007: Ben Mizes (Co-Founder at Clever Real Estate)

Ben Mizes on Innovation City

“You should be thinking about, ‘What is the least amount of resources i can spend to get to the point where someone will pay me for what I’ve built?’” — Ben Mizes

Welcome to Innovation City, where Tyler Kelley and Michael Johnson, Co-Founders of SLAM! Agency, interview innovators, creators, and disruptors who are breaking through the status quo to change the way that business happens today.

Created and produced by SLAM! Agency in conjunction with Venture Cafe St. Louis and Venture Cafe Miami, Innovation City gives you an inside look at how rapidly business and culture are changing thanks to increasing diversity and inclusion, heightened creativity, and a stronger and better-connected business community.

Today’s guest is Ben Mizes, CEO and Co-Founder of Clever Real Estate, a full-service real estate agent that homeowners can use to list their homes for a flat fee. He is also the principal investor and Co-Founder of Arch Buyers, a real estate investment partnership. His experience in business development for institutional homebuyers, working at startups, and raising venture capital raising investments—combined with the incredible real estate opportunity he saw in St. Louis, MO—led to the development of Clever Real Estate with his Co-Founder, Jeremy Decker.

Ben blogs on Medium at @BenMizes, on Twitter at @BenMizes, and he can also be found on Bigger Pockets, a real estate investing site.

They discuss:

  • Working for equity
  • Launching Clever with a team of 4 who were all working part-time
  • How little money can you spend to prove your idea?
  • Proving your idea in stages
  • How to test ideas to prove viability
  • Don’t build something no one wants
  • Starting Clever for under $200, with 1 landing page and a few phone calls
  • How the real estate market has changed in the last 15-20 years
  • How real estate commission rates are changing
  • Why buyers will always prefer a human Real Estate Agent over an AI Real Estate Agent
  • The hardest thing about running any company
  • How to compete with massive competitors
  • Pitching to investors
  • Pitching to employees & selling your passion
  • Finding financial freedom thanks to real estate investing
  • Learning every job in your field to build the base of knowledge you need to be a better manager
  • Venture Capitalist Group
  • Capital Innovators
  • Bill Donius and other angel investors
  • House Hacking