Austin, Texas based real estate technology firm OJO Labs has raised $45 million in Series C funding to accelerate its development and market expansion. The company expects to strengthen its position with significant hiring in its data science, engineering, product and design teams. The round is funded by a syndicate including LiveOak Venture Partners, Realogy Holdings Corporation, Royal Bank of Canada, and Northwestern Mutual Future Ventures.
OJO labs offers a virtual assistant that engages homebuyers and sellers through natural conversations using mobile messaging and web experiences that hope to reimagine the home search and transaction experience. OJO Labs noted the new financing was made possible due to success the company has had with both consumers and partners. Its product has been live in 12 US markets, plus Toronto, Canada, and is now being rolled out nationally, in the US.
“We have utilized a unique combination of AI technology and human operations to solve some very hard technical challenges,” said John Berkowitz, CEO of OJO Labs. “Our early investments and willingness to be first to market with this type of product gave us a significant head start in building our now patented technology. We have been incorporating valuable learnings into our product. Doubling down on our investments now will further accelerate our competitive edge and more importantly will enable us to deliver a truly incredible experience for millions of consumers.”
OJO touts itself as the only AI-based digital assistant that can understand a homebuyer or seller’s needs, preferences, and goals giving it the ability to create a personalized experience during the entire process. Partnering with real estate agents and brokerages, OJO assists home buyers with listing information, home discovery, neighborhood selection, budget or financing guidance, and education surrounding home purchases. When consumers are ready, OJO matches them with real estate agents in their market.
OJO Labs Executive Vice President of Engineering, Qingqing Ouyang, says she is looking to rapidly grow their Data Science, Engineering, Product and Design operations. “We’re hiring exceptional individuals who are energized by collaborating with talented peers, motivated by solving hard technical challenges, and committed to provide the best experience for our customers.” said Ouyang. “This is an exciting time for the OJO team. We are wholeheartedly embracing the challenges of using AI to help our customers to make one of the most important decisions of their lives.”
According to Berkowitz, the firm’s revenue is ramping up quickly. They are quickly expanding teams in each of their three offices – Austin, where OJO Labs is based, Minneapolis-St. Paul, where last fall, OJO Labs joined forces with real estate data services provider, WolfNet, and the Caribbean island ofSt. Lucia, where they operate their AI training and customer service teams. OJO Labs and WolfNet expect to add more than 50 new jobs in the two US markets in the coming months.