As we step into the new year, our CEO Roey Dor took a look back at 2021 and reflected on his personal journey guiding the Obligo ship through a pandemic. How has work changed for him and the team? What trends does he see in the real estate industry in 2022? And in case you need a little inspiration, Roey also shared some valuable advice he received in 2021.
This article was originally published in the New York Real Estate Journal.
What was the biggest lesson you learned while working during the pandemic?
The world is much more technologically advanced than I had realized. If you had asked me before the pandemic to assess how functional the world would be if everyone quarantined at home for a full year, I would say that almost every company in the world would collapse within a relatively short period of time. In retrospect, we were much more prepared for this reality than we had realized. There are already technologies to enable an effective, fully remote working environment – we were just unaware of how robust online communications have become.
How has your working environment changed over the last year?
This year, we became accustomed to working remotely and made investments to ensure a more comfortable and productive remote environment. But we also got too used to being alone. Many employees actually prefer working from home and feel more efficient doing so. Could it be that we don’t remember what it was like to work in the office, and forgot the benefits of face-to-face interactions? Are we sacrificing effectiveness for efficiency? This is why we decided to encourage and incentivize employees to return. I believe the hybrid mode is the right balance to fully realize the benefits of remote and in-person work, and it’s here to stay.
What was your greatest professional accomplishment or most notable project, deal, or transaction in 2021?
The most notable achievement in 2021 was our $35 million series B funding round. We were able to demonstrate incredible growth during the pandemic, and prove that our unit economics can withstand the kind of stress testing that only catastrophic events like a global pandemic can present. With this new funding in place, we intend to scale our operations, expand geographically and bring more innovative products to our customers.
What are your predictions for your industry in 2022?
Predicting the future is becoming harder and harder because everything is accelerating around us. This change is driven by technological advancements, but it’s no longer limited to tech companies. As for proptech, we’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg. We believe that the rental experience will change dramatically over the next few years – it should and will become more similar to a hotel check-in process. This is why we’re investing energy and money in developing the underlying technologies that will eventually power this experience. I believe that property owners and managers who get a headstart in adapting to this reality will enjoy clear competitive advantages for years to come.
What is the best advice you received in 2021, and who was it from?
The best advice I got this year was from Tomer Tagrin, founder and CEO of Yotpo. I was consulting with him on different ways to tell the Obligo story. Storytelling is an important part of my role as CEO and I find myself telling it quite often in meetings with potential investors, partners or employees. He said, “Instead of telling your company’s story from the perspective of the company or the founders, focus on your customer stories. Present the problem your customers are facing and how you helped them solve it. This will not only simplify the story in most cases, but also make it more memorable and relatable to the average listener.”
About Roey Dor
Roey Dor is the co-founder and CEO of Obligo. A former F-16 fighter pilot in the Israeli Air Force, he took his learnings in the military into the world of business. Roey has been a serial entrepreneur, previously focusing on hospitality and real estate development. Born in New York and grew up in Tel Aviv, he returned to the U.S. in 2018 to found Obligo with his brother Omri Dor. Roey and the Obligo team are on a mission to build trust between renters and landlords using financial technology.
To learn how Obligo can help streamline your leasing and accounting operations, improve your competitive advantage and power a better renter experience, get in touch with us today!