Monday, February 12, 2018

Jesse Vaughan (LS ’09, CAS ’11), 30 Under 30 Education 2018 Honoree and Co-founder of Landed

Jesse Vaughan
Jesse Vaughan is a co-founder of Landed, a startup that helps educators become homeowners near the communities they serve. He shared his experiences as an NYU student and his advice for alumni looking to create their own startup businesses.

What did you study at NYU?

I majored in Economics and minored in Politics and Business. If I were to go back in time, I would have taken more more courses, particularly in life sciences and/or Computer Science. Most of all, I miss the greenfield feeling of studying as an undergrad. After I left school, I realized how much of a privilege the experience of university is. 

What's your favorite memory of NYU?

No singular moment stands out in my NYU memory, however, collectively, the experiences studying in Prague stand out among my most cherished memories. I really made some great friends there and the feeling of being a part of a small community that was different and special, in an unfamiliar sea of language and culture, helped me define a personal identify.

Did you know what career path you wanted to take while you were a student at NYU?


Plain and simple -- no. For that matter, I still don't know. I think we're all discovering it as we go.

How did you become involved in real estate?

Early on, my grandfather introduced me to some concepts of real estate investing. Later, my first real, hands on experience was working on a set of project finance deals in Myanmar. I had a wonderful mentor who gave me room to succeed (or fail) in ways that had major impact.

What was the inspiration behind Landed?

My co-founders and I had the same itch to scratch -- how do we want to buy a home? More intellectually, I was curious why I could not purchase a home the same way we financed a $500M real estate deal in Myanmar, that is, with both debt and equity. Landed is bringing equity to to the home purchase.

How has Landed grown since it started in 2016?

When we first started Landed, in many ways, our greatest challenge was building credibility. Could we convince just a few homebuyers to entrust us with their single biggest investment? Could we get investors to see that shared equity in residential real estate is the way of the future? At the time, it was just my two co-founders, Jonathan, Alex, and me. Today, Landed is a team of 10 and in many ways, the challenges remain the same. We are taking on a ~$25 trillion dollar market and need a lot of capital to do it. Instead of convincing just a few homebuyers to trust us, now it's thousands. Instead of just a handful of investors, it's major institutions who allocate billions of dollars of capital. We now have some credibility but maintaining personal, true north is as much of a practical question as it is emotional.

Do you have any advice for alumni looking to create their own startup businesses?

Learn as much as you can from great teachers (inside of school and out). Retain humility and pick your partners carefully.

What is next for you?

So many adventures to come! At the moment, I'm training for my first triathlon and working on developing more content to share with the world.



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