Realtor.com operator Move Inc. has invested in a real estate search startup, Ylopo Inc., that says it’s out to build “the world’s most intuitive search engine” and whose technology is already being incorporated into Move’s lead generation and management product, TigerLead.
Ylopo (pronounced “why-loh-poh”) uses “machine learning” and data mining to understand how and why individuals like the homes they do.
“We use these insights to curate and recommend homes that we believe they will be most attracted to, thus creating a more intuitive user experience and a more interested prospect for real estate professionals,” the company said in its LinkedIn profile.
Ylopo’s technology could soon be showing up throughout Move’s businesses, including realtor.com and in “software as a service” offerings like TigerLead and Top Producer.
Ylopo describes itself as a “high-growth and well-funded” company based in Los Angeles with a research and development team headquartered in Bloemfontein, South Africa. The company launched last year with co-founders Juefeng Ge and Vian Chinner at the helm.
Ge is the former vice president of marketing and strategy for TigerLead Solutions, a real estate lead generation and management company Move acquired in September 2012. Howard Tager, co-founder of TigerLead and current senior vice president at Move, became Ylopo’s third co-founder in March. He brought Ylopo to the attention of TigerLead’s general manager, Michael Kane, who was recently promoted to senior vice president of Move’s software-as-a-service businesses.
“We as a company and me in particular are looking for ways to incorporate the best technology that we can in what we do as a company,” Kane said.
When he heard about Ylopo, he thought, “This is game-changing stuff.”
Move decided to partially fund the venture and is Ylopo’s sole outside investor, according to Tager. Ylopo is otherwise self-funded — Tager said he has proceeds from the sales of two previous companies on hand.
When asked how much Move has invested in Ylopo, Kane said, “We didn’t disclose the terms. We have terms in which Move can invest now and in the future.”
Kane and Tager declined to discuss the specifics of what is in the works at Ylopo.
“Unfortunately, we’re currently ‘hunkered down’ in development mode and as such are not ready to publicly discuss the details of our venture,” Tager said, speaking on Ylopo’s behalf.
But Ylopo is very focused on the consumer search experience in residential real estate and in building the highest-quality leads possible, which means Ylopo “could be very instrumental to TigerLead and Move,” he said.
Indeed, he acknowledged that “Ylopo is already working with TigerLead now to help increase lead volume and create a volume of traffic of high-quality leads. And working with some other projects with Move as a whole.”
TigerLead is using Ylopo’s technology to produce “higher-quality, more efficient leads” through ad technology working in the background of TigerLead’s platform, Tager said. That ad tech incorporates machine learning and big data, an approach Tager called “highly, highly scientific.”
Tager’s LinkedIn profile describes Ylopo as ”a new ‘next generation’ performance marketing & big data technology company” whose ”initial mission is to build the world’s most intuitive real estate search engine and then leverage that core technology in other related vertical markets.”
The company’s name is derived from the last five letters in Monopoly backwards, in reference to what Tager referred to as “the ultimate game of real estate.”
Kane manages Move’s business relationship with Ylopo. But that does not mean that Ylopo’s technology will only be incorporated into TigerLead or Move’s other SaaS products: customer relationship management platform Top Producer, lead management platform FiveStreet, and agent marketing service Market Snapshot.
“We’ll be working with Move as a whole and realtor.com, and not just TigerLead,” Tager said.
“The possibilities for the [Ylopo] technology could extend throughout the Move businesses,” Kane added.