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New: Gary Keller’s Return and Keller Williams’ Tech-Inspired Future

Posted on Jan 18, 2019


The fields of technology and real estate are moving quickly these days. In early January, Gary Keller returned to Keller Williams as CEO. As the company’s co-founder and chairman, Keller announced that he is eager to step back into this role to lead the real estate industry “into the future.” Keller stated that “2019 marks our complete transformation into a technology company that provides unique agent solutions and consumer experiences, positioning us to lead the industry in the years ahead.”

In 1983, Gary Keller (who was not yet 30!) co-founded the company with Joe Williams. As of 2018, Keller Williams is the biggest real estate franchise in the U.S.

In a live broadcast last week, Keller emphasized the importance of “tech-enabled agents” to enhance customer experiences. Regarding this exciting new period for the company, Keller commented, “We are in the ‘fourth industrial revolution’—an era of the machine-powered ‘know-it-all’ business that’s always on, analyzing, learning, and thinking.”

Here are three major developments for the company as it steps into 2019.

1. SmarterAgent partnership

The startup company SmarterAgent allows real estate agents to create branded search apps across multiple listing services. This mobile app will also eventually connect to Keller Williams’ database and its AI Kelle (see below for more about this).

Acquiring this SmarterAgent allows Keller Williams to compete with other big real estate companies like Zillow and Redfin. So far, so good: according to the Keller Williams blog, when news broke of the acquisition, Zillow’s stock fell by 7 percent.

2. Kelle, the virtual personal assistant

In early 2018, Keller Williams launched Kelle, an app and virtual personal assistant for the company’s associates. Kelle’s capabilities include organizing schedules, pulling neighborhood market reports, managing agent-to-agent referrals and networks, answering questions, and connecting with other KW associates. Kelle received the 2018 Inman Innovator Award for Most Innovative Real Estate Technology.

In some ways, Kelle resembles Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa. Josh Team, Keller Williams’ president and one of the masterminds behind this new technology, explained that “if you sat Siri and Alexa down for the day and trained them on The Millionaire Real Estate Agent, that’s Kelle.”

3. New tech with  KUNGFU.AI

Keller Williams recently partnered with the data science and artificial intelligence company KUNGFU.AI to develop new real estate tech, including a program that reads and generates business insights from PDF-based real estate contracts.

Real estate contracts typically feature both typed and handwritten text, and processing these contracts can take quite a bit of time. New KUNGFU software will allow Keller Williams to significantly speed up this process. We truly live in the future.

Interested in learning more? Whether you are a real estate professional looking to network, or a potential home buyer or seller, Pickett Street is happy to chat with you at info@pickettstreet.com or 425-502-5397.

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