Meet Avantika Shahi, the lesbian entrepreneur behind Haus.
What do you do and why?
I’m owner and creator of Haus.
Tell us about Haus.
Haus matches and grades homes for consumers to:
- Find homes based on needs and lifestyle
- Save time while searching for homes
- Make better decisions with transparent, easily digestible data.
Our matching algorithm curates and grades homes for consumers based on a combination of personalized community, lifestyle and home search criteria.
As a multiple-time home buyer, real estate agent and real estate broker, I was stunned to learn that there was no easy way to get a comprehensive picture on a home or a neighborhood that could help facilitate an informed home purchase decision.
Buying a home is one of the biggest financial decisions you make in your life and there is was way to be able to sift through the scores of homes out there without it being a full time job. I wanted to solve that problem and come up a better way to search for homes.
What did you do before you started your company?
I’ve been in real estate over 10 years. Before I started Haus, I was a top-producing real estate agent first with Keller Williams where I was a member of the Regional Agent Leadership Council, and later my own brokerage HausAngeles.
Prior to real estate, I ran the U.S. Professional Services division for a Global Software company and built a profitable, customer-centric professional services group engaged in ecommerce, enterprise and Internet marketplace/exchange implementations.
What’s the single most important piece of advice you received when first starting your company? What would you tell a young entrepreneur in turn?
‘It’s a journey,’ no wait, that was the advice I got when starting to try for kids, but it works in this case as well. For the young entrepreneurs out there: Be bold, think big, don’t overthink — getting it wrong is just part of the journey and delegate (you can’t do everything by yourself).
What do you find most rewarding about owning your own business?
The opportunity to change the existing status quo by creating a better, innovate product that simplifies people’s lives and promotes integrated living.
Where do you see yourself and your company in five years?
Ideally with Haus positioned as a market leader in its space and a great personal work life balance. We have two sets of twins under six, so the ability to spend quality time with family is extremely important.
What resources would you recommend to someone who is contemplating starting her own business?
Meet with and talk to a lot of people. Talk to people who have succeeded, are currently working on their businesses and those with failed businesses. It’s amazing how much you can learn from listening to people talk about their experiences. There is a lot of wisdom our there, prime for harvesting.
What would you say is the single most important key to sustaining a business long term?
Grit, perseverance and optimism, sprinkled with liberal amounts of realism.
What obstacles did you face in establishing your company and how did you overcome them?
Our biggest challenge was probably right out of the door when I first launched Haus back in Sept 2015. I was trying to build both the consumer and the brokerage sides of the business at the same time. Key changes in team and partners along with consumer feedback forced me to re-evaluate, and decide to focus on the consumer side of the business alone. Though a hard decision at the time, in retrospect, it turned out to be a great pivot.It really helped us focus on the part of our offering about which the consumers were most excited.