Icon Ventures, based in Silicon Valley, led the Series A round with participation from Georgian Partners and LiveOak Venture Partners. As part of the funding deal, Tom Mawhinney, of Icon Ventures will join the Opcity Board.
Opcity plans to use the money to expand nationwide and to hire a lot of workers in Austin for its sales and marketing team as well as engineering team, said Ben Rubenstein, CEO and co-founder of Opcity. The company has 100 employees and plans to triple that by the end of the year, he said.
“We have something really special we’re building here,” Rubenstein said. “And it’s all about hiring the right people- do they have the excitement and energy…. You want to be passionate and feel like there is a purpose for what you are doing.”
Like “Moneyball” for the real estate industry, Opcity created a technology platform to match home buyers and sellers with top real estate agents through brokers with no initial cost. “Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game” is a book by Michael Lewis that details how the Oakland Athletics baseball team used analytics, data and analysis to assemble a winning baseball team. Opcity is bringing that same precision analysis to the real estate industry, Rubenstein said. The company’s technology relies on a proprietary algorithm to mine a database of real estate transactions to create the matches to convert online inquiries into deals. He also refers to it as the eHarmony, an online dating site that uses technology to match dates, of the real estate industry.
It’s relatively easy to get a real estate license so many people have them and they don’t even sell one house in a year, Rubenstein said. Opcity’s platform can mine the data of transactions to find the top performing agents in an area and match them with buyers or sellers, he said.
“Our goal is to help the consumer cut through that riff raff,” he said. “With our business, a lot of it is screening out agents. We have to be very careful to only give leads to agents who can convert them.”
To be on the platform, a real estate agent needs to have completed 10 transactions last year.
Opcity’s platform leads to three to five times increase in the number of real estate deals closing, Rubenstein said. The company does not get paid until a house, condo, building or lot is sold.
“We only get paid when success happens,” Rubenstein said.The company launched its service last year and now has more than 350 brokerages and more than 4,000 agents on its platform in seven states. Its customers include franchised brands such as Better Homes & Gardens, Keller Williams, ReMax, Century 21, Berkshire Hathaway Home services as well as the leading independent brokerage companies.
Before launching Opcity, Rubenstein founded Yodle in 2005 and grew it to a large company with more than 1,500 employees and $200 million in revenue. In 2016, Web.com bought Yodle for $342 million.
“Rubenstein’s track record and Opcity’s ability to scale spurred interest from top-tier investors and allowed them to close the largest Series A in recent Austin history,” according to a news release.
“As Yodle grew, I missed the entrepreneurial life. I missed the days of starting things from scratch, Rubenstein said.
Opcity initially raised $1 million from friends and family last fall. The company also hired Jason Goldberg as its head of engineering, a critical function for its business, Rubenstein said.
“It’s hard for a lot of entrepreneurs to raise money,” Rubenstein said. “We have some serious competitive advantages here. We’ve built a business, we’ve scaled it. This is not an idea we have. This is based on 16 years of data at Homecity.”
Homecity, an Austin-based real estate brokerage company with an office in Dallas, created a technology platform based on data and analytics that has successfully matched buyers and sellers with successful real estate agents.