Why I created Realko – an interview with Konrad Okła, part 2
How are buildings from the other end of the world added to the database and why is it so difficult to create a user-friendly search engine for the office and warehouse market? You can read about it in the second part of the conversation with Konrad Okła, the creator of the Realko24 platform, which connects tenants with landlords on the commercial real estate market.
We also encourage you to read the first part of the interview.
Can Realko24 be referred to as a global solution now?
We are already operating globally. When someone opens our application, he or she will see rental offers for office space on every continent. What is more, we are already present in such significant countries as United States, Australia, and China. Of course, there will be more and more options available, because we are constantly signing new contracts, and subsequent building owners want to work with us. In other words, there are still many countries on the map where Realko may be introduced. However, when it comes to what we talked about earlier [link to part 1 of the conversation] – is it possible to use Realko to rent a warehouse in Russia – yes, it is possible. Thanks to our platform, you may rent one in Russia, the United States, Poland, and many other places in the world. It does not matter if it is an office or a warehouse on a neighboring street or on the other side of the world. Technology has opened great opportunities for landlords and tenants.
And you, where do you see the possibilities now? What is the next step?
We want to develop and launch a marketing campaign in Germany. There is over 100 million square meters of office space, which is over 10 times more than in Poland. Contrary to appearances, entering this market will be relatively easy for us, since most entities that have buildings in Poland also have them in Germany – and vice versa. It will be the first step in scaling for long-term foreign contracts.
How do you get office buildings from Germany or even from countries thousands of kilometers away from your headquarters in Poland?
We have global partners who manage offices not only in Poland. There are real estate groups that have several hundred buildings in their portfolios located in different countries and even continents. We are in touch with them, we negotiate terms of cooperation, we establish partnerships. Moreover, we have an entire analytics and research department that is constantly evolving.
Realko looks to be a relatively simple solution, but it comes out that has a lot of facilities.
There is no website in the world, no matter how technologically advanced, which catalogs countries and based on their location gives direct contact to a landlord. What is more, there is no single webpage where you can find real estate in the United States, Germany, Poland and Japan at the same time. Our goal is to create a global marketplace for tenants and landlords of commercial real estate on Realko. This is what we are gradually building, and it is a lot of work. However, when I look on Booking or Airbnb, which have been operating for a dozen or dozens of years, I can see how much time was needed for these platforms to become what they have become. That is why I believe that Realko has got the chance for global success in the long run.
At first glance, you see just a real estate search engine. But yet, no one has ever done anything like this before. So, what is so special about this technology?
Well, when I talk about Realko and explain how it works, everybody focuses on the fact you just use it to look for a property. However, it does not reflect the full picture. First, we have an interface integrated with Google maps. Everything that you see in the mobile application is provided by Google and correlated with our database. Second, these maps are combined with radius, which means that you can easily mark the search area on the map. This is crucial, for it greatly simplifies the process of finding the office, commercial, and warehouse space. Last but not least, everything is integrated with landlords who get direct questions from tenants.
Despite the multitude of solutions applied, the search engine and the way tenants contact property owners are very simple. Making the whole process user-friendly was the biggest challenge. In order to achieve that, I had to change the programming team four times during a year and a half. Of course, I do not doubt that more technologically advanced products are created. The point is, however, that there are no such solutions in the world of commercial real estate. There is simply no other search engine such as the one offered by Realko. Moreover, this is just the beginning, because soon we will implement commercial real estate marketing automation and a number of advantages for tenats resulting from the so-called marketplace.