Featured Founder: Jimmy Chan of Odyssey 3D
Introducing Jimmy Chan! What does your startup offer?
Odyssey 3D provides a single-property platform for real estate agents to stand out from competition, increase their buyer and seller leads, and justify their commission. We use cutting edge technology to capture both visuals and depth of the home. The information gathered from the properties are then processed and edited through a cloud-based software. It produces a 3D showcase of the home.
Many other companies offer similar products, what sets Odyssey 3D apart from its competitors?
Our competitors are technically using an upgrade of photography; essentially using panoramas of the properties. This gives a disconnected and laggy experience for the user, and usually only lasts around 40 seconds.
Odyssey 3D recreates the feeling of walking through the house by capturing the depth and all the visual elements. It allows for a seamless interface.
Before this, what did you do, and how did you transition?
I was a university student curious about exploring the world and piecing together my education in a way that fit my curiosity. I was attending the Schulich School of Business with a full scholarship. During my second year, I felt uncomfortable and unsatisfied with what I was learning. I took a big leap and forfeited my scholarship and took 16 months off of school.
I booked a one-way ticket to live in a rural village in Guatemala highlands. This trip was my first exposure to experiential-education. I farmed coffee with civil war combatants, worked for a non-profit and even interviewed the past Guatemalan president on coffee politics.
I came back to school and structured this experience into a formalized course that students could enroll in. I came back hungry to learn about the world, but I still felt trapped in the traditional structure of university. This went on for about another year.
During my last year of University, I took a trip with a few engineers to Israel to study technology entrepreneurship. Israel produces 7X more entrepreneurs than any other country and I wanted to understand why. During my time in Israel, I explored the world of technology through the lens of real estate, and this is how the idea of Odyssey 3D came about. I teamed up with my engineering friends and we pitched the idea to a group of investors at the Israel Google Campus.
We came back to Canada and this has been a full time project since.
What is your everyday schedule like?
It really depends on the day. Some days, I have my technician hat on, and others I wear my businessman hat.
As a technician I take care of the daily operations, such a generating new leads and managing accounts. On days where I am wearing my businessman hat I continue to develop a framework to train future technicians. The framework is meant to explain the process as simply as possible. On those days I will also spend much of my time planning long-term strategy.
Where do you find inspiration?
I love reading, but I find it very difficult to finish a book in its entirety with my busy schedule. I have found myself frustrated because I can be a slow reader. I recently discovered that I digest books much faster through audiobooks. The books I listen to are generally surrounding the subject of business or philosophical questions I may be pondering.
Similarly, I enjoy listening to podcasts. Two of my favourite podcasts at the moment are The Tim Ferris Podcast and the Brian Buffini Show.
What are the biggest challenges or obstacles you’ve faced as an entrepreneur?
This question pertains to the best advice I’ve been given. My mentor once told me that my first responsibility if not my company, but me. By that he meant, I am Odyssey 3D. If I crash, the company crashes.
It is hard to manage energy and momentum, there are some weeks where I put in 70-80 hours of work a week, but eventually burn out. My biggest challenge has been finding the balance. I have found exercise and meditation has helped.
What is the most important key to success in your field?
Real estate is one of the last industries to have been disrupted by technology. The reason being that people in this industry are very traditional. Odyssey 3D is an innovative solution to an existing market challenge. The key to succeeding with innovation in this field is communicating how this product will solve problems. It’s about asking the right questions, and positioning your solution to match them.
What is your experience working with Now Creative Group?
It has been phenomenal. They designed a website that is simple and engaging. As far as the team goes, they are very professional but also personal. They took the time to learn about my industry and were always a phone call away.
What is your goal within the next 5 years? Where would you like to be?
I’d like to be able to develop a business model suitable for massive scaling, whether that be franchising or internal growth.
What is the best thing about being an entrepreneur?
You work with a purpose that is 100% representative of who you are. It is the ultimate form of self-expression in business.
What is your favourite quote?
It’s a quote by Seymore Schulich, coincidentally; my school was named after him. I am paraphrasing this, but it goes a little like:
“I am one of two things; I am either confident that I am right, or confident that I am wrong, I am never unsure.” — Seymore Schulich
I look up to his confidence, and this is something I continue to work on as an entrepreneur.