OJO Labs Raises an Additional $45 Million in Venture Capital

David Rubin and John Berkowtiz, co-founders of OJO Labs

OJO Labs, an artificial intelligence startup, has raised $45 million in additional funding.

The Austin-based company plans to use the funds to accelerate its development and market expansion. It plans to hire more employees in the areas of engineering, data science, product and design.

The Series C funding round is being led by LiveOak Venture Partners, Realogy Holdings Corp., Royal Bank of Canada and Northwestern Mutual Future Ventures.

OJO has created a virtual assist that helps homebuyers and sellers. Its agent uses natural conversations conducted via mobile messages to help a person find a house. OJO’s product is available in 12 markets in the U.S. and Toronto, Canada. OJO is rolling out the product nationwide.

“We have utilized a unique combination of AI technology and human operations to solve some very hard problems,” John Berkowitz, CEO of OJO Labs, said in a news statement. “Our early investments and willingness to be first to market with this type of product gave us a significant head start to build our now patented technology.”

OJO has created a free assistant that lets homebuyers ask all kinds of questions about home features ranging from thins like whether the house has a swimming pool, a view of downtown, a large kitchen, large lot, school district, etc. The OJO assistant then sends the homebuyer texts of potential homes with photos and listings. It learns what the person likes and what the person doesn’t like through the interaction. When the person is ready to buy, it refers them to a human agent to handle the homebuying experience.

To date, OJO Labs has raised $76 million. Last October, the company merged with real estate data giant, WolfNet Technologies, based in St. Paul, Minn. The combined company will have about 290 employees. OJO also has offices in St. Paul, and on the island of St. Lucia in the Caribbean. OJO Labs and WolfNet expect to add more than 50 jobs in the coming months.