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Investment App Inside: Expert Interview With Gene Linetsky, CTO at RealtyShares

Today we've prepared an ultimate tips-from-the-expert type of content. Recently, Apiko Team interviewed Gene Linetsky who’s the lead techie (CTO) at RealtyShares, a real estate investment company. We know what secrets of successful development methods Gene revealed to us, but how about you? Let’s not waste time anymore and learn about another success story created by the actual people.

Gene, you are a Chief Technology Officer at RealtyShares, real estate investment company. Could you tell us about the milestones of your career?
The three main areas of interest throughout my career were education, Internet security, and trading. Most of the startups I founded and co-founded since 2000 fall into one of these categories. Real estate is one of the last remaining asset classes that's still not tradable, and that's what I'm hoping RealtyShares makes possible.

I noticed that your real estate investment application is built on React js. How did you come to the decision to develop the app using this JavaScript framework? What kind of benefits and limitations of using React js could you point out (based on your experience)?
I discovered React at my previous startup, Versal. We even sponsored an education-focused meetup on React where one of its founding fathers, Pete Hunt, presented. The key benefit of React is in its unique ability to enable component-based Web apps, and React Native is probably the only viable methodology to bring app-level performance to the mobile Web.

Gene, let Apiko’s readers into the secret of your company’s internal business processes. Can you describe us how RealtyShares service has been developing over these years from the technical perspective? What significant RealtyShares features have you built?
RealtyShares powers all aspects of the investment process online, from deal sourcing to closing to asset management to exits. To that end, we've developed and deployed a set of internal and external services utilizing a number of platforms such as AWS and Salesforce. Our backend is based on the event log architecture, which enables fine-grained auditability and very high performance. It's written in C++ and based in part on an open source project Current. Our frontend is composed of a number of React modules comprising various areas of Web app functionality for both investors and real estate professionals.

In pursuit of the previous question, what are the top features the RealtyShares customers appreciate the most?
The ability to invest directly in a selection of handpicked real estate projects providing superior returns at a lower risk.

Speaking of your development team internal processes, could you share some app development best practices and how to develop the financial product roadmap, build new features, and set out the priorities? And overall, make your team work productively?
One of the most successful ideas we've implemented is the idea of a development pod: a small team of engineers and designers, usually headed by a product manager, who work very closely with their respective business stakeholders. For example, we have a 5-person development pod working on the asset management functionality we built into our Salesforce instance.

Some time ago you told us in your corporate blog that you are going to use machine learning to improve the leads conversion. Gene, please tell us more about this initiative? Did you achieve any positive result?
The initial results are very promising and the project is now deemed strategically important for the company. We've been able to make certain predictions about the behavior of our real estate partner companies that dramatically improved the number of deals each of our underwriters can process, resulting in much higher revenue per underwriter. The details are commercial secret.

From your professional perspective, could you suggest our readers the must-have features that should be implemented into any financial app?

Speed, reliability, and leading with the mobile version.

The outcome is that we can see how rich experience background and skills are pushing for the new ideas and give the world better app development methods and best practices that result in innovative products. Thank you Gene for the quick response and valuable opinion sharing.

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