GRELIS Bets The Farm, Ranch, And Beach House On The “Gig Economy”

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Real estate search engine GRELIS is betting that keywords will soon replace zip codes in the search process for global property listings as changes to both the traditional work environment and demographics spur a move towards a pure “gig economy.”

Tom Rapko has a crazy, simple goal; make his unknown, unfunded start-up GRELIS a success by providing real estate listing results based on keywords rather than zip codes. To that end, he has staked the success of the venture on his belief that society is moving towards a pure “gig economy,” an economic system defined by a laissez-faire corporate structure more focused on employee results than their physical location.

“Let’s face it, the dynamics of the traditional work environment have changed dramatically. Employees, or gig workers, increasingly work remotely, often from home, and this has caused a fundamental change in the housing search,” Rapko said. “Case in point, I recently read an article on Bali becoming a tech hub. I only see this trend increasing, and remote work can be really remote.”

GRELIS takes advantage of the growing relevance of the internet as the hub of the real estate search process. It squarely puts a bet on lifestyle interests trumping proximity to corporate headquarters for people choosing where to live. Rapko has identified this trend as strongest with Millennials and certain segments of Gen X. Oddly enough, Baby Boomers also fit into this trend, but for completely different reasons; they’re either downsizing or looking for vacation homes.

Rapko originally developed GRELIS to find real estate listings related to his passion for scuba diving; it was a classic case of not knowing what he didn’t know. He wanted to find out what other possible properties existed globally that included scuba diving in their descriptions. GRELIS was subsequently built as a search engine focused on keywords rather than zip codes. GRELIS provides users with lifestyle results, rather than a zip code service.

“Andy Warhol famously commented that in the future everyone will be famous for 15 minutes. I’d like add ‘and work from home.’ Why not absolutely love where you live, especially if you can live anywhere?” Rapko asked.

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Tom Rapko
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