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Real estate startup backed by Sam Altman sells technology to Flyhomes to enhance AI home search tool



Flyhomes, a Seattle-based startup founded in 2016, has expanded its real estate search capabilities through the acquisition of technology from ZeroDown, a San Francisco startup. ZeroDown, backed by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, specializes in AI-fueled software for homebuyers. Flyhomes, known for offering upfront funding and a unique Home Before You Sell program, is now focusing on reaching consumers at the beginning of their home search journey.

The integration of ZeroDown’s technology has enabled Flyhomes to provide a more comprehensive and AI-enhanced search experience for users. By accessing ZeroDown’s database and home search technology, Flyhomes now offers property listings in 28 U.S. states and Washington D.C. This move puts Flyhomes in direct competition with other Seattle-based real estate companies such as Zillow Group and Redfin, with a platform heavily geared towards AI-enhanced search.

ZeroDown, originally founded in 2018, transitioned from buying homes on behalf of buyers to developing an advanced home search portal powered by AI. The acquisition by Flyhomes in January 2021 has allowed the company to integrate ZeroDown’s data and technology into its platform. With access to data from various sources, including U.S. Census information and MLS databases, Flyhomes now offers detailed information about homes along with a generative AI-powered question-answer system.

The implementation of AI technology in real estate search tools has also been adopted by competitors like Redfin, which rolled out a similar AI assistant for homebuyer questions. Flyhomes sees an opportunity in the changing landscape of the real estate industry following the National Association of Realtors commission lawsuit settlement, which requires buyers to sign agreements with agents at the beginning of the homebuying process. This shift could drive more traffic to platforms like Flyhomes, as buyers seek information independently.

In response to market changes, Flyhomes plans to partner with external loan officers and real estate agents to expand its reach across the U.S. The company, ranked No. 45 on the GeekWire 200 list of top Pacific Northwest tech startups, has raised $190 million in equity funding to date, with a recent $150 million Series C round in June 2021. Despite experiencing layoffs in recent years due to the real estate slowdown, Flyhomes remains focused on growth and innovation in the industry.

The terms of the acquisition of ZeroDown were not disclosed, but Flyhomes added 16 employees from ZeroDown, including co-founders Laks Srini and Abhijeet Dwivedi, who now hold key positions within the company. Srini is Flyhomes’ CTO, while Dwivedi serves as the chief growth officer. With the integration of ZeroDown’s technology and team members, Flyhomes is poised to offer a more advanced and AI-driven real estate search experience for consumers, positioning itself as a strong contender in the competitive real estate market.

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