Keller Williams Acquires Startup Smarter Agent In Shot Over The Bow of Zillow, Redfin

(Product image courtesy Smarter Agent)

Keller Williams announced Wednesday that it was acquiring Philadelphia startup Smarter Agent in what company leadership says is part of the company’s $1 billion tech fund.

The company told Inman that its newest purchase is a mobile-first platform that connects to more than 650 multiple listing services (MLS). It also allows brokers and agents to create branded real estate search apps, Inman said.

Keller Williams Chief Innovation Officer Josh Team said the move would allow the company to compete with other real estate search sites like Zillow and Redfin.

“We’re going to be launching our new consumer strategy in the first quarter of next year and mobile will obviously be a big piece of that,” Team told Inman.

Keller Williams is already a Smarter Agent client. In fact, the startup’s website features a case study quote from Keller Williams’ vice president of technology, Cary Sylvester, who praised the branding component of the app.

“The agent branding component of the Smarter Agent app fits perfectly with the KW advertising model/philosophy, which puts the agent brand before the franchise brand,” Sylvester said. “At Keller Williams Realty International, we are experiencing the value of having all of our agents be able to share a personalized app with their clients, and as a result, the KW brand reaps the benefits of this distinction among national franchise brands.”

“According to NAR, the majority of consumers use a mobile device to search for homes,” Smarter Agent says on its website. “Smarter Agent helps real estate companies and agents make this transition to a fast growing mobile world. We make the path to mobile easy. With Smarter Agent, our customers do not have to overhaul their legacy software systems or keep up with fast paced new technologies.”

Team said that the acquisition, along with the company’s AI — Kelle — is part of an overall plan to build an end-to-end platform for real estate.  The company has also acquired a large property management software platform, a home inspection product and a company that is focused on data, AI, predictive intelligence and contract parsing.