Philip Lang (’09) and David Walker (‘11), co-founders of Triplemint.
Philip Lang (ES ’09) is the co-founder of Triplemint, a real estate startup that’s taken NYC by storm. Triplemint is a technology-driven real estate company creating a better, data-driven experience for buyers, sellers and renters. Buyers use Triplemint to access off-market apartments and sellers can use the platform to generate more demand when they list. We asked Philip to tell us how he got Triplemint off the ground, and how his Yale roots helped get him there.
How did the idea for Triplemint come about?
My co-founder, David Walker (DC ’11), and I had both experienced the pain of moving to New York City and wanted to find a solution to what seemed like a very troubled, antiquated industry. We started out by getting our broker licenses and spent our first year helping friends buy and rent their apartments. After becoming experts on the real estate market, we began to scale the company by hiring technology and sales teams to automate processes and bring Triplemint to more people.
How do you find people to bring into your organization?
David and I both rowed on the Lightweight Crew Team at Yale, so the first people to help out with the company were actually fellow rowers who built our initial website. When we look to hire, we use a number of startup job platforms (like AngelList) and also rely on our own networks to bring in senior-level talent.
How did you obtain investors for your venture?
Our first check came from a Yale alum who was introduced to us by our lawyer (another Yalie). Raising money is a product of showing progress and vision to investors. The best way to do this is to develop a relationship with investors over time. When they get to know you and continue to hear positive updates about the company's growth coupled with your vision for the future, they're more likely to invest. I'd recommend never reaching out cold to an investor. Get an introduction from one of their current portfolio companies or someone else they respect so they'll consider you more seriously and take the meeting. The fundraising process can be exhausting because every company is going to hear "no" many more times than "yes," but all it takes is one yes to raise a round.
Did a liberal arts curriculum at Yale affect how you approach your business?
I was an economics major at Yale, but focused on behavioral economics in most of my classes, which is the intersection of economics and psychology. Behavioral economics is extremely applicable to building an effective website, in that a website is really just a series of experiments with the goal of getting someone to perform a certain action. When we think about ways to increase conversion rates of users, we are generally applying principals similar to those I studied in college.
How do you define success?
Success is a moving target. At a startup, the bar for success is always rising because you are trying to grow the company as fast as possible. One of my favorite quotes about success is from an entrepreneur who had just sold his company. He said, "10 years of hard work, and all of a sudden I was an overnight success."
What role has NYC or Yale played in your success?
I met my co-founder at Yale, our first investor was a Yalie and our attorney is a Yalie, so Yale has been a very important piece of our success since the start. We have a Yale Tech group in NYC that gets together every few months, and some of us meet in between to share notes about our businesses. I've found it to be a great support network where people are always willing to make introductions or give advice.
What advice would you give recent grads?
Don't be afraid to e-mail alumni. Yalies are more than happy to give advice or take a meeting.