This week we chat with Ben Voltz and William Evans, co-founders of NOKK, a revolutionary real estate marketplace platform. By applying the concept of meaningful conversations usually found in online dating sites, NOKK has been able to foster greater and deeper connections between property buyers and sellers.
ISB: Please tell us briefly how you have adapted the concept of “dating platforms” for the real estate sphere.
The reason why we incorporated the peer to peer feature, which is used across platforms such as Tinder, Uber and Airbnb, was because we liked the idea of buyers and sellers directly communicating with each other in an honest and transparent way. Once the homeowner has been “nokked” by a potential buyer NOKK gives the seller the control and ability to screen out a buyer they wish to have a conversation with on their own terms.
ISB: Why do you deem it’s so important for NOKK to be able to provide meaningful conversations and less stress in the real estate market?
In the traditional real estate market, homeowners only have the choice of being on or off the market. This makes the decision of selling your home a huge commitment which often involves large costs. With NOKK we want to break down these barriers and remove the stress by enabling homeowners to ‘dip a toe’ in the current property market. Homeowners now have the opportunity to start a conversation with potential buyers to explore what they are willing to purchase the home for.
ISB: How did you raise the capital required to fund the venture?
The capital that’s been raised to date has come from ourselves as well as friends and family. More recently, after we officially launched, we’ve had lots of interest from notable personalities in the tech and real estate space. We’ve actually run a capital raise that ended before Christmas in which we raised about $2 million.
ISB: And what about marketing – how did you go about attracting customers onto the platform?
I’ve been working in digital marketing for almost 20 years and as a result, I’ve come across many channels to market various products both in Australia and around the globe. We use 90 per cent digital media based on my 19 years’ experience and connections in this space.
ISB: How do you see NOKK developing in the next few years?
It’s been very rewarding to see that so many buyers and sellers resonate with NOKK’s service offering. We currently have over 10,000 users. Based on the feedback we’ve received since launching in October, we’re anticipating our user base to grow exponentially within the next 12-18 months. Within this time there will be hundreds of thousands of homes on the platform and thousands of “nokks” and meaningful conversations between sellers and buyers.
ISB: And finally, what advice would you give to others who have an idea they’d like to turn into a commercial venture?
My best advice for someone starting their own business is to seek the right counsel. People often work in silos, however it’s vital to test your idea with others from all walks of life and get their feedback to improve your idea. It’s also important to spend time hiring the right people who have skill sets that you don’t but share your vision and want to jump on the journey with you.