AI real estate co Localize.city raises $8m

Asaf Rubin Phot: Yogev Amrani

The Israeli company's website allows anyone to search any address in New York City, receive a view of what it's like to live there and learn about future changes.

Israel artificial intelligence (AI) real estate tech startup Localize.city has closed a $8 million financing round to develop and market its AI-powered website led by angel investors Avigdor Willenz and Zvi Limon. Willenz and Limon also led the company’s seed round in 2016 with an investment of $3 million. Other notable investors include Noam Gottesman and Lip-bu Tan.

Localize.city recently launched its novel AI-powered website in New York City. The website's Insight Engine is the only one of its kind analyzing thousands of datasets in real time to assist customers in making the best decision for buying or renting a home.

New York City and Tel Aviv based Localize.city specializes in supporting homebuyers and renters through the use of AI. The website allows anyone to search any address in New York City, receive a view of what it's like to live there today and learn about future changes.

Localize.city was founded in 2016 by key members of the teams which founded Taboola and Trusteer (which was sold to IBM for $700 million). Localize founder and CEO is Asaf Rubin, who previously headed algorithm development at Taboola. Localize president and director of US operations Steve Kalifowitz, who previously headed strategic operations in the Asia-Pacific and Middle East for Twitter. Mushon Zer-Aviv, who designed the map experience for Waze, heads the design.

Localize.city currently has 110 employees, 90 at its R&D center in Tel Aviv and 20 at its New York City offices. The company's founding team served as algorithm researchers at IDF’s elite technological unit and graduated from the Rothschild Scholars Technion Program for Excellence. They met during their studies and military service. The company plans to increase the staff by 20% between Tel Aviv and New York, adding designers, data scientists, software developers and product managers.

Localize.city gathers and analyzes data available in public and commercial databases and on social networks, as well as in databases that the company creates. This is "noisy" and non-standard big data. Localize.city created an “Insight Engine” to analyze this vast amount of data. Using the most advanced AI technology developed in-house, the Insight Engine creates knowledge from crude data. In real-time, machine learning algorithms analyze thousands of models to draw conclusions that enable home-seekers to make informed decisions. The team creating the Insight Engine is comprised of over 60 people, including algorithm developers, data scientists, statisticians, GIS experts, urban planners and appraisers.

Real Estate Tech is one of the fastest growing sectors, with $12.6 billion in Venture Capital raised in 2017 - an increase of around 300% compared to 2016.

Localize.city CEO Asaf Rubin said, "A family that considers buying a specific real estate asset and is interested to know what it would be like to live in that house or apartment, cannot find full and practical answers on the web. That is why people are forced to make the biggest transaction of their lives without really knowing what they are getting into. This is the biggest consumer problem the internet has yet to solve."

He added, "Before founding Localize.city, we interviewed hundreds of frustrated homebuyers who talked about mistakes they made due to lack of information. We analyzed forums and social networks, which were (and continue to be) flooded with a wide range of failures in the home-buying process."

Localize.city is a subsidiary of Madlan - Israel's leading source of real estate information. Madlan, founded in 2012, has more than one million monthly visitors and thousands of paying customers, including government agencies, banks, and real estate developers. Madlan's operations in Israel serve as a global development laboratory and an important source of revenue totaling millions of dollars annually.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on May 9, 2018

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2018

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Asaf Rubin Phot: Yogev Amrani
Asaf Rubin Phot: Yogev Amrani
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