Shrinivas Rao: Bringing Client Advocacy to the forefront in the Commercial Real Estate Services industry

Shrinivas Rao

Over the last decade, the business world has undergone a paradigm shift. Entrepreneurs can no longer just choose to follow in the footsteps of their predecessors but have to carve out a niche for themselves. They need to stand-out, have an opinion, and bring new “innovations” to set themselves apart.
One such leader, having the vision and determination to realise his ambition is Shrinivas Rao, the CEO of Vestian. Shrinivas is a huge part of shaping the current workplace solutions environment, as we know it today.  Starting his career at a stage when the industry was still in an incipient phase, he witnessed the anxiety and the many challenges corporates faced due to the lack of infrastructure, systems and professionalism. He then went on to play an active role when organized real estate teams started venturing into India and was a key contributor in establishing professional commercial real estate services. He was involved in setting up of several global IPC operations in South India, such as Colliers International and Cushman & Wakefield.
A management graduate with a civil engineering background, Shrinivas has a rich professional experience spanning over two decades. Post his tenure with Cushman, he went on to lead Equis as the country manager with a primary focus on establishing conflict-free occupier services business.  During his tenure, he was able to successfully establish Equis amongst the top four organizations in the country from a corporate real estate services business perspective. In the year 2006, UGL, a large Australian conglomerate bought over Equis. Shrinivas was required to relocate to Singapore as the COO – APAC and manage the business. However, after successfully running the business for many years, he realised that the current parent company UGL was diluting the focus from occupier solutions business model towards a more landlord related business model through various mergers and acquisition across the region.
It was at this juncture that he collaborated with Michael Silver, former owner of Equis, to form a real estate services company, with a core focus on tenant representation. The desire to create a conflict free occupier solutions business and to fill the gap between what was available in the market vis a vis the corporate requirement, led to the launch of Vestian in 2010, headquartered in Chicago. With an underlying philosophy of transparency and accountability, Shrinivas sought to bring about a change in the regular workings of the real estate environment.
He spent the next eight years setting up the foundation of the company and then going on to build a platform to become a niche leader in the space.  Being hands on till date, he oversees every aspect from recruitment to business development to project management, while ensuring the company achieves its revenue targets.
A Stellar Performer
One of its kind, Vestian is a contemporary workplace solutions firm that specializes in providing occupier-focused solutions to corporate end-users across emerging markets. As the only tenant representation firm in India, Vestian represents the interests of the clients alone. The benefit can be gauged through the revenue saving in terms of operation cost of the organization. Vestian is a member of the Indian Green Building Council and is the only workplace solutions firm that is certified in both quality management systems & environmental health & safety standards – ISO 9001:2015, ISO 14001: 2015 and OHSAS 18001: 2007. Over the past eight years, Vestian has brought the concept of client advocacy to the forefront, while introducing technology-driven solutions for better productivity.
His Inspiration
Shrinivas draws his inspiration from the famed architect, late Ms. Zaha Hadid. Her innovative approach, as reflected in all her designs, is a lesson that he learnt to apply in his day to day functioning and in every project. He believes that, “failure is a stepping stone to success” and one should learn from it, rather than shy away from it.
His Journey
Like any other profession, a career in commercial real estate, also has its ups and downs. What works is commitment, focus, attention to details and a persevering attitude. The industry is going through a sea of change and what has worked previously, need not be relevant in today’s context. One should never lose sight of the end-goal and constantly invest in oneself to stay ahead in the field.  Look at it this way, every experience is a learning – the trick is not to get carried away by success or be bogged down by setbacks.
To all Real Estate Professionals
His advice to the budding entrepreneurs is, “Being passionate and committed is the key to success in this industry. Success does not come overnight, so it’s imperative to be patient and persistent.” Knowledge and leadership are essential to each other. Hence, one should learn from the past and be positive about the future.
Exploring a New Direction
As the saying goes “Change is the only constant”, Shrinivas constantly strives to keep abreast of the latest trends and industry offerings. His dedication, contribution and innovative approach has led the company on a path of steady progress both in national and international markets.
Sharing his future plans Shrinivas said, “Currently, Vestian is a trusted name in South East Asia, but we are still at an early phase of our journey. We want to expand our reach to other major markets such as the United States and Europe and establish ourselves as a globally respected integrated workplace solutions firm.”
Source :-The 30 Inspiring Entreprenuers to watch in 2018

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