Times of San Diego spoke with Will Caldwell, the co-founder and CEO of Dizzle, about the company’s new mobile app for real estate agents. The University of San Diego graduate grew up in the real estate industry, and Dizzle is his second startup aimed at Realtors. When he isn’t developing mobile apps and business models, he is a devoted kitesurfer, and appeared as a kitesurfing extra in a Nissan television commercial in 2013.
Why did you start Dizzle?
Growing up in the real estate industry, I knew I wanted to be involved with real estate, and while I was in college I built my first mobile app based upon my mother’s experience as a Realtor. I learned first hand what it took to become successful as a real estate agent. My goal was to build an app that solved problems agents encounter on a daily basis. Turned out that other agents liked the first app I built, and from that point I set out to find a way to scale the business.
How will the real estate community use the Dizzle app?
Success in real estate is based on relationships, as word of mouth referrals are one of the major sources of business for real estate agents. Ensuring future success requires a lot of effort to maintain relationships and stay top of mind, and most importantly provide value to your clients long after handing them the keys. At Dizzle, we are focusing on providing simple-to-use branded mobile apps that incorporate the agent’s preferred list of vendors in order to promote word-of-mouth behavior.
What kind of help did you get from the local startup community?
The local startup community was profound in helping me take my idea to market, and I can honestly say I would not be where I am at today without the support of the local startup community. I received invaluable mentorship along the way thanks to USD, all the people involved with Startup San Diego, MIT Enterprise Forum, and the CONNECT Springboard program. Coming from Florida to attend college at USD, I really did not know anyone in the San Diego business community, but I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur and enjoyed networking. Put the two together and I quickly realized this town is full of people with this mentality.
What’s the long-term potential for Dizzle?
The long-term potential for Dizzle is immense as we find the real estate industry is ripe for disruption. Real estate agents and companies are coming to the realization that mobile is clearly the future, and given the fact that real estate agents on are on the go most of the time, mobile technology fits right in. We believe the future of real estate lies in relevant timely data powered by actionable analytics delivered on a smart phone. The exciting part is that this synopsis is becoming more relevant in other industry verticals we plan to explore.
This is your first angel-backed startup. What advice do you have for first-time entrepreneurs?
My first piece of advice would be to ask your parents about the inefficiencies in their business or industry. By doing this you have access to someone with a lot of experience and truly cares about your success. This way you already have a head start when coming up with a business plan to execute on. Your parents will most likely go out of their way to get that critical introduction and be the first to try your product. The quicker you can implement your product the faster you can learn and find product-market fit.
As to raising money, the quicker you can show that your business concept is viable, the faster money will find you. The last thing you want is to spend a lot of time chasing money when you really need to be driving revenue. Revenue is the lifeblood of any business, and showing cash flow will save you the headache of answering the doubters when you are pitching your business. The truth lies in the numbers.
Times of San Diego, a startup itself, regularly writes about startups in technology, biotech and other sectors of local business. If you are a startup in the San Diego area and want to tell your story, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.