#1 App for Real Estate Investors | DealMachine Origin Story
Elise: I don't think I've ever actually asked you this question. I know why you created DealMachine originally because you were driving for dollars and it was frustrating. Why continue that as a business?
David: Well, thankfully it became a business, but that wasn't the point. Originally, I just wanted it when I was looking for those rundown houses.
I spent about a month driving around writing down the addresses. I actually felt that I missed out on a deal because I drove by one of those houses three weeks later and there was a construction crew out there. I was like, "oh, I think this is on my list". So then I looked it up, and I hadn't been looking up the addresses because I was trying to build my list to be big enough so that I could batch just look up all of them at one time.
I saw that it had just changed hands. Then there was a construction crew out there and I was like, "
Damn it!", you know, I missed out on this because I wasn't following up. I wasn't doing my part.
So then I kind of set out to look them all up, and I was just like, Well, this takes a lot of time to do you know?
So then as a software developer, very next weekend, I was like, there should be a simple way to do this. I should be able to pin the house and it should tell me who owns the house. It should integrate with the county records to do that, and then I should also be able to press a button and have the mail printed out and sent for me.
So I set out to build a really basic version of the app I just described, and it was just for me. It was just used by me for like six months before anybody even knew about it or before it was on the App Store.
What ended up putting it on the App Store was, I had a friend named... well two friends, Brittney Wicks. She lives in Texas, but she was coming to Indianapolis every month and she actually was here to buy 30 houses every month.
I was like, that's pretty great, that is a lot of houses. I went to her meetup because she would host a meet-up every month as well, and I showed her the app and she's like, "Oh, I'll try that!".
She's like, "I know driving for dollars works, but it's always been a hassle, and that's why I haven't done it before." With my volume, you know, it's just too much time. So she's said, "I'll spend $1,000 to try any new marketing method".
I was just like, "great", and I didn't even have anything acceptable to accept a payment. So, I set up a stripe account to manually charge her card.
That was a big moment of like, "Ok, this could be a business".
Then, my friend, Alain wanted to try it too. It's kind of hard to get it on everyone's phone because I developed it on my computer, so I just put it on the app store so then he could just download it.
It was not super user-friendly at the time because I just made it for myself, you know? But then it was on the App Store and then because it had the word driving for dollars and the keyword, a ton of people just started finding it.
Fortune Builders was the first group of people who had found it organically and then just talked about it.
Then we started to get signups in. My time was quickly overtaken by getting on the phone with the signups, and I had to walk them through how to use the app because it wasn't user-friendly.
I contacted my good friend Dave Oster, who's my business partner, and I was like, "Hey, I need help. You're better at developing software than me. So can you remake it?"
That's how we decided to actually form Deal Machine as a business at that time.
Elise: Now you've evolved to a 40 plus person company.
About Elise Knaack
Elise is the Head of Marketing at DealMachine. She manages all media to help our members learn more about real estate investing and how to use DealMachine to scale their business fast.