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Three Questions with Vijay Gopalswamy of Trackxi

Welcome to “Three Questions,” an interview series that introduces you to real estate industry professionals, their businesses and how they interact with real estate standards. The goal of the series is to humanize the tech side of the industry, fun included.

This week’s interview is with Vijay Gopalswamy, Founder and CEO of Trackxi, a workflow “deal tracker” software. We talked about happy accidents, fresh perspectives and keeping it weird. Enjoy!

Q1: You worked at Daimler Trucks for 22 years in a variety of roles ranging from Engineering, Finance and Sales prior to branching your career into other tech and, kind of wildly shifting gears, into mortgage and real estate agency. What created this hard left turn into real estate? 

Vijay: By accident.

RESO three question

All my changes are created by accident. I got into this more during the Listing Bits podcast with Greg Robertson.

From 1997 to 2005, I was a racing junky – go-karts, dirt bikes, trail riding, sports cars. I had two cars and three bikes at one point. I needed somewhere to put them all.

I am an immigrant student from India, arriving in this country in 1997. In 2005, I stood in line at a builder event to win the right to buy a house. I didn’t know what escrow was, what an agency was.

My agent was the seller’s agent. I went home after our first meeting, and my wife asked, “Did you buy a house?”

I replied, “I think so, but I don’t know.”

I wrote a $500 check to a title company. I didn’t know. They were busy.

I was literally using Yahoo! to learn how to buy a house. I went through this horrible process, and I didn’t know what was going on the whole time.

So Yahoo! sent me to real estate schools. I took a course. That was another $500. I had time, so I just did it. My curiosity was piqued, so I became an agent. I wanted to buy my next house as an agent.

I had friends that I talked to, and I earned their trust. It was a hobby business for a while, and then it went from friends to 1 “real” client to 5 to 10 to 50, then it became my career.

Q2: You are fairly new to real estate tech, but you are making quite a splash and going to a lot of events, learning the ropes as you go. What have you gleaned so far that you didn’t already know? 

Vijay: Mainly that industry people are super nice. I thought that real estate people would be more competitive, but on a human level, they are very helpful and have an abundance mentality. Almost everyone in this industry fundamentally cares about the end buyers and sellers.

I have also learned that the complexities of how technology and data flows through the association, MLS, franchise/brokerage – this side is more cooperative than the boots-on-the-ground agents, who are sometimes competitive sales folks. 

I’m honestly surprised that the big tech companies are ignoring proptech. I’m not an expert yet, but it seems as though we may have too many guardrails.

So I ask again, why are companies like Google and Amazon not doing real estate? Because I’m seeing a big disparity in what agents say they want and what the industry provides. Agents want guidance and mentorship, but a lot of tech is built for the franchisee and brokerage, not for an average agent.

Most agents leave their brokerage in like two or three years. Why is that? As brokers, we should be asking what we are doing to help these people along. Trying to fill that gap is one of the reasons why I got into the business.

I’m talking about simple questions, like how do I manage my taxes as an independent contractor? Where is the best place to print a business card or flier, network with other professionals and potential sellers and buyers, etc.

There should be more mentorship. So you’re doing 10 to 15 transactions? How can I help you get to 50? That is what we are trying to do with Trackxi.

Q3: You are based in Portland, Oregon. I’ve seen it on t-shirts, and I watched it on the IFC TV show, “Portlandia.” Is Portland really as weird as they say? Why or why not?

Vijay: Yes, it is a bit weird.

It’s part of the town’s identity. The culture is definitely different than most cities you will encounter. There are, shall we say, a lot of free spirits.

Portland has a bit of a hippie town image. I think the thought processes that a lot of people have is very different from most of the cities in the country.

It’s similar to the “Keep Austin Weird” slogan that I have seen in that city. When I’ve been to Austin, it’s a lot like Portland, but in Texas.

Beer, wine, coffee…it’s a major part of the fabric of Portland and Oregon.

We want to put Portland on the proptech map. It’s one of my missions as a 25-year resident. It’s something I want to do for my hometown.

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