One of the better-known upstarts of Charleston's technology industry has announced its first-ever acquisition.
The purchase of Irvine, Calif.-based Real Contact by BoomTown is expected to help the local firm enhance its real estate platform. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Founded in 2006, BoomTown employs about 250 workers at its King Street Extension headquarters and in offices in San Francisco and Atlanta.
Its software is designed to help generate sales leads for real estate agents and brokers. It also provides users with other information about listings and buyer behavior.
A key part of BoomTown's pitch has been to help agents respond to leads as quickly as possible. Its owns data show that just 23 percent of listing inquiries are followed up within an hour.
"We’re diligent in addressing pain points our clients feel, and that was a driving factor in this acquisition," CEO Grier Allen said in a written statement.
Real Contact employs human "concierges" and a text messaging service to reach out to potential buyers within 90 seconds, around-the-clock. They also can provide follow-up services, leave voicemails and set up appointments.
Agents who subscribe to the service can view the conversations and cut in whenever they choose.
BoomTown said that accelerated responses to sales leads can increase conversion rates and turn browsers into buyers.
Real Contact employs 20 workers, all of whom will join the Charleston company.
Though all of the concierges are people, Allen said he sees a possibility of using artificial intelligence "to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the offering" at some point.
"It’s incredibly exciting and definitely a big 'first ever' milestone for our business," Allen said. "We’ve had a huge year with a record-breaking amount of new innovations and I’m excited for the momentum we’ve built. There could certainly be more acquisitions in the future."