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Chris Heller

OJO Labs, which empowers consumers to make better decisions through its conversational AI (artificial intelligence) platform, “OJO,” has announced that two top industry leaders who have led at the highest levels in real estate, financial services, consumer products and enterprise technology joined their executive team. Real estate industry leader Chris Heller, former CEO of Keller Williams, and most recently CEO of mellohome, joined as OJO’s chief real estate officer. Consumer brand trailblazer Karen Starns, who most recently led brand and customer experience at Amazon for Echo, Alexa, FireTV, Kindle and the portfolio of Amazon smart home devices, joined as OJO’s chief marketing officer.

OJO’s CEO John Berkowitz says, “Karen and Chris are uniquely equipped to bring OJO to consumers in a natural and delightful way while enabling REALTORS®, loan officers and other service professionals to act as superheroes for their customers. Hiring these two leaders is the perfect demonstration that due to the technology and strategy of OJO, there doesn’t have to be a choice between obsessively serving consumers and helping the real estate industry thrive.”

OJO, the face and personality of the company’s AI technology products, is fast growing across the U.S., quickly gaining trust and admiration from consumers navigating their home journey. The addition of Heller and Starns to its C-suite is a strong indication of the organization’s ambition to reinvent the home-buying and -selling experience for everyone and help accelerate the company’s mission to transform an industry.

Karen Starns

While serving as Keller Williams’ CEO, Heller helped increase profits within two years by almost 100 percent and built the strategy to completely retool the company’s approach to technology. Heller took notice of OJO back in 2016 when he first met the company’s CEO, Berkowitz, and co-founder, David Rubin.

“What really makes OJO stand out are its leadership, team and capability to execute on its vision. OJO was the first company to come into the real estate industry and drive the innovation of an AI assistant for the benefit of consumers and agents alike. Since meeting the OJO team several years ago, I have seen them combine vision, operational excellence, creativity and extremely talented leadership to bring an important and valuable product to market,” Heller says. “The foundation is assembled for us to continue building one of the more significant companies in the real estate industry.”

As OJO Labs adds tens of thousands of new users, the conversational AI assistant helps inform, guide and equip customers with information to facilitate finding a home they’ll love, and making this major life decision with confidence.

Armed with extensive brand and marketing expertise from leadership roles at Amazon and Microsoft, a track record of solving complex marketing problems and deep consumer insight, Starns will develop scaled channels to continue to rapidly grow OJO’s user base while building a brand that consumers trust.

“We have an exciting marketing challenge of educating and introducing consumers to a technology that solves real problems by meeting them where they are and redefining how they search for, buy and sell a home,” says Starns. “What ignited my enthusiasm about OJO was the organization’s empathy for customers and their authentic and differentiated approach to the real estate industry. Boiling it down, I am a brand marketer at heart, and the best and highest-impact roles I’ve held have been centered on building a brand that people love and can’t live without. That’s what we intend to do with OJO.”

With Heller and Starns joining OJO Labs, the quest to build an exceptional consumer product is accelerating.

“The significance of having Chris and Karen on the OJO team is immeasurable,” says Berkowitz. “We are extremely fortunate to have these two brilliant leaders buy into our vision and commit themselves to help us achieve our mission of empowering millions of people to make better decisions through the fusion of machine and human intelligence.”

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