The essence of the American Dream is that anyone can work hard and achieve great heights, even when they come from humble beginnings as Mike Koshatko has. Today, Mike has a flourishing Real Estate tech business, Ofirio, that makes finding, evaluating, and purchasing geat properties fast and seamless. On top of that, Mike and his partner, Jurgis Plikaitis, has established and grown Arteza—a massively successful arts and crafts supply company.
Mike was born and raised in Ukraine. As he discovered his internal urge to see and do more than his home environment had to offer, Mike set out to travel and challenge himself in uncharted territories. That’s how he first came to the US in 2008 as part of an international student program.
Mike comments: “I remember that time as both very exciting and very tough. I scored a job in landscaping where I was literally digging holes in the ground for $7 per hour. But, it was thrilling to know that I could make my own money in a foreign country, that was all so new to me.”
Over a year later, Mike had a dozen different jobs, traveled through several states, crossed the North Carolina forest on foot for 8 hours, and lived in a single student dorm room with three friends. Eventually, Mike ended up in North Dakota and took up a farming job to save enough money for his next big step. He explains: “I really did whatever it took and knew it would eventually pay off.”
Mike left for New York that same year. With only $1,500 in his pocket and virtually no connections, he set out to turn things around for himself and launch a steady career. He quickly got hooked on the real estate market—a dynamic, competitive sector that pushed Mike to think on his feet and actualize his entrepreneurial potential. The intricate path led him to Miami, where Mike decided to settle and establish a foothold as a real estate agent.
“In Miami, I worked for a realtor for a while. And I just knew I could bring this service to a new level. So, I got a grip, gathered all my mental resources, and obtained a real estate license in just two weeks. I don’t think I’d ever worked so hard on anything before.”
Once again, Mike’s effort yielded massive results. He dove deep into the specifics of the Miami real estate market, developed his financial mindset, and did his research on various investment strategies. Mike’s first independent business venture was a vacation rental property management company that proved to be a valuable experience for his future initiatives.
“My biggest problem at the time was that I had no proper understanding of how to attract clients. It prompted me to go on and learn everything there was to discover about digital marketing, traffic generation, and advertising. I also started a small retail business on Amazon to test my strategies out and see what works best.”
With all of his “trial-and-error” experiences with starting, optimizing, and running businesses, there was no better time to meet his business partner—Jurgis Plikaitis.
“When Jurgis and I met, he’d already had his own business. However, it was not smooth sailing for either of us. We tried to help each other as much as we could. We spent tons of time analyzing our strengths and weaknesses, anlayzing our business tactics, and thinking of possible alternatives in our entrepreneurial growth.”
That’s how “Arteza” was born. As Mike recalls, he and Jurgis looked at a variety of different niches to target those that hadn’t seen any dynamic growth and innovation in the past years. Arts and crafts was precisely this kind of niche. Mike and Jurgis weren’t intimidated by their lack of background in the arts and crafts industry. Their impressive history in business, and an up-and-running growth strategy, and Arteza’s fast growth attracted the attention of Volition Capital in 2019 and Arteza raised $24 million in Series A funding which helped Arteza champion its arts and crafts brand in the US.
After a fantastic success and exit from Arteza, Mike and Jurgis decided to move on to their next business adventure in 2020. With solid capital and assets at hand, Mike wanted to get back into the real estate industry. This paved the way for his second successful business endeavor—Ofirio.
“When Jurgis and I were looking into real estate properties to invest in, we went through all the hardships of real estate valuation and good deal hunting. It was an incredibly time-consuming process. Just imagine—A single person can only analyze 5 to 7 properties a day while hundreds of new ones are entering the market daily in any one given state. We wanted to address this pain point and began to develop a tech solution.“
What started as a tool for personal use eventually grew into a sophisticated aggregator platform that now helps people invest smarter, save time, and find excellent real estate deals in seconds. The website offers in-depth property analytics across all key metrics and finds the right options for users no matter their needs or budgets. The software developed by Mike’s team turns months of manual real estate research into a process that only takes a couple of clicks. Users can evaluate properties, calculate rent estimates, analyze investment performance, and get proper assistance in closing the chosen deals. While the Orifio website only went public five months ago, it has already demonstrated 10-fold growth in visitor numbers.
“We are very proud of our product and we’re not planning to stop at what we’ve achieved. Our next milestone is to enter the list of the top-5 real estate aggregator websites in the US within the next 5 years. And, naturally, we want to continue to deliver excellent value to our users.”
When asked about the recipe to his personal success, Mike concisely says:
“Don’t settle for less. Keep aquiring knowledge and gathering recourses, push yourself, and simply keep going. If things don’t work out in one initiative, look for other ways, consider new solutions or niches. It’s all about continuous learning and persevering no matter what.”
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