This week news came that Move Inc. (operator of realtor.com and a News Corp. subsidiary) would be ponying up more than $200 million to buy Austin-based lead generation firm Opcity — and that the company would also get a brokerage license.
The Austin American-Statesman reported Wednesday that Opcity, which touts a platform it says turns online inquiries about properties into transactions at rates 3-5 times the industry average, is used by more than 40,000 agents and brokerages, including Keller Williams, ReMax, Century 21 and Berkshire Hathaway.
Inman reported that Move Inc. would acquire a brokerage license along with the transaction (Opcity has one), but a spokesperson said the company didn’t plan on getting into the business of representing home buyers and sellers. I.E: competing with Realtors.
“Move, Inc. is firmly committed to partnering with the real estate industry, and keeping real estate professionals at the center of the transaction. We will never write offers, take listings or buy or sell properties — that is the job of our industry partners,” Move spokesperson Janice McDill told Inman.
The company receives a commission when its algorithm-matched, prescreened homebuyers and sellers close on a deal. Agents pay nothing up front. The company raised $27 million in its first round of venture financing last year, and launched in 2016.
News Corp.’s digital real estate services arm is its fastest-growing segment, the company said.
“Through product innovation and powerful media platforms, News Corp is increasing its presence and capabilities in the burgeoning digital real estate services market,” said Robert Thomson, Chief Executive of News Corp., in a statement. “We are absolutely focused on providing high-quality services to real estate professionals and to consumers seeking to make an investment that is profoundly important to every family.”
“Consumers and agents use realtor.com® for one primary purpose – to buy or sell a home,” said Ryan O’Hara, CEO of Move, Inc. “This acquisition will help us bring buyers, sellers and agents together with as much simplicity, efficiency and choice as possible. The addition of Opcity to our portfolio will align with our strategy to enhance the experience of consumers, while providing our industry partners with more opportunities to connect with clients and grow their businesses.”
“By pairing personalized outreach with cutting-edge technology, Opcity has built a best-in-class platform that delivers close rates three to five times the industry average,” he added. “That’s why Opcity has been so widely embraced by real estate agents and brokers and that is why it’s a perfect fit for what we believe is the best digital real estate platform in America, realtor.com®.”
After the deal closes, current Opcity CEO Ben Rubenstein will remain on board in the same capacity.
“This is a natural fit. Both realtor.com® and Opcity share a common purpose of simplifying a consumer’s home buying journey, while helping real estate professionals connect and close more transactions,” Rubenstein said. “Together, we’ll provide an enhanced consumer experience and more choices for brokers and their agents to grow their business.”
In November, Opcity moved into a new 50,000-square-foot headquarters in Southeast Austin, the Statesman reported, and had 225 employees at the time.