Giri Devanur

Founder of reAlpha

Giri Devanur is the founder and CEO of reAlpha, a cutting-edge technology company with a plan to empower everyone to invest in the $1.2 trillion short-term rental market. Prior to founding reAlpha, he served as the President and CEO of Ameri100 Inc. and scaled Ameri from $0 to $50M in revenue and completed the IPO on Nasdaq in under 4 years. Giri was awarded the E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year in 2017 and authored a book titled “Nothing to Nasdaq”.

Giri has more than two decades of experience in the information technology industry. He successfully founded WinHire Inc. and Ivega Corporation. Ivega merged with TCG in 2004, creating a 1,000+ person focused differentiator in the IT consulting space.

Giri has an M.S. in Technology Management from Columbia University and a B.S. in Computer Engineering from the University of Mysore, India. He also attended Executive Education programs at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard Law School.

Where did the idea for reAlpha come from?

I received a call from a friend who was interested in buying an Airbnb property of $400k. At that time, she did not have the 25% down payment of $100k. After a while, she came to me and asked if I could lend or solve the problem! That’s when the idea of creating a platform for people to invest in real estate without having thousands and millions of dollars upfront. Not long after, I and several like-minded people joined forces and created our company reAlpha! That was the beginning of our journey to democratize real estate investing within the emerging Airbnb short-term rental market.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

No two leaves are the same, no two days are alike. My schedule can be crazy sometimes, but I try my best to keep a routine that allows me to care for my body and mind and excel at work. I start my day very early, around 5AM. After my meditation and going to the gym (I listen to podcasts during my workout), I start off with calling our teams in Nepal and India. Then, I work on finance related items followed by marketing. That’s usually how I spend my mornings. Afternoons are left for operations issues. Evenings are for new product ideas and so on. Also, to make myself accountable and productive, I keep a to-do list of the top 20 things of the day. I make it productive by having top 20 things to do in a day. That has been massively helpful.

How do you bring ideas to life?

As a tech entrepreneur, my mind is always filled with ideas. I started as a programmer and realized I wanted to help people through technology. This idea motivated me to become an entrepreneur. I have created companies, became CEO of many, and carried the ball across the finish line to a successful Nasdaq IPO.

Also, as a writer, I am writing a new book titled “How to Who”. I believe in talent and teamwork. The question here is not about how we can bring ideas to life. It is assembling a great team and they will figure out how!

What’s one trend that excites you?

As Marc Andressen puts it, “software will eat everything”. That excites me.

I am a programmer at heart. We have witnessed great changes in technology in the past few years that are changing the world. I want to be a part of all that change for the better.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Daily 1% improvement! I always say to myself, try and improve by at least 1% every day. 1% isn’t trying to move mountains, but it’s small daily improvements that make me a better leader or make my business better. The motivation to be a slightly better leader than I was yesterday keeps me feeling productive as an entrepreneur.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Find the best talent anywhere in the world. Talent can make or break your business.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Humans will settle on Mars in 20 years.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Hire everyone better than yourself. I’m very fortunate to have many great minds building our dreams together.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Focus on one thing at a time. This brings clarity to the entire team. Many would argue that multitasking is key to productivity. But we only have limited attention given to what matters, especially when we are just starting out. reAlpha is on the ground floor of Reg A+ funding. As much as we hope we can grow into an internationally recognized company overnight, we have to focus our force on the first step then to the next one.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

Being an entrepreneur means making mistakes and learning lessons. I clearly remember when I failed in a large project of $1.2 billion. It was a very humbling experience. Some people might give up. I had doubts, too. But after careful evaluation of my mistake, I was able to utilize what I’ve learned to strengthen my strategies. I relentlessly worked for 7 more years after that and took a company to Nasdaq.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Build a software which will help you to hire better people than yourself. I can’t stress enough how important it is to acquire and retain great talent. A company’s success is tied with its people. They are the building blocks of a skyscraper.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I spent $100 on Upwork and found a brilliant engineering team worth a few million! A team called Naamche in Nepal helped us massively in building an AI platform because I spent that $100.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

Slack! We use it for everything. It makes connecting in a remote work setting possible. One more thing that some of my team members are obsessed with is Notion, which is a project management tool.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

On a lighter note, “Nothing to Nasdaq” – Because, I wrote it after taking a company to Nasdaq 🙂 I hope my experience will provide insights for start-ups to achieve their IPOs.

On a serious note, The One Thing – by Gary Keller. It helps you to bring focus and achieve better results in less time.

What is your favorite quote?

Better to be Lucky than Smart.

Key Learnings:

  • Daily 1% improvement is important.
  • Find the best talent anywhere in the world. Hire everyone better than yourself.
  • Focus on one thing at a time.
  • Being an entrepreneur means making mistakes and learning lessons.