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Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), a large financial services firm and the largest bank in its home country, is acquiring OJO Canada, the Canadian wing of Texas-based real estate tech firm OJO.
The deal includes all of OJO Canada’s assets and operations and will see 96 U.S.-based staff members, plus a few others in Canada, shift over to work for RBC. The companies did not publicly disclose financial details of the acquisition.
However, OJO also revealed this week a new deal with Vista Credit Partners to raise new debt. The company said that together, the Vista and RBC deals will net OJO $200 million.
The OJO Canada deal further enables the bank’s “commitment to support Canadians at every stage in their home buying journey by offering intuitive, digitally-enabled and insights-driven experiences and resources to help them make one of the most important decisions of their lives,” the companies said in a statement on the RBC acquisition.
John Berkowitz founded Austin-based OJO in 2015 and today serves as the company’s CEO. The firm has developed artificial intelligence-based tools designed to match consumers with homes as well as a referral network for agents.
On OJO’s website, the company describes its mission as helping consumers “on their home journey by enabling them to customize their search, connect them with industry experts, and equip them with financial tools so they feel prepared to buy, sell, or own.”
OJO first partnered with RBCx, a subsidiary of RBC, in 2018, according to the statement this week. The two firms used the partnership to test products in Canada and OJO then officially launched in the country in 2021. At the time of the launch, the partnership gave OJO users access to the bank’s mortgage professionals while providing OJO itself with knowledge and expertise on the Canadian market.
Since launching, OJO Canada “has seen consistent growth and overall performance in the Canadian market, reaching millions of home buyers,” according to the statement.
RBC will remain an investor in OJO even after the OJO Canada deal.
Executives from both RBC and OJO were upbeat about the deal in their statements. Head of RBCx Sid Paquette said, “we’re excited to bring OJO Canada into the broader RBCx portfolio of ventures and look forward to building upon the platform’s unique capabilities.”
Berkowitz described the deal as “a testament to the momentum that OJO and RBC have built as partners over the last four years.”
Karen Starns, CEO of OJO Canada, said consumers need a trusted ally to help them through the homebuying and selling process at a time when the market is “incredibly challenging.”
“We see ourselves as that ally,” she continued, adding that “we’re thrilled to join RBC and accelerate our efforts to help more Canadians realize their home ownership goals.”
Correction: OJO raised debt funding from Vista Credit Partners, which is a division of Vista Equity Partners. This post originally only mentioned Vista Equity Partners.