C.K. Mack is a Montana based startup about launch beta which will eventually allow any user to invest in rental real estate with as little as $25. Beta will be open only to accredited and institutional investors only. The eventual functionality after beta will also allow any user the option of using the “sell now” button, making the investments liquid.
We had a chance to talk to the folks at C.K. Mack about the site as well as their advice for other entrepreneurs and here’s what they shared with us:
How’d you come up with the name for your company?
C.K. Mack is a combination of one of the founder’s initials and one of the founder’s names. We wanted something that had the respectable feel of an established investment company with the potential for being hip.
What’s the very first thing you do at work everyday?
The first thing we do when we get together is find out how everyone’s evening went; typically over food. We then check the master list of tasks and make a plan of attack for the day, comparing schedules, coordinating meetings, and divvying up assignments and responsibilities.
How many people did you start the company with and how many people work for you now?
We started the company with three people. We recruited a technical co-founder, and now we have four people.
Remember the early days starting up? Maybe you can share one anecdote that describe the struggle you went through?
We’re still in the early days, so those memories are fresh. Our biggest struggle is agreeing on our web design—we sometimes communicate directly to the web designer and end up contradicting one another and confusing our tech guys.
How do you handle frustration?
We deal with frustration by arguing. Three of the founders are all in one place and we meet daily, so everyone gets to air his opinion over whatever the crisis of the hour is. Eventually we all feel like we’ve been heard and understood, and that allows us to move on and take action. Often when faced with difficult or frustrating decisions (like where to have lunch), we’ll turn to the Magic 8 Ball that hangs out in the office.
What’s your office environment like?
Our office environment is flexible, but tends toward traditional. We work with desks in an open room. A large map with our property locations dominates one wall; whiteboards take up space on a couple of other walls. We have an orange office cat; she hangs out in her window seat.
How do you picture your company in 5 years?
In five years C.K. Mack will be the biggest landlord in the U.S. We will have expanded from simply offering online investors the chance to invest in the cash flow of rented real estate to letting them invest short term in property flips, amplifying the return on their investment by allowing the same money to be reinvested over and over. Our clients will earn nice interest on their money while their principal is secured by a high equity, appreciating, insured asset; our website will have a great user interface and serve client needs intuitively and promptly; and our property management system will be automated. In addition to investing in cash flow and profit, our clients will have the opportunity to fund mortgages through a peer-to-peer lending platform.
Who or what inspires you?
I’m inspired by my team. I know, the only thing cheesier to say would be that I’m inspired by my family, but for the most part my team is comprised of my family, so I did basically say that. All that arguing gets the brain going, though, and fuels us to larger ideas and bigger actions.
How’d you fund this venture?
We’re self-funded by the money that we made through our real estate investments.
Got any great bootstrapping tips for the lean startups out there?
Knowledge is potential power. The more you know, the less you’ll have to do over, so test and verify, then move on.
What would you be doing if you had one year off and $500,000 to spend?
I’d set up a local micro-loan fund for small businesses and mentor people through taking their companies to the next level.
Do you consider yourself a successful entrepreneur right now? If not, what’s it gonna take to make you feel successful?
Each day we get up and make stuff happen is a success. Part of being an entrepreneur is never arriving. If I ever feel like I’ve got it made, I’m probably doing something wrong.
Website you couldn’t live without and why?
Pinterest. I’m very visually-oriented, so it’s a great way for me to categorize and save things I’ve come across in my web travels.
Mobile App you’re in love with and why?
Cohuman. It’s how we keep our master list of tasks under control. Everyone on the team can sign in no matter where they are and check the list of things that need to be accomplished, check off tasks as they complete them, or add things (and assign them!) that need to be done.
Dogs or cats?
Cats. That’s pretty much a given, as we don’t want to insult Tommie, the office cat.
iOS or Android?
Number 1 country you’ve always wanted to visit but haven’t yet?
Scotland. Castles, rolling green hills, great accents—how have I not visited?
What’s the greatest thing about your company?
C.K. Mack lets people make a solid return on their money while their principal is backed by appreciating, insured real estate—and that’s pretty great!
Where can our readers get ahold of you?