Ruth Shin

For launching a tech company/tech product, always buffer in more time. It will always take more time, energy, and money than you initially thought it will take. It’s also impossible to know what you don’t know, and you won’t learn what that is until you’ve come to that juncture.


Ruth Shin is the Founder and CEO of the real estate startup PropertyNest, a one-stop shop for real estate needs in New York. She leads a team of real estate industry and credit score experts that developed an innovative, proprietary algorithm that helps New Yorkers rent or buy a new home based on their credit score and the features they most want.

PropertyNest features both rentals and sales properties available on the New York market using the consumer’s credit score to find best matches based on the vetting process for each property, which includes income, credit score, and savings among other financial qualifiers.

A licensed real estate agent, Ruth has in-depth knowledge of the apartment sales and rental market in all New York City boroughs through her work at EXR and Compass.

Prior to this Ruth was an editor at the personal finance site, producing articles that help consumers make smarter financial decisions.

An entrepreneur at heart, Ruth founded and ran the culinary design company, Brooklyn Cake. She was also an advisor to other hospitality businesses, helping them to set up and improve their operations, including menu design, staffing, product sourcing and inventory management.

Where did the idea for PropertyNest come from?

I founded PropertyNest earlier this year to help nest seekers find their dream home and understand the financial requirements in the house hunting process upfront. Our home is our nest, it anchors our personal and professional life. It’s got to be the perfect match for our lifestyle and aspirations.

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

Half of my day is spent working with the team on the PropertyNest listing site. We always update our listings, neighborhood guides, as well as manage editorial and any build-outs on the site. I dedicate the other half of the day to discussing real estate trends in New York City and speaking with real estate agents/brokers. Before I start in the morning, I review the key things we have to accomplish as a team that day, and what we have to achieve within the next 1-2 months. This helps me to prioritize and stay focused.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I spend a good amount of time doing some research and discussing ideas with the team and people outside of the company. Once an idea is ready for implementation, I form a project team and a plan and we get to work.

What’s one trend that excites you?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is fascinating. We developed a proprietary algorithm to help consumers predict whether they’d get approved for an apartment or not. In the future, with AI, we will have even more opportunities to improve the experience of the house hunting process. We are just at the tip of the iceberg. Of course, AI has also challenges. It is important to have ethics guidelines and a good governance structure in place for AI applications.

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

While I have to wear many hats as an entrepreneur, I don’t have the habit of trying to fit as many hats as possible on my own head. Instead, I bring in experts into the process early on. This way I can focus on what is best and keep the eyes on the overall goals for the company.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Always watch your credit score, and keep it in good health. Prepare for the future, such as saving money for your first apartment or home and retirement. I’d also tell my younger self to trust my instincts and intuitions better and to speak up. I think women, particularly young women, don’t always feel confident in the workplace enough to assert their ideas and their value as much as their male counterparts.

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

You don’t actually need a large space (or closet space) or lots of material possessions to live and thrive. Simple can really be better and giving up things that you don’t really need can be quite liberating.

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

For launching a tech company/tech product, always buffer in more time. It will always take more time, energy, and money than you initially thought it will take. It’s also impossible to know what you don’t know, and you won’t learn what that is until you’ve come to that juncture.

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

We decided to start with the geographic market that we know best. In our case, it is New York City. This strategy has served us well to get the business successfully up and running.

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

PropertyNest is my first company. Looking back at the launch, the advice I would give to myself is to plan in more time between alpha, beta, and official launch, as well as understanding how to increase organic traffic on the site. I was in a chicken or the egg dilemma and tried to manage by trying to go in multiple directions. By focusing on one strategy to attain that, we have started making real headway and breaking ground.

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

I am so focused on Propertynest, I have not developed any other business ideas I could share at this point in time.

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

I just spent $100 on a tree that I plan on planting on my property. I’m making my home and property more beautiful for myself and my family, and I enjoy cultivating and watching something grow and thrive.

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

We use Slack as a team. It helps to keep everyone in the loop.

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

I very much enjoyed the book “Disrupted” by Dan Lyons. It’s not just a very entertaining read but is very insightful on the whole culture and universe of tech start-ups. It’s quite amusing to learn that you don’t even need a real product to start your company. I also recommend listening to the Startup Therapy podcast. They cover various topics in the startup world with a very realistic and practical approach.

What is your favorite quote?

The real test is not whether you avoid this failure because you won’t. It’s whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere.” -Barack Obama

Key Learnings:

  • Prioritize your day and week and stay focused
  • Evaluate new technologies on how they can impact your business and market
  • Always buffer in more time than you think you need


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Twitter: @propertynest