)
  • November 6, 2019 – $500K+ – DE State – Legal Process Serving (#629360)
  • November 18, 2019 – $198K – DE State – Roadside Landscaping (#071298)
  • November 21, 2019 – $84K – CA State – Public Relations, Advertising and Marketing Services (#696455)
  • December 2, 2019 – $219K – DE State – Electrical Improvements (#761002)
  • December 10, 2019 – $3.2M (multiple vendors) – WA State – Safety Improvements (#129347)
  • December 13, 2020 – $1.7M – DE State – Intersection Improvement (#729777)
  • December 13, 2019 – $151K – WA State – Ducts Wholesale (#826711)
  • December 15, 2019 – $4.6M – WA State – Vehicle Rental
  • December 23, 2020 – $1.3M – CA State – Database Management (#332896)
  • December 24, 2019 – $2.2M (multiple vendors) – WA State – Infrastructure Repair (#998215)
  • December 24, 2019 – $12M (multiple vendors) – WA State – Wastewater Sewer Replacement (#817702)

When radical giving means choosing off the dollar menu

3-minute read

“Confessions of CEOs” is a series on how business owners are changing the service landscape. Today, we’re chatting with Peter Kim, CEO of Odigo Realty, a residential and commercial realty vendor about his vision for a better world.

Odigo Realty, a Beaze realty vendor serving Seattle, Kirkland, Bellevue.
From Left to Right: Kaela Servais, Peter Kim, Ozzy Servais of Odigo Realty. Photo Credit: Beaze

So, Why Odigo?

We have two main goals. The first, to be the most trusted realty vendor team in the NW. The second, to be radically generous. By radical, we mean giving above and beyond what most would consider as acceptably benevolent. We derive the most joy and energy from serving others, but most importantly, those who are marginalized and those who serve our community with the same open heart. For example, we reimbursed our client, a retired pastor, his closing fees in full simply because he had spent a lifetime sacrificing on behalf of his congregation. While we were, of course, elated that he became a happy client, we felt privileged to reward a great member of our community. To us, that’s priceless.

How did you break into real estate?

For me, real estate was a bittersweet accident career-wise. I was in college and only one quarter away from graduating. I got a call from the Hawaii State Police Department informing me that my brother died while swimming. Torn by this, I stopped going to school and took over my brother’s short sale realty company; that’s where I started learning about the real estate arena from his business partners. From there, I joined one of the biggest vendor teams in the Northwest. During my transition, I was terrified. I had so little money; I could barely put gas in my car. I couldn’t get any new customers for the life of me. My fantastic mentor Anton helped me to focus my energies on developing my clientele base and securing homes under contract. Eventually, I began running our Kirkland branch with his help. I then decided to start my own real estate company. I closed over $10 million in volume in my first year. In 2017, our team closed a total of $55 million, which is in the top 1% nationally.

Today, we’re still helping realty customers with the same due diligence and passion. We’ve helped one particular client buy a multifamily property in Marysville that was a slam dunk cashflow-wise. He now wants us to help him buy as many as he can get his hands on as he knows this will be his most stable income in retirement.

Any juicy secrets to share about real estate?

You can invest even with little capital and average credit. We can show you how. 

What’s your philosophy?

Become the trendsetter. Don’t keep wishing the world was a certain way. Instead, be the one who sparks the change you want. If you want people to be more kind, be kind to others. If you don’t like the epidemic of loneliness in America, then reach out to people and be a good friend to them. We believe change starts with you.

Tell us about how you give back and why that’s so important?

I‘ve been helping the homeless for about a decade now and even started a non-profit called Baby Steps Ministry in 2012. It’s an organization that builds friendships and trust with homeless people. We empower them to take the small steps on their own that will restore their confidence and rebuild their lives. Was it tough? Absolutely! I’ve given to the point where I brought a homeless friend to a McDonald’s and had to pick and choose from the dollar menu because I ran out of money. Friends and family have commended me for what I do, yet what people don’t realize is the amount of vitality and delight it gives me to serve others. I’ve always been a 10/10 on the happiness scale for a long time now. I’m a 100% believer that although it may seem entirely antithetical for “getting ahead” in this world, I believe radical generosity will come back 100-fold in your life, business, relationships, and most importantly, your being. To me, success is about loving the people around us.

What words of wisdom can you share?

The day you think you’ve become wise, you’re a fool. Wisdom is endless; pride comes before the fall. Stay humble and hungry for knowledge.

Who inspires you?

Francis Chan, a pastor in California and a best-selling author. He lives a lifestyle of unparalleled generosity despite having a tumultuous childhood. He’s given away over $2M of his income to organizations that rescue sex slaves in foreign countries. He has seven kids and lived in a mobile home until deciding recently to become a full-time missionary.

What’s it like being a visible minority in business?

Asian males aren’t portrayed as driven and self-sufficient in the media but rather as timid and weak. I remember one of my associates, who was an experienced agent in real estate at the time, was demeaning me at the office and trivializing my work as a realty vendor. Although I can’t prove that it was because of my Asian background, I felt it was a significant factor in it. His tune changed for the better once he saw my performance, which was only on the up and up. Despite having low self-confidence initially, I had to appear even-keeled and confident to survive. As time went on, I realized exuding high confidence can overcome many barriers.

When all is said and done, what do you hope for Odigo to achieve?

We want everyone to have a shot at true financial freedom. Long-term residual income is 100% possible through realty investing.

Odigo is a preferred residential and commercial realty vendor on Beaze Beta.

Awarded State Contracts – 2019-Q3 Update

Hello Beaze Beta Program Participants!

Below are the awarded state service contracts for 2019-Q3. Please sign into the Beaze Beta Portal for more details.

  • June 12, 2019 – $1.2M – DE State – Concrete (#729310)
  • July 19, 2020 – $36.5K – WA State – Janitorial Services (#971002)
  • July 25, 2019 – $268K – DE State – Cleaning Services (#625924)
  • September 17, 2019 – $1.1M – DE State – Pavement and Rehabilitation (#002342)
  • September 23, 2019 – $7.7M – CA State – Telecom Equipment (#129625)