Interesting article regarding Keller Williams attempt to stay on top in the world of real estate tech. What do you think the results will be?
Keller Williams is building a new consumer-facing app to challenge Zillow and Redfin
REPOSTED DIRECTLY FROM INMAN NEWS. THIS CONTENT HAS NOT BEEN MODERATED BY Glen Mitchell Group .
Keller Williams has acquired SmarterAgent, a mobile-first platform that connects more than 650 multiple listing services and allows brokers and agents to create branded real estate search apps, Inman has learned.
The move to acquire the technology platform, which currently serves more than 300 brokerages, will allow the real estate franchisor to compete directly with search giants like Zillow and Redfin, Keller Williams Chief Innovation Officer Josh Team told Inman.
Keller William’s decision to acquire SmarterAgent was a defensive move against tech distributors in the industry, Team said. Founded a decade ago by brothers Brad and Eric Blumberg in Philadelphia, SmarterAgent hands Keller Williams a team of 31 mobile developers and MLS knowledge as it pushes to develop a state-of-the-art consumer-facing app. There are no plans for layoffs and Keller Williams will retain the company’s senior management team.
“You’ve heard Gary [Keller] talk about the agent-enable tech versus the tech-enabled agent, and so the idea of a Zillow or Redfin coming in and buying SmarterAgent then having access to all 400,000 agents’ mobile apps out there being used by millions of people was something that was concerning to us,” Team said.
Team said the acquisition is a signal to Keller Williams agents that the company is serious about its investment in technology and revealed that the company has quietly acquired a number of other tech platforms in the past four months.
Team declined to provide the names of the companies acquired by Keller Williams but said that among them is one of the largest property management software platforms, a home inspection product and a company focused on real estate data, AI, predictive intelligence and contract parsing. The acquisitions come as Keller Williams seeks to launch virtual brokerages for its expansion franchises.
“Now is the time that the brokerage community joins as brother in arms,” Team said. “The more that we can help every agent’s mobile application get better, the more that we can help every brand defend their share of market right now – as we move into a slower market and some of these companies are operating on razor thin margins and not making profit at all – they’re going to be challenged.”
“The foundation is a connected real estate platform and on top of that you have three core focuses: your brokerage operating platform, agent-operating platform and consumer operating platform,” said Team. “The SmarterAgent acquisition allows us to speed up the deployment of the consumer arm of that. They already have the foundation, we just have to enhance it, improve it, and build a better consumer experience.
Keller Williams declined to provide terms of the acquisition, but Team said the funding of the SmarterAgent acquisition and other recent acquisitions stem from the company’s $1 billion tech fund, which was announced at Inman Connect San Francisco in 2017.
author Patrick Kearns
The views and opinions of authors expressed in this publication do not necessarily state or reflect those of Glen Mitchell Group, its affiliated companies, or their respective management or personnel.