2020 Interview with Abhiroop CVK from Hutsy (formerly FlareAgent)
February 25, 2020
By Barr Morgenstein
Hutsy (formerly FlareAgent) is all about stress-free home buying, empowered by a hybrid agent-tech process. We interviewed Husty’s co-founder Abhiroop CVK, and heard about his experiences in the entrepreneurial world and Hutsy’s evolution from idea to a company.
What do you know now that you wish you had known when you started out?
Focus on the biggest problem you have, then figure out a way to solve it (rather than the other way around). Nothing matters at the end of the day other than your business essentials – not the glam; not the press; not the fancy awards, none of that endures as well as a sustainable business.
Also, don’t limit yourself by what you achieve (through a company).
How have you adapted (pivoted) your ideas from your original vision?
We are now Hutsy.co (we were flareagent.com). We begun by selling automation and transaction management software to real estate agents, but we found that the larger underserved market lay with home buyers.
With the benefit of hindsight, what would you have done differently?
Focus straight on the customer segment we knew was facing the biggest problems (home buyers, as opposed to real estate agents).
Being unafraid of pivoting is important, though the balance between a business that isn’t working, and one that feels like it’s on the edge of working is a tough one to determine. The best advice we got with regards to this is “if you feel like you’ve run out of ideas to make this work, it might be a good time to consider the pivot”.
How do you measure personal success?
Being able to question if there is anything else I rather be doing/working on, and answering that there isn’t – feels fantastic. Constantly learning new skills, tackling new challenges, navigating new types of hurdles, they’re what I prioritize and am glad to be able to indulge in them.
What was the hardest part in the early stages of the start-up?
Dealing with my emotions. I have definitely grown a lot in being able to understand and become comfortable with myself. I used to be affected a lot by the high highs and the low lows, but what worked for me was to treat everything more as a neutral (regardless of how good or bad something felt like it was), because in most cases there is always another day with a new set of surprises.
From left to right: Rashid Aziz and Abhiroop CVK (co-founders)
What challenges do you anticipate having to overcome?
Challenges would never cease to exist, and if they did, all of this would not be fun anymore.
Ranging from execution challenges, to legal ones, there’s probably fewer things we absolutely will not be challenged by, than those that we will. But that’s what we’re here for, to solve challenges, and we love it.
What are the key positions/ requirements to your startups, at the beginning and along the way?
Right now, we are waiting on some certification/legal approval, very little of which can be sped up due to bureaucratic processes, so all we can do is wait. After our launch, if it goes as planned, we would shift gears into ‘growth’ mode, and begin marketing/hiring.
What is your opinion may encourage more women and underrepresented minorities to take part in the entrepreneurial world?
In my opinion, money; being able to afford the risk to start a startup. I wouldn’t have continued down this path if we hadn’t gotten funding. More investors ought to actively seek our minorities to fund.
Educational institutions should as well take part in the effort to change the mindset of younger students from thinking their only path to (financial) success is a professional job.
What is your opinion are the required steps to be taken for women/underrepresented minorities to have more leading roles?
Societal changes from an early stage (primary/secondary education). Financial incentives to take the leap of faith (over from a profession to entrepreneurship).
What advice can you offer anyone who wants to form a start-up?
Just go for it if you can afford to. You’ll either succeed, or learn a ton! Either ways, you’ll be far ahead of where you have begun!
Where do you see startups themselves needing the most improvement beyond
having a great idea?
Not limiting themselves, and realizing that the world is theirs, if they so choose to own it, but doing so in a socially responsible manner. Corporations (at some point) will face the question of whether their impact to society and environment around them is a good or bad one, and it is their responsibility to minimize the negative impact (Hutsy is already carbon neutral through ProjectWren.com).
Also, this is a personal opinion, but more work hours don’t necessarily translate into higher productivity. We have a rather strict 40 hours/week policy, and we shut laptops (and our minds wrt work) after our 10am-6pm Mon-Fri. Of course, some of the best ideas come in the shower or on walks, but stressing about something or relentlessly coding away while burning the midnight oil is very detrimental to your own health, and to the work culture around you, and even the company itself – this is a long game. Treat it as a marathon, not a sprint.
Are there any new features or milestones coming up for your startup?
Yes! We are preparing for a hard launch across a bunch of markets (LA, SF/Bay Area, Portland, Seattle, NYC, Austin, San Antonio). After having spent the past couple of months improving the product (based on initial feedback we got from our pilot launch in August), overcoming legal hurdles, and setting up infrastructure, we are almost ready for our nation-wide launch!