Meet Caren Maio, founder and CEO of Nestio. Founded in 2011, Nestio is a real time residential listings database for management companies and brokers. Caren graduated from Gallatin in 2007 with a concentration in Marketing and Brand Building and now spends her days running and growing the company.
Like many new New Yorkers, Caren hopped from apartment to apartment each year, each one further deepening her interest in the real estate industry and frustration with the industry’s analog documentation processes. Always knowing that she’d eventually have a company of her own, she “put in time” with big names such as Nike and the WSJ to solidify her sales and business development skills.
Caren's experience as a renter inspired her to develop a platform that streamlines the apartment search process for both landlords and tenants. Her dedication to modernizing the real estate industry has earned her recognition as a leader in the PropTech space. She was recently featured on the Elizabeth Leanza Realty One Group podcast, where she discussed the future of real estate technology and how it's transforming the industry. As Nestio continues to grow and innovate, Caren remains committed to improving the apartment hunting experience for everyone involved.
Just when the time was right, she left her job with an exciting idea in mind, and with her co-founders and their new CTO, was accepted into TechStars. Originally a consumer-facing product, Nestio is now a business-to-business service that helps brokers, real estate agencies, and landlords manage and share apartment listings in real time in order to more quickly fill vacancies.
This is Caren’s day-in-the-life:
6:30am: Wake up.
7:00-7:30am: Breakfast. For Caren, sitting down and eating breakfast is crucial to starting her day right. You’ll never find her eating on the run because breakfast is the one thing she “does for herself” every day. It’s her time to mentally prepare for the day and check the news - but not her email.
9:00-10:30am: Arrive at work and check in with the team. Whether it’s a one-on-one with a new member of the sales team, a conference call with partners, or a meeting with the dev team, Caren starts her day by getting a feel for where her team’s heads are at.
Over the past year or so, Nestio grew from a team of 4 to 8 and then grew again more recently to 12. This means that Caren spends much of her day fielding questions and helping build the team. Her employees love talking to her, and she enjoys helping them and making sure they’re happy and productive. By using Trello as an organizational system, Caren and her team can easily track product development, client requests, and bugs at any moment.
10:30-11:30am: Group meetings are crucial to Nestio’s work culture. On Mondays, the team sits down and discusses their product roadmap, client requests, and where they stand on their progress and to-dos.
11:30am-12:30pm: Preparation for the afternoon. If Caren has a meeting later in the day, she’ll get presentations ready including personalized demos for all potential clients. She’ll also research the person she’s meeting with to understand who they are, what they care about, what system they currently use.
12:30-1:00pm: Lunchtime. Her daily ritual to stop by Ashby’s to get a PB&J sandwich and a Diet Coke. Caren likes ritual, so she usually orders the same thing for a month at a time.
1:20-2:00pm: Caren prioritizes always being on time, or preferably early to all her meetings. For an Upper East Side client, Caren devotes a solid chunk of time to travelling to ensure that she’s arriving with time to spare.
2:00-3:00pm: Meeting with clients. Although Caren now has a sales team who typically runs their own client meetings, she still works closely with the early clients she brought on to Nestio’s platform.
3:00-3:15pm: Writes thank you emails for her previous meetings. Following up is important!
3:15-7:30pm: The afternoon and evening are peppered with meetings, such as company-wide meetings on Tuesdays and sales meetings on Fridays. She also finds the time to actually sit down and do her own work, catch up on emails and think strategically about what’s coming up next for Nestio.
7:30-9:00pm: Caren often goes out with her team or clients for drinks, dinner, or a summer party. She loves meeting with clients in off-hours for a more relaxed collaboration setting or just an opportunity to get to know them better.
9:20-10:00pm: Caren will get in her pajamas and catch up on life with Sara, and maybe watch one of their favorite shows. Right now, they’re obsessed with Orange is the New Black, House of Cards and Veep. They’ll have dinner (strictly a no-phone zone!) but Caren finds herself checking her email all the way up until she goes to sleep.
This is the first post in the Day in the Life series featuring NYU alumni entrepreneurs and their day-to-day lives as they grow their startup.