Now, designing a guest’s experience and building a start-up are smart twists on Dukic’s formal education.
A 2008 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Dukic is formally trained as a civil engineer. Though he was lucky to land a job in Charlotte during the economic downturn, he wasn’t entirely happy in the role he trained for; four years later, he started looking for a new challenge. He reached out to Charlotte entrepreneur and investor Mac Lackey, who, at the time, was launching KYCK, the U.S. club soccer player and staff registration software. Dukic joined the KYCK team as an intern, working for free before joining the team full-time six months later. When NBC Sports acquired KYCK three years later in 2016, Dukic was working as the VP of Operations.
Dukic transitioned over to NBC Sports as he started to design the concept for Rabbu.
The concept for Rabbu fittingly got started at Dukic’s home – the detached garage, to be exact.
Dukic and his wife had purchased a home in Charlotte’s shabby chic neighborhood, Plaza Midwood, for their family which includes two young sons, who are now ages three and five. The home’s property included a detached garage which the couple decided to refurbish and rent out on Airbnb.
They approached the refurbish job differently though. They decided to design and furnish it in a way that mirrored the spirit of the shabby chic neighborhood, going so far as to ask a Dukic’s father, a craftsman, to handcraft a king-size bed and furniture from pallet wood. Once the space was complete, the Dukics made another good business decision – they allowed guests to bring their pets to stay in the space. And they didn’t charge extra for it. The space did incredibly well with 80% occupancy almost immediately. Dukic sensed they were onto something. They designed for and tested a second-unit – this time in Uptown’s Gateway neighborhood. It generated three times the revenue of a regular, long-term renter.