Aug. 25, 2021

Vaunt - the Complete Solution for Real-estate Business Management

Vaunt - the Complete Solution for Real-estate Business Management

In this episode of Innovators Can Laugh, I sat down with Irina Constantin, co-founder of Vaunt. We discuss her early learning struggles due to dyslexia, how she created and sold digital goods as a teenager on games like Sims, and why it's important to overcome thinking patterns that could prevent you from becoming the person you desire to be.

In this episode of Innovators Can Laugh, I sat down with Irina Constantin, co-founder of Vaunt. We discuss her early learning struggles due to dyslexia, how she created and sold digital goods as a teenager on games like Sims, and why it's important to overcome thinking patterns that could prevent you from becoming the person you desire to be. 


Hey, everyone. I hope you're all doing well. Enjoying the beautiful weather we're having here in bluegrass. This past weekend. kids. to a place called Cumana adventure park. Lovely. Fantastic. Lot of zip lining. Lots of good eating. A beautiful light there. If you haven't been there, highly recommend you check it out. If you are in the Bucharest area.

Before I forget if you haven't signed up for my newsletter. I go to innovators, Sign up. You're not going to want to miss this over the next couple of weeks, I'm going to be sharing some of the growth strategies. That we're implementing here at Bon Jura, which is a SAS company I work for based out of Australia, but we have customers globally.

Everywhere in the world. A lot of customers, small and mid sized businesses, as well as solo entrepreneurs. And I'll be sharing a few things that has worked for us and what hasn't worked well. In the next couple of newsletters that I will be sending out. Okay. Now getting next to my to my next guest Idina, Elena Constantine. She [00:01:00] is the GOCO founder of bond.

Let's go ahead and dive into the conversation. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Thanks.

Everyone. My guest today is Edina Alena, Constantine CEO, avant, which is an application that provides a complete solution for real estate business management, including statistics and reports, Irina, Elena, welcome to the show.

Thank you so much. I'm so happy to be here and a bit nervous because it's my first podcast ever.

oh, wow. Wow. We won't be that rough on you then. Okay. We'll take it easy.

Okay, thank you.

I thought we'd start off with some light fun questions just to get to know you better. Let's see. The first question here does ketchup belonged in the fridge.

oh, you got me on this one because I replied to you on Twitter. I don't think so, but. I place it in the fridge because it's a habit I've seen my parents do it, so I got it from them and [00:02:00] I put it in the fridge. But after I saw your Twitter posts, I took my ketchup out of the

Yes. Yes. I convert. I converted somebody. Yeah. Cause when you have something warm, like warm fries, why do you want cold? Catch-up on it. It doesn't make sense to me. Okay.

Yeah. Yeah.

Okay. All right. Keep spreading the message on that. The more people we get taking their catch up out of the fridge, the better this world would be.


okay. Promise. It's a promise.

right. Second question, pet peeves. What are some of your pet peeves that other people do that annoy you?

okay. People that don't get straight to the point when B want to tell you something.


Hi, let's do this and that. Okay. But what is the problem? What is the actual problem? Can you tell me specifically? I don't mind taking a feedback. I don't like people who just basically just [00:03:00] go around the solution, the problem, and I can figure out what's the problem.

Actually, that's one of my pet peeves. And another thing is that.

Th that's a good one right there, because we could devote an entire episode to that one. And, cause as soon as he said that there was three instances that I thought about first was somebody who works for you. And I thought, oh shit, they better have their shit together. Know, what they're going to say.

Know, what they want to convey and have a solution. Otherwise, it's going to be very rough working with you.

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I don't like people who always tell me that I'm right. I don't like to do that. I want to be around people from, where I can learn about different things and different points of view. And. I don't want them to tell me that I'm right. That I'm perfect.

That I'm wonderful. It's okay. Compliments are fine, but I also want to learn a different perspective.

got it. Yeah. The other two instances I was [00:04:00] thinking about. As an investor who doesn't come straight to the point and says either yes or no, I'm going to invest at you. That must be frustrating. And then the other thing too, is like the dating scene, somebody who wants to ask you out, but they're trying to do it in a way where they're not speaking Frank or so direct. That's the other instance I thought of.

Yeah. Yeah. And I was thinking about the fact that we're, at least from what I've been told is that females don't get straight to the point. And I was like, you haven't met me.

Okay. That was good enough. Let's move to the next question. Unless you have another pet peeve you want to share that you think

No, that's it. These are my biggest,

Okay. Third question. What celebrity would you be super nervous to?

I'm not sure. I will be super nervous to meet. And I will tell you why is that? I don't believe in the concept of putting someone on a pedestal. I believe that everybody has a hero journey. Let's put it that way. Like Steve, Steven [00:05:00] Pressfield says, and we all go through different things. And just because you have a larger audience, doesn't make you very different from other people.

I like to see people for what they are. Not for what the media says they are. So I'm not sure I would be nervous. I would probably excited to meet people. I follow in line, but not freaked out about it.

okay. Good answer. I feel like you, I can never understand why some people buy a Jersey, for like their favorite athlete or somebody they liked because it has that person's name on the shirt. And they're wearing that person's name on the shirt. And I never could understand that I can get behind a team, but never like an individual person.

probably, because I think some people aspire to be like certain people and they think that by wearing a certain thing they did or a brand they might get or embodied that person's [00:06:00] life or way of being depending on what they admire.

Yeah. I agree with that. Okay. All right. Tell me about your childhood.

I, for, from not the very rich family, I was pretty poor. Let's put it that way. Not a very small town. I was born in Sinaia and then we moved to , which is a very small town. Pretty close to Bucharest. Let's put it that way. And let's say that the environment wasn't very tailored to women can do certain things.

Women seem to have a paved a way of just finishing your studies, maybe getting married, having some kids. But I always wondered, I remember as a small child, I always asked a lot of uncomfortable. I was the why kid. I was the why kid. I remember I was like three or four years old and I would ask my mom is God, a man or [00:07:00] a woman.

And my mom was like, W, and I was wondering who, who made the universe? Why are we here? And sometimes I put my parents in difficult situations because I would ask a lot of wise and have very existential questions about life in general. So I guess that my curiosity towards different things led me up to this path because I always wanted to learn more.

That's that was my thing. I remember. When I started reading and I got comfortable with reading, because at first I had a struggle with a bit of learning because I have a tiny bit of dyslexia. So it was hard for me to learn certain things. But after I started reading, I was so into it. And then I started learning more and more because we didn't have the internet at all.

Age, but when I discovered the internet for me, it was my thriving period.

okay. So this drive, or this [00:08:00] curiosity to want to learn more and ultimately want to be an entrepreneur. Did that come from somebody close to you? Like in your family, it was there like a parent or maybe an aunt or uncle, or is this something that you think. Wait a minute. I got this just out of my curiosity.

This is the way I was born. Or did somebody instill those traits?

I think that's your background definitely has an impact on you and. I didn't have entrepreneurs around me. Like they were people with regular jobs, but I remember I was four or five and looking at movies and I would see all these movies settled in New York with the big business buildings. And I remember there was an act.

Who dressed very businessy or the light professionally can remember the movie though. And I said, mom, I want to be that person one day. And from then one I started starting to do different kinds of things. I remember I. There was 2008 and, [00:09:00] there were some financial issues back then.

And I tried to find ways to make money on my own because I applied for jobs and I was 15 and 16 and nobody would reply to my applications, to my applications. It was something that started in me because I know I didn't have a lot of possibilities when I was young and I wanted to have them and create the opportunities for myself.

What were some of the ways you tried making money when you were 15, 16?

Four. I started learning Photoshop back then and started designing two D and then 3d items in 3d studio, max and Maya and started selling them online. I played simps in second life. Yeah. I used to make things and sell them online. I did digital painting as well. And with price myself really low because I didn't know the market well, but I still made money.

yeah. When you're [00:10:00] starting out, you just want to get that experience and get your first client, so yeah. Price yourself low, but then over time you get to raise those rates. So you have this design and tress. And what did you study in school? What field did you go to?

I went into basically science and maths. I graduated, I'm an engineer at with a major in artificial intelligence. But I always had this thing when I wanted to combine logic with creative creativity. So I didn't stick to just being a programmer. But I always was always into problem solving. So that's why brought me to this path where I could use both of let's say my skills, the technical and the creative one.

 Got it. Okay. So you're at university is. You've taken your first job, but when did you realize you wanted to co launch your own agency or your own company? I think it [00:11:00] was called brand year, which helps companies PIR, which helps companies with their branding, improve or create a new brand.

At what point did you realize, Hey, let me start my own.

Since 16 and I tried to do my own thing. And I remember at 18 or 19, I got my first internship in a gaming company because I love games so much because it was also about problem solving there. And I remember I was thinking, okay, I finished a censorship. What to next? And I always wanted to do something that is Mayan.

I said, okay, where are my skills? Where can I put my skills? I cannot make a gaming company because I don't have all the skills, but I know a lot about marketing because I've spent the past few years making products and selling them. And I understand what the consumer wants. So let me help other companies show that to their consumers.

Because at that time there. Brands here in our country were very into their [00:12:00] personal branding, not the big ones, the small ones, the medium ones. when I got to my co-founder and said, And another person would say, let's do this together. You have the technical skills, which are the best I have the ideas and how we can discuss with the clients and see what we can do for them.

And that was history.

okay. Okay. What do you think most people get wrong about branding when it comes to design?

that you just make a logo and put it there, they just fixed some colors and put it there. And that's branding.

That's not what you do.

No, it's not. You need to start with a set of values that your company has, that your brand wants to transmit. Not through only the name, the logo. But your mindset in general, basically you want to create a brand obsession from the beginning, not from so you know where [00:13:00] you're going, who your customers are how you want to make them feel like and all of these things.

Okay. Okay. After that, you then co-founded aesthetic works. It's like this auditing software development, a little bit of branding and marketing wrote into one, but then soon after you launched bond, which is this application that responds to the needs of real estate developers and agencies and these agencies. Maybe they're just starting their business or maybe they have years of experience, but you've got this complete solution for the real estate business management. When did you realize there was a need for vaunt?

When we started the aesthetic works, we went to different people and design and produce different solutions for them to organize their businesses. And we had a lot of clients from the real estate industry. Because we penetrated a niche that needed help because there weren't very into tech back [00:14:00] then they didn't have much of an idea of branding and the way we presented it, we gave them the perspective, what, what will happen in the future.

And then we noticed some. Patterns in the industry and needs. And then we searched and followed and see that the needs are similar in every country. So let's say, okay, let's do something accessible for them. Something easy to understand and give them their power back and empowered the realtors to be excited about what they do.

Because in the end, we all, both of us right now, we're living in a building, whether it's an office space where it's a home and we need shelter for all our lives and they need to take pride in that.

okay. And what was the hardest part about this process of beginning to [00:15:00] create Vons?

Firstly, we have to understand the markets really well. And I think that's an issue for all the startups, because you can have great ideas, but you'd need to be consumer centric. You need to understand the needs and the services you're providing to be for the consumer, for your customer, not for yourself or just for managers.

And that's the issue. Management systems have in general, they are made for managers where we're giving that power back to the individually.

okay. What are some of the tools and resources, that you share with anybody who's going down this journey as an entrepreneur? Some tools and resources that you like working with that you like using not necessarily related to the real estate industry, but I'm thinking about what kind of advice would you give to anybody else wanting to pursue the path that you're going.

 You need to like learning. That's the first thing. That's the [00:16:00] basis. You don't need to go in a room and think you're the smartest. If you go in on a room and you think you're the smartest out there, there's an issue. Whether with your ego or would the room you're sitting in, you need to have a passion for learning.

And of course for failing, because you need to do a lot of mistakes and have a lot of failures, because what I've told you right now seems like a highlight reel, but it's been very hard to get to this point and you need to build your resilience by trying and trying again and again, but also actively listening to your customers and other people who have experience in the industry.

okay. Who has been one of your favorite bosses or mentors in the past? Did you have any, because sometimes some people don't, I'm just wondering if you had it.

it's funny that you say that I didn't up to. Recent, but [00:17:00] I get, I could say I had like indirect mentors, which, which has been people from books even online personalities that I follow that are either in the VC world. Can I say an

sure I say some of the books, some of the podcasts or any anybody.

Yeah. For instance, Gary tan he has an amazing YouTube channel regarding startups. I also enjoy Justin Kahn and his personality is just hilarious. He's the co-founder of Twitch and what I liked from the productivity and like the management system. Getting in your life, it's Mac the Avila.

Not sure if you're familiar with him.

No, but I have to check.

He's more towards the mindset of a minimalism looking into things that matter. So it's more of a, my values like that. And a lot of books I try to read a lot of books. I follow the podcast of Tim Ferris that I know it's wildly popular. [00:18:00] And he has very interesting guests and in terms of emotion and leadership, I enjoy Brenda Brown a lot because I believe in leading with emotion and vulnerability and making a difference.

And these are, let's say my indirect mentors as well.

no, I love it. I love it. . And what are some of the books that you've kept, maybe they're on your bookshelf and you've gone back to, maybe a few times just to go look at some of the parts you highlighted or

 Reread again? Are there any books that come to mind?

Yes. First one is true dog by Phil Knight. It's the biography of the Nike founder, because he had the various. Interesting and long journey to get where he is. And that's very inspiring because it was one of the most realistic [00:19:00] invulnerable biographies I ever read. And which, because you general, you don't get the behind the curtain speech.

And the other one that I really enjoy is the war of art by Steven Pressfield, which is related to creativity and the hero's journey. I'm not sure if you're familiar with his work, but I highly suggest if you're looking into creative field or you have a creative you're stuck creatively, you should totally check him out.

okay. Okay. A couple other questions for you. Leisure. What are some mistakes you made early in your career? Looking back.

Not trusting my gut. It's one of them because you think you're an experience and at the beginning, and you just need to learn, but actually sometimes your gut is good. Not paying attention to where I put my time, because one of the things that we miss out is that we talk about money a [00:20:00] lot in the venture capitalism and startup world.

Billions of dollars, but at the end of the day, we all do it for a purpose, which is to gain more time because we're going to die. That's the motivation. Older companies in general, if you ask why? What everybody needs to take into consideration is that you need to be extremely aware of your time.

If you choose to invest your time in one thing, it's you are actually saying no to a lot of others. Yeah.

absolutely agree with you. Whenever I look at a decision that I need to make, I usually consider time and health to be at the very top. And then after those two, I'll look at the money aspect, but, for example, I'll look at a daycare for my kid. It may be the daycare that's around the block that I could walk to is pretty expensive. And I could choose another one, but I have to get in my car, go into Bucharest traffic. That's going to take me at least 30, 45 minutes each way, but it's a lot cheaper. I won't even, I wouldn't even second guess [00:21:00] myself get the more expensive one because time and health.


a sense that I'm not going to get anxiety or stressed out by having to drive in traffic.

And so it's not even, it's not even a tough decision for me. And I think a lot of people, unfortunately, they evaluate decisions based on money. And it's no, you got to look at time. You're never going to get back money. You can lose, but you can get it back time. You'll never get back. How well does the big thing always consider how much stress is this going to cause me how much, anxiety or whatever, if I can remove that anxiety or stress, that's another big factor.

It's more important than money in most cases, but it's so great to to see someone like you so young, who's already aware of that and your decision making, the timeline.

It took me a while. And the entrepreneurship journey encouraged me to get up to displace because if you don't overcome or override your thinking patterns, your old [00:22:00] thinking Bathurst inherited from your parents or. If you come, let's say from a family that is not that rich or had money issues, you don't need to let that follow you into your adult life.

That's why most of the people make decisions based on money, not time.

Yeah. Yep. Yep. What does a typical day look like for you?

Okay. So when I wake up typically to between seven or eight. I tried waking up at five, but that was. That was a journey. And then the, I used to open my laptop and answer to the emails, but I realized quickly it's not a good thing for me. So I take out my daily stoic journal and try to write in it every day.

Journaling is one of the things that helped me the most, the past years being contacted with myself and figure out where I want to go next. And then I try to meditate sometimes I don't. Then I grab [00:23:00] a cup of coffee and then get ready, put on makeup and get ready for work.

We ha we have the same morning routine except the the makeup part.

You use the daily stoic journal or do you

I take that back. I'm usually at before five, and then the first thing I'll do is I'll go into my journal, but I don't journal in the sense, like I write about my thoughts. I really just write about what I'm grateful for, and that could be something as simple as. Oh, Benita is here to help out, this week with our kids, something as simple as that.

Or maybe, Hey, we're having nice weather, which means, more time outdoors or something. It's just the little things that you can think about what you're grateful for. And then sometimes like you, I don't necessarily meditate, but I'll do deep breathing exercises for five minutes. And then I usually go for either a run around HEDIS Stroh lake, or I'll go to the gym and then I come back and then I have my coffee and kind of start the morning that way. But yeah, very similar morning that you and I have. So other question for [00:24:00] you what's the one thing I should have asked you about vaunt, but.

where does Vaughn come from? What's the name? What's the meaning.

So what's the name? What's the meaning there?

Okay. Two vaunted means to you. Brag about something to to be proud of what you do. And when we came up with the concept, the product, wasn't a management product, for instance, it was like, what are the values that I want my customer to have in their life? And. What I think is that we're being very harsh on ourselves and we should take more pride in what we do and the jobs that we do, because our jobs in everything that we do every day has an impact in the world.

Even if it's small, you have an impact. If you help someone buy a house or rent a place, you are helping that person [00:25:00] start. Do you journey? The way or you live in the space you're in, I'm not sure how you feel about it, but for me, it's very important to, to feel great in that space so I could work and perform well and have a good life.

gotcha. Gotcha. Okay. And Elena, thank you so much for being on this show. I had such an excellent time.


if everybody wants to learn more about you, obviously they can go to Von dot aro, but. Somewhere else that they can go to learn more about you.

Yeah, I you can find me online under the name, the raw scientist. I even have a weekly newsletter where I send out tips and tricks about entrepreneurship things I've been through and even struggles.

All right. Everybody, thank you so much for listening and I will see you again next week and goodbye. And.

Thank you so much. Bye bye.

Hey, thanks for listening to the show. If you [00:26:00] enjoyed it, I really appreciate it. If you could give us a review. And a star rating on Spotify or apple podcasts. Also, don't forget to sign up for the ICO newsletter. At innovators,, where you can get a weekly update on the details of each guest, along with show notes. And then also I'll be sharing some tips and tricks that we do for growth hacking at Bon Jura, which is the SAS company I work for. Thanks again. Cheers.