3 Part Series On Startup Failure: Part 2, Execution

Entrepreneurship & Science


2008: The Markets Collapse, An Opportunity Emerges

In the Fall of 2008, I was sitting in Berlin, glued to the BBC TV station, watching hourly reports of the NYSE dropping at record levels. This was the unraveling of the US financial system that eventually spread like a malignant cancer throughout the global financial community. It was surreal.

During this time, my soon-to-be-cofounder of our second business together was working at a commercial real estate consulting firm in San Francisco. Their firm was booming by taking advantage of California Proposition 13, which enabled owners to calculate property tax based on current market value. This was especially useful during the post-2008 financial meltdown, as many people had purchased homes at the peak of the real estate bubble pre-2008, and were paying property tax on a higher value than they should have been.

For example, if I had bought a house in…

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